Children are starting nursery school unable to speak and listen properly because of chaotic and noisy home lives, according to an Ofsted report released today.
The education watchdog, which looked at how the best schools teach children to read, found televisions in constant use, noisy siblings and raised voices at home were impeding children’s language skills. The majority of schools with nursery classes visited by Ofsted reported that children are, increasingly, unprepared for learning, having poor listening and speaking skills. Some arrive without toilet training and using dummies.
The report states: "The schools attributed weak listening skills not only to poor conversation in the home but, very often, also to continuous background noise, such as constant television, the noise of siblings and raised voices, which are bound to dull sensitivity to the nuances of sounds."
The study reveals, in some cases, children’s speech is limited to basic statements such as, “Me want?”. Many youngsters have also “been no further from home than the nearest shopping centre”.
As a result, nursery classes focus on speaking, listening, increasing vocabulary and using sentences. They introduced structured days “to compensate for the chaotic home lives that too many of the children were experiencing”.