Significant improvements but four-in-10 children ‘not ready for school’ at the age of five

The Telegraph is reporting claims from a minister that too many children are starting school unable to write simple sentences, count to 20 and even use the toilet because of poor standards of early education…

Sam Gyimah, the Childcare Minister, said “more must be done” to ensure five-year-olds are fully prepared for the demands of compulsory schooling.

The comments were made as figures showed four-in-10 infants were not properly developed at the end of the reception year this summer – just before entering the first full year of primary education.

Statistics showed significant improvements over the last 12 months, with 60 per cent of children meeting the expected standards compared with 52 per cent in 2013.

Mr Gyimah said “some progress” was being made but insisted the rate of improvement was too slow.

A major gender gap is emerging by the age of five, figures showed, with just 52 per cent of boys deemed to be prepared for school compared with 69 per cent of girls.

According to the Department for Education:

• Only 59 per cent of boys reached the appropriate level in literacy, meaning they can “write simple sentences” and read aloud accurately. This compared with 74 per cent of girls;

• Some 68 per cent of boys had met the expected standard in maths, giving them the ability to count from one to 20, add and subtract two single-digit numbers and solve problems involving halving and sharing. Among girls, 77 per cent had reached the level;

• Boys were twice as likely to be fall below physical development targets intended to measure their ability to hold a pencil, dress independently and use the toilet. Some 20 per cent of boys were not properly developed compared with just nine per cent of girls.

In a further development, the figures showed a continuing gulf between rich and poor areas, with only 53 per cent of children in deprived communities considered to be reaching the standards in all areas compared with 65 per cent of their peers.

The data relates to performance in the Early Years Foundation Stage – a pre-school “curriculum” that all nurseries and childminders are supposed to follow…

More (including reaction from Neil Leitch) at: Four-in-10 children ‘not ready for school’ at the age of five

 

Were Sam Gyimah’s comments reasonable in view of the significant improvements that have been made, or is he right to insist that progress needs to be quicker? Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. lizewil

    SchoolsImprove Discoverytrust is there not a need to alter the curriculum to meet needs of the 4 in 10
    ? ChrisChivers2

  2. Discoverytrust

    lizewil SchoolsImprove ChrisChivers2 I agree think its a three way partnership with parents pre school and schools.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Short of wrestling infants from their parents’ arms & forcing them into education from age 0, what does the govt suggest?

  4. Janet2

    There was a time when children weren’t expected to write simple sentences or count to 20 before they entered reception class at age 5.  Yes, children should be toilet trained (that’s parental responsibility) but expecting children to have started formal education before 5 (which isn’t compulsory – yet) is encroaching on their childhood.  Is there any surprise that 40% of boys aren’t considered ‘ready’?  Boys are exuberant, they want to play – they’re less compliant and willing to please than girls.

    Leave the kids alone.

  5. GromKath

    getcarter66 SchoolsImprove Very welcome. Schools AND colleges concentrate too much on targets, not enough on people they teach, imo.

  6. KrystaParsons

    SchoolsImprove using the ridiculous GLD as a measure of ‘readiness for school’ is just plain wrong. More crap data gobbledegook!

  7. trudifitzhenry

    SchoolsImprove please will somebody explain early childhood development, boys’ development and appropriate expectations to politicians

  8. mjlongstaffe

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Maybe giving v young ch time & space to learn & develop, have a proper play based curriculum & learn that way-

  9. mjlongstaffe

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove oh wait…. That would never do, we have to concentrate on the “can’t do” ” hasn’t reached the expected level”

  10. saddleworthcake

    SchoolsImprove Once again the bar is set with unrealistic expectations, and then questions asked. Cart before horse.

  11. StephenG41HR

    MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove Looking at the cohorts in Schools I work with, I suspect figure is much higher in some areas.

  12. purpleheron1

    SchoolsImprove Why does it matter if they can read/write by 5? In some other countries u don’t even start school till you’re 6+!

