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A report due to be released this week will say that some children are arriving in primary  school so unprepared that they cannot say their own names or drink from a cup.

The Times education commission report heard evidence from primary and early years professionals that the number of children arriving for school without basic skills has risen in recent years, particularly post pandemic.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/some-primary-school-pupils-unable-to-say-their-names-teachers-report-srk68pkzm?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1655094920

Some of the cases detailed are insane - children who have never walked as far as required at school so require physiotherapy to cope. 50% of some reception (English P1 I think) not being toilet trained.

Ive heard anecdotes of a rising number of P1 Children attending school in nappies as they haven’t been toilet trained. 

Didn’t want to clog up the happy pregnancy and parenting thread with this.

what do P&Bers think is the cause of this phenomenon, if it is that?

Have any P&Bers not bothered to toilet train their kids?

 

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It will call for a kind of “five-a-day” initiative to encourage parents to talk to and play with their children, similar to the healthy eating campaign.

A Joe Wicks campaign to talk to your kids. Modern Life Is Rubbish.

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My step-daughter has some friends who are like this. They had kids in their late teens or early 20s and simply don't know how to raise them at all. I look at my step-daughter's kids (who can speak, are toilet trained and all that) playing with these kids who are basically treated like big babies. The same age but have had no real parenting. The kids are seen as a source of income, and an annoyance, but no more than that.

It is horrible to see. And these parents will sit and complain that social services have been visiting and blame the kids. I heard one actually say that her kid was the cause of these problems because he was "slow". The way these folk talk about their kids is shocking.

I've suggested to my step-daughter that she might need new friends.

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Thought I'd quote the whole article so folk don't have to work around the paywall.

 

Quote

 

Children are arriving at school unable to say their own names or drink from cups, The Times Education Commission’s final report will reveal this week.

It will call for a kind of “five-a-day” initiative to encourage parents to talk to and play with their children, similar to the healthy eating campaign.

The year-long inquiry into the state of education in the UK, which heard evidence from dozens of experts, publishes its final report on Wednesday. It exposes the inequality within schools and calls for a laser-like focus on education, particularly in the early years.

A head teacher from Nottinghamshire said that her school spent little time on literacy or numeracy in reception because it had to focus on basic care. Some four and five-year-old children joined reception class unable to say their own names and having drunk only from baby bottles. One child was brought to school in a shopping trolley.

She told the commission: “We’ve got about 50 per cent of the children in reception and nursery who are not toilet-trained. We have to employ care workers just to change nappies. We’ve got children who are still drinking from bottles with teats when they start school. They are four years old and their language will include the word ‘bot-bot’, because that’s their communication for ‘Can I have a drink please?’

“We’re seeing children coming in still on baby food. We had one child arrive having had 14 teeth removed. I have a parent who brings their child to school in a shopping trolley because it’s the cheapest mode of transport.”

Another head teacher, in Cumbria, said children were starting school still using dummies and some were brought to school in buggies until they were six or seven because they were easier to contain. The school runs parenting classes and adult literacy lessons to address barriers to learning.

Evidence suggests that nearly a third of five-year-olds in England are not reaching a good level of development and deprived pupils are almost five months academically behind richer classmates by the time they start school. This gap widens to 18 months by the age of 16.

The Nottinghamshire head added: “We are parenting in so many different ways. I need to do an assembly on eating with a knife and fork because the children will eat a full Sunday dinner with their hands. We’re not teaching them to write their names, we’re teaching them to scribble.”

The pandemic has made the situation worse in many schools. A YouGov poll of teachers by the early years charity Kindred Squared found that the number of pupils starting in reception who were not ready for school had risen to 46 per cent in 2020 from 35 per cent the previous year.

A teacher from West Yorkshire told the survey: “We always have a significantly high proportion of children who are not school ready, about half. This year it’s probably 80 to 90 per cent.”

Felicity Gillespie, the charity’s director, said the findings were shocking.

She said: “One child I heard about needed intensive physiotherapy because they didn’t have the strength in their legs to walk the amount they needed to at school. Some children spend so much time in front of the TV they’re physically not developing their muscle tone.

Some will blame parents but we all want the best for our children and teachers say what isn’t being made clear enough to parents is what being developmentally ready for school actually means. We need a new national conversation about parenting and the state’s role in our children’s development.”

