Head teachers and children's campaigners have called for more money for early years education after new figures on pupils' readiness to start school.
Eight out of 10 school leaders in a survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Family and Childcare Trust said many children arriving at primary school were not ready to take part in classroom activities.
Speech, language and communication problems were the biggest issues with 97% of respondents identifying these problems as a concern.
Almost a quarter said more than half their intake was not ready for school and of these 86% were concerned that children’s readiness to start their education is now worse than five years ago.
The most common reasons given were failure to identify and support additional needs early enough, parents having fewer available resources and pressure on parents and family life.
Reductions in local services to support families and health services and inadequate funding were also cited.
NAHT president Anne Lyons said: 'With this report we are hoping to highlight the impact that cuts to public services are having on families and children.
'The support that families of all kinds regard as essential are being cut back or have already disappeared.
'Cuts to school budgets mean that it’s also getting harder to address these issues once the children are in school.'