14/08/2014 16:59 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Children Start Primary School Unable To Eat Or Go To The Toilet By Themselves

Children settle into their reception class

Teachers have to spend months 'socialising' children when they start primary school in how to eat, mix with other pupils and go to the toilet.

Eight in 10 staff at nurseries and primary schools say they have had to deal with children who have wet or soiled themselves.

Minister for Schools, Lord Nash, said growing numbers of kids start school with 'very challenging social skills'. He said teachers and classroom assistant, were now spending 'several terms' helping children from chaotic families to adapt to school life.

Lord Nash said: "We unfortunately see an increasing number of pupils entering primary school with very challenging social skills.

"Primary teachers and assistants have to spend several terms socialising them.

"Meals are very important, which is why we have introduced compulsory meals."

All four to seven-year-olds in England will be given free school lunches from September as part of moves to improve the eating habits of new pupils.

Last month a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found school support staff were increasingly having to deal with pupils who have not been toilet trained by the age of four.

And last year, it was revealed that five-year-olds were going to school in nappies.

Lord Nash was responding to a question in the House of Lords from Labour peer Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe who asked for the Government to produce statistics on 'the number of children who are now going to school who cannot eat properly, have not been toilet trained properly and cannot cope with healthy foods by comparison with what they are accustomed to eating'.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said last month: "Having to deal with increasing numbers of pupils who have not yet been toilet trained puts extra pressure on education staff when they already have enough pressure on them.

"It is worrying that such a high number of support staff have received no training in dealing with such issues, yet they are expected to deal with pupils, and even though it is not formally within their job description."

Dr Bousted added: "Schools need to give staff clear guidance on how to deal with toileting accidents so they know what they are allowed to do and who should be dealing with an incident."

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