‘Lazy and busy’ parents mean children start school unprepared says Welsh head teacher
“Lazy and busy” parents can mean that children start school unprepared, lacking basic skills such as toilet training, according to a headteacher of a rural Welsh school quizzed as part of a YouGov survey.
A report by YouGov, ‘School readiness: qualitative and quantitative research with teaching professionals’, found that half of all children starting school across the UK are “not ready” to do so.
One of the case studies carried out as part of a survey were two rural Welsh primary schools that had a single headteacher.
The headteacher said that he believed that it was parents responsibility to ensure their child is school ready but that more and more now expected the school to do basics such as toilet training.
He expected the children to be able to interact with their peers, take turns, stay awake, sit and listen to stories and have some grasp of colours, basic Welsh words, counting and grouping objects, he said.
“Parents can be lazy and busy. It is a shame as children may miss out,” they said.
“It is rare they now read to them every night. There was a lack of engagement for home learning from some parents.”
He added: “They have had less of a routine this year [due to Covid] – they are not as familiar with the school routine.
“They haven’t developed the skills to focus. They don’t have as much speech, they have more attachment issues, they cry a lot….”
Working in partnership with early years organisation Kindred2, YouGov surveyed almost 1,000 school teachers and conducted one-to-one interviews about their experiences in 2021.
Some teachers told researchers that “the majority” of their pupils were now developmentally far behind expectations for their age group. Examples included children not being toilet trained, struggling to socialise and express themselves and being unable to understand basic instructions.
88% of teachers and teaching assistants said that they were having to spend additional time with those not reaching their developmental milestones, leaving them less time for the rest of the children in their class.
A teacher in Wales questioned as part of the research said: “Children are not coming to school ready and therefore more needs to be put in place to support parents to get their children school ready.
“Schools also need extra support with the children as resources are so stretched that they are struggling to meet all the needs of the children.”
Another teacher from Wales, asked about the pressure of having to give children extra support, said: “It takes time away from other children.
“Not just within the class time but outside of this time too, preparing extra resources and seeking further support from other professionals and reading ideas and strategies that have worked for others.”
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