AN increasing number of five-year-olds are not ready to start primary school, according to union bosses.

A survey has seen a rise in the number of children wetting and soiling themselves at primary school because they are not toilet trained.

And union representatives for East Lancashire said some children lack communication skills because they spend large periods of time in front of the television, and some are even unable to walk because they are wheeled around in pushchairs.

A survey among 848 education staff working in state, independent and academy primaries in the UK found 71 per cent of staff working with three to five-year-olds had noticed an increase in the number of children suffering from incontinence.

The SEN Disability Act in 2011 and the Disability Discrimination Act in 2005, now the Equalities Act 2010, have led some schools to believe they can no longer refuse to take children who are not toilet trained.

Les Turner, NAHT Lancashire representative, said: “The ruling had a significant impact. Children aren’t as prepared for school as they used to be.

“Parents are under increasing pressure, but some of the problems are self-inflicted for short term gain. Children that sit in pushchairs all day are easier to restrain, but may not be able to walk by the time they start school.

“Someone needs to take responsibility for making sure the child is ready to learn, otherwise it’s just childcare.”

The research shows 62 per cent of primary school staff have noticed an increase in the number of children wetting or soiling themselves during the school day over the past five years, which increased to 71 per cent among those working with three to five-year-olds.

About four in 10 also stated their school had no written policy for dealing with childhood continence problems.

Simon Jones, NUT Lancashire representative and executive member, said: “There are concerns children are being pushed into starting school before they are physically and intellectually ready.”