Busy parents are increasingly sending children to primary school in nappies rather than potty training them, a shock survey reveals today.
Almost one in 10 headteachers knew of a child aged between five and seven who had worn a nappy to school in the past year.
Experts say parents are too busy to address the issue – and it doesn’t just affect pupils from troubled backgrounds.
Anne Marie Middletone, who runs a programme at a Kent school to help pupils toilet train, said: “We’re seeing more children in nappies. And we find that more children have a toilet issue further up the school.
“It can really place a strain on teachers and it stops lessons.” She says some parents are also too busy to teach their children other basic skills, including how to use a knife and fork or even hold a paintbrush.
As many as 4% of senior staff surveyed said they knew children as old as 11 who had come to school in nappies.
Teacher Janet Marsh, of Dover, said she knew 14 or 15-year-olds with toilet training issues.
She told the survey, carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research for Sky News: “It’s an incredibly serious situation.
“There are children missing out on 25% of their education in Reception because they’re being taken out to be changed. How are they ever going to catch up?”