Our thanks to a number of people for this. The start of the short (BBC) piece:
Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to have fallen behind by the time they start school, a report says.
Save the Children says a quarter of boys in England – 90,000 – started reception class struggling to speak a full sentence or follow instructions.
The report, based on a University of Bristol study, says children who start school behind often never catch up.
The end of the piece:
Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said “the number of qualified staff is rising with more trained graduates in the workforce and a record number of providers rated Good or Outstanding.
“This investment is paying off, latest figures show more than 80 per cent of children are reaching the expected communication and language skills by age five, but we will continue working with the sector until every child gets the high-quality education they deserve.”
Note the trademark lack of recognition by DfE that educational under-performance is a highly gendered issue.