Children starting school ‘cannot communicate in full sentences’
More than a quarter of children starting primary school are unable to communicate in full sentences as concerns grow about the amount of time they are spending in front of screens, the education secretary will say in his first major speech on social mobility.
Damian Hinds is expected to say on Tuesday that he wants to harness technology so parents can do more to help their children’s early language development.
The education secretary promised to halve within a decade the number of children lacking the required level of early speaking or reading skills. His department’s figures show that 28% of four- and five-year-olds do not meet communication and literacy levels expected by the end of the reception year.
“It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not able to read simple words,” Hinds will say. “This matters, because when you’re behind from the start you rarely catch up. Your peers don’t wait, the gap just widens. This has a huge impact on social mobility.”
Children with a poor vocabulary aged five are more than twice as likely to be unemployed at age 34 as children with good vocabulary, research shows.