Three quarters of people in the West Midlands (75%) believe that children should be read to start school at the age of five, according to a poll from Action for Children. A survey of 4,000 adults across the UK, including 350 in the West Midlands, found that most people agree with evidence that suggests a good level of emotional, behavioural and physical development by age five is associated with success in education and better employment prospects.

The research marks the launch of ‘Fair by Five’, a campaign calling on the Government to make child development a national priority and help families overcome the barriers that keep children back. A good level of development in areas that enable children to cope emotionally, communicate with teachers and be confident interacting with other children would allow them to have a better start in life.

Brigitte Gater, director of children’s services for Action for Children, said:

“What happens in the earliest years affects our later lives. If a child starts school behind their peers, without having reached a good level of development, they are likely to stay behind – which can seriously impact their ability to do well in education and employment throughout life. We know that two in five children who live in the most deprived communities, arrive at school not ready to learn. 

“There has never been a more important time to focus on tomorrow’s adults. We can’t afford to let down thousands of children who could and should be getting a better start in life. We need the Government, and all political parties, to commit to doing more for this group. It’s time to close the gap in child development.”