  13. JeniHooper

    DavidWray who sets these targets? This is a genuine question. Nothing in developmental psychology to suggest this is realistic #literacy

  14. BehaviourA

    Almost half of children ‘not ready for school’ makes no sense. Seems that schools not offering what children need at that age. Need a major change of approach/ attitude not just banging on with a deficit model labeling 40% of children failures at the very beginning of their formal education. Crazy.

  15. DavidWray

    IanEyres SchoolsImprove In utero testing is the logical next step. We can’t have these kids being born unable to write sentences!

  16. monty back

    the big issue here is their definition of school ready. Teaching to this agenda is prossibly putting every child off learning and independence for life.

  17. sarahw12

    JeniHooper DavidWray 40% of children not meeting a “target” suggests it is too high & based on a faulty understanding of averages.

  18. JeniHooper

    sarahw12 DavidWray definitely bad science and poor grasp of statistics. Fantasy target like Lake Wobegone where everyone is above average

  19. andylutwyche

    mjlongstaffe SchoolsImprove Ideally you’re right, trouble is some will learn more than others and this govt wants everyone to be the same

  20. looloobyloo

    SchoolsImprove will someone please inject some common sense into these people. Look at the continent where some don’t start till 7! Not 4

  21. artmadnana

    SchoolsImprove Er…probably because they’re only 5! Why do we assume all 5 year olds should be ready for school?

  22. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove “Write simple sentences”? There’s nothing simple about that when you’re 4. 4yr olds struggle to manipulate a pencil…1/2

  23. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove “Write simple sentences”? There’s nothing simple about that when you’re 4. 4yr olds struggle to manipulate a pencil…1/2

  24. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove Speaking, listening & fun shld be priority. Pushing writing before kids ready just ensures it feels like v hard work. 2/2

  25. artmadnana

    Kathfanderson SchoolsImprove 4/5 yr olds should not be using a pencil or writing sentences. Stop political meddling in child development.

  26. artmadnana

    Kathfanderson SchoolsImprove 4/5 yr olds should not be using a pencil or writing sentences. Stop political meddling in child development.

  27. BridgetBurke2

    artmadnana SchoolsImprove always the assumption that children failing to hit expected markers, school ready, 2b+ 4b+ criminal really!

  28. BridgetBurke2

    artmadnana SchoolsImprove always the assumption that children failing to hit expected markers, school ready, 2b+ 4b+ criminal really!

  29. TheRealPigeon

    Kathfanderson SchoolsImprove LuxePain I could read and write before I even went to school. And compose my own stories on a typewriter.

  30. TheRealPigeon

    Kathfanderson SchoolsImprove LuxePain I could read and write before I even went to school. And compose my own stories on a typewriter.

  31. LCLeddy

    artmadnana SchoolsImprove what about those born in August? Starting school 11 months younger than some of their peers,

  32. LCLeddy

    artmadnana SchoolsImprove what about those born in August? Starting school 11 months younger than some of their peers,

  33. trehan_rachna

    Kathfanderson SchoolsImprove #torture 4 a 3/4 yr old but still they r victimized just 4 LEARNING forcibly,starting off struggle so young

  34. trehan_rachna

    Kathfanderson SchoolsImprove #moreover as teachers we pass on this pressure just to show off r expertise among fellow teachers!!!!

  35. KellyAbel_HR

    SchoolsImprove writing is a complex process; enforcing standards that 4 yr olds write sentences before starting school is a backward step!

  36. nickswarb

    SchoolsImprove zudensachen In 1927 Early Years educators complain that our entry into formal schooling is too young. earlyed_uk

  37. Kathfanderson

    trehan_rachna I’ve worked in several schools that resist this, build confidence & curiosity instead; damn the inspectors. SchoolsImprove

  38. Kathfanderson

    trehan_rachna I’ve worked in several schools that resist this, build confidence & curiosity instead; damn the inspectors. SchoolsImprove

  39. artmadnana

    BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove with govt downgrading ITT fewer teachers will understand early years child dev’t. Too much school led train’g

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