According to Graeme Paton in the The Telegraph, in order to help parents, Britain will be handing out leaflets to remind them to make sure kids get the proper amount of sleep, are well fed, have time set aside for homework, have quality time spent with them and come to school prepared with the proper supplies.
The campaign will be called “Ready to Learn Everyday” and will be led by the National Association of Head Teachers. It will consist of a series of four leaflets, with the first including information about ‘school readiness’.
School heads are finding that kids generally are no longer “school ready”. Particularly, children in their first year are not able to communicate properly in school due to lack of communication at home. NAHT president Bernadette Hunter said this is due to parents’ work demands combined with over-exposure to technology such as the television, video games and the internet.
She says that while many of the ‘unprepared’ pupils are from impoverished backgrounds, that this is also a problem with children who come from middle class families.
“Increasing numbers of children are coming to school not prepared to learn. Lots of head teachers are reporting children staying up too late at night, not getting enough sleep, coming into school tired and unable to concentrate and, in some cases, not having a proper breakfast.”
“We also have a minority of children coming from families that lack the structure to make sure that the children have everything they need to bring to school like their reading books, homework and PE kit.”
Not getting the proper amount of sleep is an especially crucial problem that needs to be addressed since studies have shown that sleep deprivation has impacted academic achievement levels worldwide. Research from Boston College showed the problem is most prevalent in richer countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
Parents tend to underestimate the impact of an insufficient amount of sleep on academic performance. Lack of sleep can have the same repercussions as lack of food, leading to lack of concentration and reduced ability to learn.
In some cases teachers have had to alter their lesson plans because students are not well rested and cannot keep up with the pace of the class, negatively affecting the entire class’s progress.