Children starting school with poor speech
New research from Save the Children found nearly eight in ten (79%) Reception teachers in Wales stating that they often see children who join their school struggling to speak in full sentences. Further, 89% said that a consequence for children who start in reception class with delayed speech and language skills is falling behind other children in their learning.
Early language skills are the fundamental building blocks for a child’s development, confidence, and ability to learn. They also have a significant impact on their social skills, relationships, and behaviour.
When teachers were questioned about the effects of poverty on a child’s early speech and language, 79% agreed that poverty can have a negative impact and 97% agreed that more should be invested in early years services to improve the speech and language skills of children arriving at primary school.
A spokesperson for Save the Children said: “In Wales, much work has been done to address the persistent attainment gap between children living in poverty and their better off peers. However, this survey is a snapshot of the issues that take hold in children’s earliest years, before they even reach the school gates.
“Poverty is damaging too many children’s learning before they have even set foot in a classroom. If we’re serious about closing the attainment gap, and giving every child a fair start, we must take increased action in children’s earliest years. The Welsh Government, through its 10-year plan for the early years, childcare and play workforce plan (PDF file size 5mb), has an important opportunity to improve the quality of care we offer Wales’ youngest children.”
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