Under-fives in poverty 'may never catch up' with peers

Children living in poverty in Wales are falling behind and may never catch up with their classmates, a charity has warned.

A report by Save the Children said a third were behind their peers by age five in vocabulary and dexterity and may "never catch up".

It said high quality early years education to support a child's home life was key to tackling the issue.

The Welsh Government said it was committed to addressing the problem.

Save the Children estimated more than a quarter of children under five years old - about 50,000 - were living in poverty - measured as a household with an income of less than £9,804 a year.

The Welsh Government had hoped to abolish child poverty in Wales by 2020 but last year it admitted it did not have the power to make the changes needed to achieve it.

The Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru said the Welsh Government's strategy was not working and children were being "failed".

Research by Save the Children shows once children fall behind in their early years they are more likely to struggle throughout their education.

According to its report, nearly half of the children who were in the lowest performing groups at the beginning of primary school remained there at ages seven, 11 and 14.

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