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Responding to a new survey by early years charity Kindred suggesting nearly half of pupils aren't ready when they start school, James Bowen, director of policy for school leaders’ union the NAHT said “Even before the pandemic, there was lack of specialist help for families with issues such as their children’s social development, speech and language.

“Reductions in early support - including valuable universal services like children’s centres - have taken their toll over the last decade as many local authorities faced cuts to their government funding.

“The pandemic and lockdowns have undoubtedly had an impact on the development of some children and led to additional demand being placed on already overstretched services.

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