School Readiness Survey

For the past four years, Kindred² has surveyed thousands of teachers and parents to source robust evidence of the proportion of children that are considered ‘school ready’, comparing this to perceptions of parents. 

We use this evidence to highlight the impact on children and schools when pupils arrive in Reception having not met their developmental milestones and the difficulties that children, families and schools face from this. 

Our fourth annual school readiness survey sets out perceptions of the scale and impact of children missing their early developmental milestones.

The report investigates the subject from both parent and teacher perspectives, illustrating how parental awareness, perceptions and understanding shapes school readiness levels.

To understand what school readiness looks like in the September 2023 Reception cohort, we conducted focus groups and surveyed over 1,000 teachers and 1,000 parents of Reception children.

2023 Highlights


of teachers say more children are arriving in Reception not school ready, compared to 2022


of teachers have at least one child who is not toilet trained


of parents say they've never had a visit from a health visitor

0 hrs

of teacher time per day lost due to school readiness

Over the last 20 years… we've noticed a change in the children - the children at entry points from when they come into reception are not as school ready as they were when I first started.’

- Teacher

You might have absolutely no idea what the expectations are, and there might be something that you aren't doing not because you're not able to, but just because it's slipped your mind - you just had no idea that it was an expectation.

- Parent

I feel like we’re not teaching as much in the first year now as we used to/ it’s more babysitting... teaching them basic skills...It's like being the parent for them. You know, what they should have done at home.

- Teacher

The money just isn't there and they can't afford to recruit more staff. Staff are now taking groups of children out to do catch up and interventions. You’re always chasing your tail.

- Teacher

In 2023, ahead of our full School Readiness survey report, we worked with an independent market research company, Savanta, to survey 100 MPs representative of the House of Commons, asking two key questions asking about school readiness in the UK.

The questions explored which budgets, if any, MPs would cut in order to allocate increased spending on ensuring children start school developmentally ready, as well as if it is the responsibility of parents or schools to ensure young children develop certain skills.

Read the full findings below....

Highlights from the survey


of MPs believe parents are wholly responsible for toilet training their child
Over a


of MPs would reduce Overseas aid to allocate increased spending on school readiness.

Less than half of MPs

(47%) think teaching a child to dress independently is the sole responsibility of parents, with 48% saying that some responsibility lies elsewhere including with schools.

In 2022, we set out the key findings from the third annual Kindred² survey of teachers’ views on the scale and impact of children missing their developmental milestones in the early years of their development.

In addition to the views of over 1,000 teachers, this year we also surveyed over 1,000 parents of Reception children.

2022 Highlights


of parents say their child was school ready


are not school ready, according to teachers


of teachers said that parents need more information on school readiness


the average financial cost to schools for the additional time spent supporting children who are not ‘school ready’

Many parents can’t be expected to get children school ready if they are unsure what this means. If it was clear from day one the milestones children were expected to meet parents may take more responsibility

- Senior teacher, West Midlands

School readiness is a massive priority, more needs to be done to support parents in knowing what this is and how to ensure their child is ready.

- Senior teacher, East Midlands

You are just forever playing catch up, so you are starting behind … we’re in a huge deficit budget and we have got nowhere near enough staff to be able to catch the children up.

- Assistant Headteacher, East Midlands

In 2021, in our second annual survey, we surveyed teachers to understand the expectations and responsibilities of teachers with regards to school readiness.

The survey was completed by 971 primary school teachers in the UK, including 229 Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers.

2021 Highlights


of children who are school ready, according to teachers


of teachers had at least one child in their class who doesn’t have basic language skills


of teachers think parents not reading to children is a key reason for students not being school ready

0 hrs / day

the average estimated number of Teaching Assistant hours lost due to children starting school not ready

Children joining reception this year may have had a quarter of their lives with no contact with other children - this means they have no opportunities to practice age-appropriate skills.

- Deputy Headteacher, East

They assume we will teach them to read, we will teach them to toilet if they aren’t already, we will teach them their numbers, how to eat, their manners.

- Teacher, West Midlands

It takes time away from other children. Not just within the class time but outside of this time too, preparing extra resources and seeking further support from other professionals and reading ideas and strategies that have worked for others.

- Teacher, Wales

In 2020, in our first annual survey, we surveyed 528 early years and primary school teaching professionals to understand the state of school readiness in schools.

This survey also explored the staffing responsibility, economic impact and effect of Covid-19 on children's school readiness.

2020 Highlights


of children are not school ready, according to teachers


of teachers have at least one Reception pupil who doesn’t know how to listen or respond to instruction


of teachers perceive parental screen time to be a key reason for fewer school-ready children

0 hours

the estimated number of teaching hours lost per school year because of teaching children who are not school ready

We need to fund increased staff ratios in early years, particularly to deal with toileting, small group communication/language interventions.

- Teacher, North West

It takes time away from their classmates. The TA / teacher has to spend time managing behaviour, getting children to engage. Less time to challenge other children who can get overlooked.

- Teacher, East of England

Some children who aren't fully toilet trained are having to change their clothes 2 or 3 times a day - that's a lot of time out of class, and other children start to notice as well.

- Teacher, East of England


2024 Survey

Kindred² is working with Savanta to conduct a comprehensive research programme aimed at gaining valuable insights into the school readiness of children as they enter Reception in state-funded mainstream schools.

Our study comprises two groups - primary school teachers and parents of children who will embark on their Reception journey in 2024. To enhance our understanding, we plan to delve deeper into the 'why' of this topic, through qualitative exploration, involving primary school senior leadership, parental insights and MPs. 

Our report is projected to be published in January 2025.

View other projects

Kindred² works collaboratively with partner organisations to improve early education and early child development, developing several projects.