The commission’s final report says that the government must overcome squeamishness about being seen to interfere in family life and calls for parenting classes, targeted home visits and drop-in centres.

Baroness Casey of Blackstock, an expert in social welfare who has worked for five prime ministers, said that schools could not operate as islands but should act as bridges between communities and families. “Education is one of the ways out of poverty and so is family. Where you have both of those things working well, you see people thrive and where you have one of those things not working effectively, sometimes one can override the other,” she says in the report.

“I’m a great believer in family intervention. Some of this is about resources, but it’s also about determination and joined-up working.”

Dame Sally Coates, director of academies at United Learning, which runs more than 70 schools, and one of the Times commissioners, said: “We have to step off the idea of not talking about what happens in the home. It’s absolutely fundamental and the more we can do to work closely with parents, the more we can educate parents, the more we can get involved from pregnancy, the better.”

 

My wife works as a primary school teacher and she will have lots of similar examples of children starting school lacking some very basic skills.

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16 minutes ago, ICTChris said:

A report due to be released this week will say that some children are arriving in primary  school so unprepared that they cannot say their own names or drink from a cup.

The Times education commission report heard evidence from primary and early years professionals that the number of children arriving for school without basic skills has risen in recent years, particularly post pandemic.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/some-primary-school-pupils-unable-to-say-their-names-teachers-report-srk68pkzm?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1655094920

Some of the cases detailed are insane - children who have never walked as far as required at school so require physiotherapy to cope. 50% of some reception (English P1 I think) not being toilet trained.

Ive heard anecdotes of a rising number of P1 Children attending school in nappies as they haven’t been toilet trained. 

Didn’t want to clog up the happy pregnancy and parenting thread with this.

what do P&Bers think is the cause of this phenomenon, if it is that?

Have any P&Bers not bothered to toilet train their kids?

 

It could be that parents are being 'forced' to start their kids at primary school from a younger age due to the lack of/price of nursery space and childminders.

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3 minutes ago, Dons_1988 said:

As the father of a 1 year old who struggles with her sippy cup I’m not making any comment on this. 

There's a bit of a difference between struggling at 1 and struggling at 5.

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16 minutes ago, Newbornbairn said:

What's "reception"?

First year at Primary school in England. I believe you can actually defer your child a year, but they'll go into Year 1 (Primary 2) anyway if you do that. So it's probably pointless. We looked at it as my daughter will be going to school just after she's turned 4, due to the cut-off date, but decided it's best to send her. I think she will be fine, even if she'll be the youngest in her year. On the bright side, that's a year of nursery fees saved. 

Probably not a surprise that the pandemic has caused a problem as children have not been able to socialise as they would've done normally, which is going to affect their development. Shutting down society was always going to have consequences and I imagine we're going to see a lot of problems over the next few years with higher rates of poorly-developed social skills etc. Not that the advocates of such policies will ever acknowledge the damage they've done. 

Unless there is a medical issue, there is no excuse at all for children turning up at school in nappies. What actually happens in these situations? Is it the school nurse that has to take care of it?

Edited by Michael W
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It depends what exactly is meant by 'toilet trained'. 

I would expect a 4 or 5 year old to be able to go to the toilet themselves and know they need to wipe themselves clean then wash their hands.  I would also expect their abilities at the latter 2 to be less than ideal.

When he's at home my 5 year old is supervised and assisted, if needed.  Better that than experience the crusted mess later on. 🤢

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I don't really know much about the situation in Scotland in terms of what happens in schools, but I know plenty of people who work in education in the midlands and none of this is a surprise to me.

Lack of full-time teachers meaning that at pretty much all ages many schools have a 'get a body in the room' approach to filling teaching roles. Some classes will have a different body in the room several times a week. Teacher morale seems to be shocking, management generally perceived as terrible as so many of them are over-promoted teachers who lack management skills. Above them the opposite problem means people with only management (read cost-cutting) skills who have no understanding of the job or issues faced on the ground.

These problems are not recent. They've been the same things complained about for years and years. Eventually, a system so dysfunctional is going to tip people out into the world who are not prepared to function, plan their lives, organise their finances, raise children. These people are then shite at raising kids and send kids into the education system who are not ready to be there, exacerbating the problem. And this is before we consider the effects of cost of living, benefit cuts etc forcing teachers to deal with kids who may not be eating properly or who are dealing generally with the effects of poverty.

