Due to the increased usage of smartphones among parents, many children are starting school unable to hold a conversation, new research has shown.
The survey of senior primary school staff, conducted by The Key, an information and advice service for head teachers, showed that almost a third of children starting school aren't ready.
Teachers have reported that they're seeing more and more students starting school with the ability to use a smartphone, but lacking social skills, having speech problems or not being toilet-trained.
One primary school leader stated: "We are having more and more children entering our early-years stage with delayed speech and a lack of school readiness."
The research attributed this to the increased use of smartphones by parents, meaning that young children are having much less interaction than necessary.
Gareth Jenkins, director of poverty policy at Save The Children, said the report "provides yet further evidence that too many children are not getting the support they need to thrive in their early years".
Among others, the setbacks reported included low levels of of reading, writing and numeracy skills, delayed speech and a general lack of school readiness. It warned that early years development is crucial to a child's ongoing education.