Hundreds of children in Slough and Windsor could be starting school this month without basic skills such as holding a pencil or going to the toilet.

Public Health England measures a child's school readiness based on how far they have developed by the end of reception.

According to data for 2016 to 2017 just 71 per cent of children in Slough were at a good level when they started Year 1 - 35 per cent of them being boys against 23 per cent girls.

Pupils from poorer backgrounds fared worse with just 60 per cent on free school meals achieving the benchmark.

In Windsor and Maidenhead just 77 per cent of children were at a good level when they started with 29 per cent of boys falling short and 18 per cent of girls.

According to Ofsted the government's schools inspection body, children who do not reach a good level by the age of five are likely to struggle to catch up in their later education.

Gill Jones, early education deputy director at Ofsted said: "Gaps between poorer pupils and their peers remain stubbornly wide. Good parenting certainly makes a difference but schools have to step in to help those pupils who do not enjoy the benefits of lots of talk and a bedtime story."