The report, based on a University of Bristol study, states that boys are more likely than girls to have fallen behind by the time they start school and that they often never catch up.
It compared boys’ and girls’ scores in the early language and communication goals of the EYFS– an assessment sat by all pupils in England at the end of Reception.
Save the Children reports that a quarter of boys in England (90,000) started Reception class unable to speak full sentences and follow simple instructions. Director, Gareth Jenkins added, “In England, too many children, especially boys, are slipping under the radar without the support they need to reach their potential.”
In the last year, 25% of boys were unable to listen to basic instructions and answers questions such as “how” and “why,” compared to 14% of girls.
Whilst for those with access to free school meals, the difference was most obvious, with 38% of boys not meeting the standards compared to 23% of girls.
The report states that it’s not clear whether the results of biological differences or social progress, but does highlight that girls outperform boys at every level of education.
The report concludes: “We cannot wait for disadvantaged children and boys to get to school before they receive the support they need.
“By this time many will have already fallen behind, with negative consequences for their childhoods, school attainment and life chances.
“We must invest in the best early years provision, led by early years teachers and supported by skilled staff at all levels, particularly in the most deprived areas.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Education responded saying “”the number of qualified staff is rising with more trained graduates in the workforce and a record number of providers rated Good or Outstanding.
“This investment is paying off, latest figures show more than 80% of children are reaching the expected communication and language skills by age five, but we will continue working with the sector until every child gets the high-quality education they deserve.”