Shocking figures from Key Stage One assessments of 553,000 seven-year-olds in English primary schools have revealed that children's reading and writing abilities are at their worst in a decade.
Around 84,000 children - or one in six - failed to reach the expected levels in reading, whilst almost one in ten - 58,700 - failed to make the required standards in maths.
Writing skills were a particular concern, with one in five seven-year-olds - or nearly 105,000 pupils - failing to attain the writing standards expected of their age group. Many struggled to use capital letters and spell single-syllable words.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: 'In spite of the hard work of teachers and pupils, there are still too many seven-year-olds not reaching the expected level.
'We need to make sure that government gives schools the support they need to get the basics right. A solid foundation in reading, writing, maths and science in the early years of education is crucial to a child's success in later life.'