Save the Children says a quarter of boys in England (90,000) started reception class struggling to speak a full sentence or follow instructions.

The report, based on a University of Bristol study, says children who start school behind often never catch up.

NDNA's Director of Quality and Workforce Development, Stella Ziolkowski (pictured left), said: “This report further evidences the importance of investment in early years to reduce inequalities once children start school and we welcome its recommendations to invest in early years as a high priority. 

“It's vital the government consultation on future funding for the early years due soon secures fair funding for free childcare to enable employers to reward staff with competitive wages. 

“We are working with the Department for Education on a workforce strategy which will enable prospective entrants to the sector to continue with professional development from entry to graduate level which is key to providing high quality early education.  We have seen a huge reduction in new entrants and the workforce strategy is key to supporting nurseries to recruit and retain quality staff.

“It is vital to attract more men into the female-dominated sector as positive role models for boys and to support them in their learning.”

She added: “Last year, NDNA introduced a new training course and book Brave Boys about how best to instil boys with a love of learning from an early age.

“Boys need different learning opportunities to girls to ensure they fulfil their potential. Without supporting their natural abilities and interests, they could be switched off from learning. Boys learn when they are active and tend to be in constant motion. They have larger muscles and their brain is awake and open to learning when they are physically active. 

“We recommend using outdoor environments as much as possible, with topics that will interest them – for example, sport or superheroes. Give boys clay to make shapes, numbers or letters or encourage them to use their limbs. Some boys respond better to non-fiction books rather than stories, particularly those involving science, animals or sports.”

Read the report here 

Ten Facts About Boys in Early Years

Girls continue to outperform boys at all levels of education. Nurseries are ideally placed to try and help reduce the achievement gap. 

Here are ten facts about boys to get you thinking about the care you currently provide to boys.

1. 59% of boys achieved a good level of development in 2015 ELGs. 74% of girls achieved “good.”
2. An estimated four out of five parents seeking help come forward because of their sons and not their daughters. There is a commonly held view that boys are ‘more difficult’ and harder to discipline. 
3. The right hand side of the brain handles movement, processes imagination, and emotion. It also houses the centres for visual information, spatial relations, patterns and abstract thinking. The right hand side of the brain at birth is more developed and connected than the left and in boys even more so.
4. The left hand side of the brain develops later in all children but even more so in boys and it is important to bear this in mind. The left hand side of the brain handles fine motor movement, control, order, sequence, letters and words. 
5. Toddler boys are less able to multitask than girls, but they can be more focussed.
6. When boys move their brain wakes up and they will react physically to everything around them. 
7. When a boy is physically active his brain is active. When he is inactive then so is the majority of his brain. 
8. Boys have an innate ability to visualise and manipulate objects in space – they demonstrate a greater ability when it comes to games such as catching or kicking balls due to their spatial ability.
9. Boys tend to be motivated and engaged by mechanical tasks.
10. 4 and 5 year old boys have a shorter attention span than girls.

For more information on the help you can give to boys, visit our webpage and find out more about Brave Boys