The extent to which children start school ready and able to learn can have a long-term impact on their likelihood of success in education and employment. It is well known that children from the poorest backgrounds are already falling behind their more affluent peers at the start of school. But little is known about the school readiness of children from low to middle income families. This report was commissioned by the Resolution Foundation to focus on the outcomes children in households with below-median incomes, but those not in the poorest 10% or in receipt of major means-tested benefits.
Analysis of a cohort of children born in 2000 finds that, at the start of school, children from low to middle income families are five months behind children from higher income families in terms of vocabulary skills – an important measure of cognitive development – and have more behaviour problems.