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One in ten leave primary school unable to brush their teeth

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  Posted by: The Probe      5th February 2020

Surprising numbers of children in the UK are leaving primary school without basic life skills such as being able to brush their own teeth, dress themselves and tell the time. 

According to a new study, one in ten (10%) children are leaving primary school unable to brush their own teeth, dress themselves or tell the time.

The research by watch and sunglasses specialist, Tic Watches, also revealed that almost one in six (16%) primary school leavers are unable to swim, despite the national curriculum stating that all children should be able to swim 25 metres by this time, and 13% are unable to ride a bike.

The most common basic skills that UK children leave primary school without are: 

1.    Swimming (16%)

2.    Knowing their times tables (13%)

3.    Riding a bike (13%)

4.    Reading full sentences (10%)

5.    Brushing their own teeth (10%)

Whilst previous studies have suggested that girls outperform their male peers on all levels, the new research suggests that boys are more advanced when it comes to more practical life skills*.

A concerning one in seven (15%) girls leave primary school unable to brush their teeth without assistance, compared to just 4% of boys. Equally worrying, 10% of girls of the same age are unable to dress themselves, compared to 8% of boys. 

The research also showed one in ten boys left primary school unable to ride a bike (10%), compared to one in six girls (16%). Meanwhile, one in ten girls are unable to tell the time using a watch (10%), in comparison to 8% of boys at this age. 

Mya Medina, Chief Education Adviser at online tutoring service, Tutor House, commented: “The stereotype is that girls are better at language and verbal communication, including reading, while boys are better at technical subjects like science and maths. Equally, it’s been said that girls take better care of themselves and behave more maturely, thus taking on tasks, such as dressing themselves and brushing their teeth, with greater success. 

“This research should be seen as proving the importance of nurture over nature in developing skills. While few scientists would try to claim that male and female brains are identical, it is increasingly being proven that the difference is so minor that you would not see a difference in their skills. Increasingly, science is showing that nurture has a far greater effect on a child’s skills, knowledge and ability than we had acknowledged.

She concluded: “Perhaps parents are becoming more aware of the stereotypes and are investing more time in teaching sons to dress themselves and brush their teeth. Alternatively, this could be a symptom of a crisis of confidence in young girls and an ongoing issue where girls can be overlooked or take a back seat in early-stage schooling, thus receiving less support.”

Danny Richmond, Managing Director of Tic Watches, said: “It’s concerning to see just how many children are leaving primary school without basic life skills, in particular swimming, a skill which is taught as part of the curriculum.

“This research shows how important it is that kids are given the opportunities to thrive both at home and at school, to ensure that they are fully prepared when they move on to high school.” 

For more of this research, including more information on the basic life skills, please visit https://www.ticwatches.co.uk/blog/2020/01/%ef%bb%bfa-study-into-basic-life-skills-in-primary-school-leavers/


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