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The Lost Boys: How boys are falling behind in their early years

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Save the Children

Every child deserves the best start in life.

But in England now, many children aren’t getting the support they need to reach their potential.

During their pre-school years children learn so much – discovering through play, and starting to speak and understand others.

These are the skills children need for a happy childhood and to thrive when they get to the classroom. Yet a fifth of all five-year-olds are falling behind, a figure which rises to a quarter of five-year-old boys.

This report examines the scale of this hidden issue, and the consequences of falling behind in language and communication. It quantifies, for the first time, the impact of the gender gap at age five on primary school attainment.

An independent team of experts have concluded that high-quality childcare is the best protection against the risk of falling behind. It’s time for the government to invest in children’s futures by supporting parents and making sure staff have what they need to deliver world-class childcare, especially in the most disadvantaged areas of England.

Data on gender gap and attainment by local area is also available for download.

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