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New report claims reception pupils are the ‘least school-ready’ for generations

A report from charity Nesta suggests that children starting reception will require additional support to make up for early years education lost as a result of the pandemic.

Children starting reception this term are expected to face the most challenging school start for generations, as new analysis from Nesta reveals that the average pupil in England missed more than a quarter of their early years education due to the pandemic.

In 2019, the average four-year old spent 25 hours a week at nursery - around three full days - in the year before they started school. The new analysis estimates that children starting reception this month will have only spent an average of 18 hours a week at nursery - just over two full days.

Louise Bazalgette, who leads projects aimed at improving school readiness for disadvantaged children said “With new reception classes starting this week, children are likely to need additional support to help them adjust to the school environment and catch up on some of the development they will have missed out on due to nursery closures”

“Early years education is an incredibly important part of a child’s life, shaping educational and employment outcomes for decades to come. Nurseries and other forms of early years education including childminders provide much more than childcare, they offer essential opportunities for children to learn, play and socialise to develop skills that help them to get on in school. The Department for Education has provided catch up funding, but with only £80 per pupil it will be challenging to support the wide range of needs pupils may have in areas ranging from their social and emotional and physical development, to more academic areas like literacy and maths.”