Saving money on an education system is a false economy. But more than money, the education system needs to be completely reviewed in tandem with a review of general social policy in terms of the support available to those who need it to raise a family properly.

We have a political system designed to leave people to their own devices. This is the result.

Edited by VincentGuerin
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19 minutes ago, Jacksgranda said:

There's a bit of a difference between struggling at 1 and struggling at 5.

Agreed but you always have that nervousness that you have no idea what you’re doing. 

When I see stories like this it gives me the irrational fear that it could be us. Not through lack of trying, but just that we are that useless. 

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I got excoriated when our son started nursery at three, as he was still in nappies. Thankfully he was ready to move over to a potty, so it was sorted out within a couple of weeks. I don't know what they'd have done if he'd started primary wearing them, but I think there'd probably have been involvement from social services.

I don't know if this is an unfair criticism or not, but I've seen a fair number of parents treating their kids like shopping, or another item that they have to drag around with them while living their lives. It just makes me sad, as mine was endlessly fascinating to me. Still is, although he doesn't appreciate me constantly nattering to him about what we're doing anymore. I do appear to have trained him that blowing raspberries is hilarious at any age, however.

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4 minutes ago, Dons_1988 said:

Agreed but you always have that nervousness that you have no idea what you’re doing. 

When I see stories like this it gives me the irrational fear that it could be us. Not through lack of trying, but just that we are that useless. 

Please don't worry about this. If you try then your wee one will get it. Seen so many people get angst ridden about the development of their child. It usually stems from comparing them with others of the same age/stage. They should all get there with some basic attention.

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8 minutes ago, VincentGuerin said:

I don't really know much about the situation in Scotland in terms of what happens in schools, but I know plenty of people who work in education in the midlands and none of this is a surprise to me.

Lack of full-time teachers meaning that at pretty much all ages many schools have a 'get a body in the room' approach to filling teaching roles. Some classes will have a different body in the room several times a week. Teacher morale seems to be shocking, management generally perceived as terrible as son many of them are over-promoted teachers who lack management skills. Above them the opposite problem means people with only management (read cost-cutting) skills who have no understanding of the job or issues faced on the ground.

These problems are not recent. They've been the same things complained about for years and years. Eventually, a system so dysfunctional is going to tip people out into the world who are not prepared to function, plan their lives, organise their finances, raise children. These people are then shite at raising kids and send kids into the education system who are not ready to be there, exacerbating the problem. And this is before we consider the effects of cost of living, benefit cuts etc forcing teachers to deal with kids who may not be eating properly or dealing who are generally with the effects of poverty.

Saving money on an education system is a false economy. But more than money, the education system needs to be completely reviewed in tandem with a review of general social policy in terms of the support available to those who need it to raise a family properly.

We have a political system designed to leave people to their own devices. This is the result.

As a teacher I feel I can comment on this but with the caveat that I have always taught in private education so it's a different ball game.

However, teaching is a vocation and the intrinsic desire to develop children in to well rounded young people should be a prerequisite. The problem is that many teachers have taken a step into teaching as they studied a degree that was in a completely different sector then either couldn't get a job in that field or just fancied teaching. Take the above poster's point about the education system producing adults who are not completely educated at the other side but this thread is more about parenting.

This leads to the "the teachers will sort you out" attitude which some parents adopt. How many times do we see a family in a restaurant with Mum & Dad glued to theri phone or even a parent pushing a buggy with one hand and scrolling FB with the other. When our daughter was wee, she never stopped talking and that was because we never stopped talking to her. It was almost like a running commentary of what we were doing. Children are curious by nature and need to be guided. If there are people out there (and seems like there are) who view their kids as an inconvenience then it's an extremely sad state of affairs.

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47 minutes ago, johnnydun said:

It could be that parents are being 'forced' to start their kids at primary school from a younger age due to the lack of/price of nursery space and childminders.

I think there are specified dates based on DoB when kids can join P1 - which is helpful because if not the "its someone elses problem" type of parents would be palming their 2 year olds off to school.

FWIW, when my son joined primary 1 he was one of the youngest in his year and it made no real difference to his development.

Parents sending their kids to school for P1/Reception unable to walk or know their name (foreign language difficulties aside) should have the children removed, frankly.

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