Children starting school struggling to speak properly

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Children are still arriving at primary school unable to speak properly, with many unable to form a sentence according to teachers.

A new poll of more than 500 teachers across the UK found a number of four and five-year-olds have not learnt the basics of speech at home. It suggests that the language gap could be dragging down school results, with children finding it hard to catch up after they have fallen behind.

The survey by Save the Children found 75 per cent of primary school teachers see children arriving in reception class struggling to speak in full sentences, while 65 per cent said some children started school unable to follow simple instructions.

Gareth Jenkins, Director of UK Poverty at Save the Children said: "This poll shows the shocking impact of so many children arriving at school without basic speech and language skills.

"The government has pledged to drive up school standards but it is time that we recognised that nursery standards are just as important in children’s development.

"Without investment to improve nursery quality we’ll continue to see schools struggling to support the children who arrive at their gates without the basic language and communication skills needed to read, learn and succeed at in the classroom.

"The poorest children fall the furthest behind in communication, with 1 in 3 children on free school meals reaching age 5 without good language skills. Read On. Get On. evidence has shown that improving nursery quality has the biggest impact on helping the poorest catch up," he said.

Respondents also expressed worries that they were having to spend too much time helping those with speech difficulties when they should be teaching the whole class.

Two thirds said that it is harder for teachers to find time to teach other children in the class who don’t struggle with speech and language.

Government figures show that 1 in 4 children starting school in England have failed to develop good early language skills.

The poorest children fall the furthest behind in communication, with 1 in 3 children on free school meals reaching age 5 without good language skills.

The survey comes as a report published earlier this year found that some 122,000 four-year-olds lack the personal, social and emotional development to progress successfully in education.

Every Child Update
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