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Teachers concern with Scots children struggling with speech

Posted in News on Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Teachers concern with Scots children struggling with speech
Primary School teachers in Scotland say they often see children starting school struggling with their speech and language, causing them to fall behind other children.

88% of teachers surveyed say that children who start P1 with delayed speech and language skills, fall behind other children in their learning, with 89% saying that children find it hard to express thoughts or ideas and 88% believing that children struggle to learn how to read.

Over half of Scots teachers state that children are struggling to speak in full sentences as a result of poor language skills and nearly half of teachers say that those children struggling with these issues, find it hard to make friends.
The research, carried out by Com Res, on behalf of Save the Children, quizzed Scots primary school teachers on speech and language issues in children starting school.

Save the Children’s previous research from their ‘Ready to Read’ report highlights that speech and language delay is ‘the single biggest issue’ affecting child development in Scotland. *

The charity’s own research also shows that children living in Scotland’s poorest communities are twice as likely to have language difficulties or delays as those from better off households - and those who struggle in toddlerhood may never catch up.

When teachers were questioned about the effects of poverty on a child’s early speech and language, over 90% agreed that poverty can have a negative impact and an overwhelming 93% of teachers surveyed agreed that more should be invested in early years services.

The charity is calling for an increase in the numbers of qualified teachers and graduates with speech and language expertise working in Scotland’s nurseries, to ensure that children begin school with the skills they need to learn and thrive.

This research exposes how Scotland’s ‘attainment gap’ begins long before children ever set foot in a classroom and the impact that poverty has on a child’s ability to learn.

Other findings include:

•84% of teachers say that children with speech and language delays can struggle to concentrate in the classroom
•Over half (59%) of teachers say that children starting school with speech and language delays are less likely to enjoy school
•Almost half (46%) of teachers say children in their class with speech and language delays struggle to understand simple instructions

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