Head-teachers have warned that children are starting at school ill-prepared for the experience ahead.
A survey by the National Association of Head-Teachers and Family and Childcare Trust found that four fifths of respondents said that they believed that there is an issue with the school readiness of some pupils starting school.
The survey revealed that 86 per cent believed the issue of school readiness has become worse over the past five years and only 11 per cent said that they did not feel this was an issue.
A failure to be ‘school ready’ could include:
- Communication problems
- Difficulties with language
- Not able to use the toilet independently
- Difficulties with movement or co-ordination
- Personal, social and emotion skills
- No basic understanding of numbers or sounds.
Of those that said they believed there was an issue with school readiness, 67 per cent said there was a failure to identify and support additional needs early enough and 66 per cent said that parents had less available resources or that there were pressures on family life.
A number of respondents also highlighted through additional comment boxes their concerns over support for parents and pressures of family life. Reductions in local authority funding, reductions in Children’s Centre services and extra pressures on school budgets could be associated with the perception that there is less support for parents than before.
NAHT and the Family and Childcare Trust are calling on the government to prioritise funding to support families in the early years to help set children up to learn at school and beyond. This includes additional funding for education, including early education, before children start school and renewed investment in critical services for families.
The survey was carried out with 700 head-teachers and practitioners.