Poorer children failing at school

A fifth of all children in the region who have free school meals fail to reach the accepted standard for reading, writing and arithmetic, according to charity Save the Children.

Children who are behind in the "three Rs" at the age of seven already have their life chances virtually determined, the charity says.

In a new report, "Too Young to Fail," Save the Children said being behind at these core subjects at such a young age could prejudice a child's future earnings, health and, in economic terms, cost the country billions in lost revenue.