More than a quarter of children in the UK are not reaching their potential at school because of poor living conditions and unwell parents, a study has found.
Researchers from the University of London's Institute of Education and the University of Sussex analysed the intellectual development of 18,000 children between the ages of nine months and five years.
They found that children were likely to have stunted intellectual development if they were exposed to two or more disadvantages, such as having a parent who suffered from depression, and living in an overcrowded home.
Some 28% of the children they studied came from families that faced two or more disadvantages. In most cases, these children had a considerably reduced vocabulary or behaved worse than their peers.
In their study, multiple risk factors in young children's development, the academics highlight 10 situations that can impair a child's development. These include living in an overcrowded home; having a teenage mother; coming from a family with poor basic skills or a history of drug or alcohol abuse.