Middle-class children hear 33 million words by the time they start school – 23 million more than poorer children of the same age, a Government adviser has revealed.

A collapse in parenting skills in poor homes with unstable families blights a child’s prospects by the time they are three-years-old, according to **the Government’s adviser on poverty Frank Field.**

In a report on child deprivation, he said that wealthier children from stable homes will have heard 440,000 more positive comments from their parents than children from dysfunctional families by the age of three.

He told The Sunday Times newspaper that the level of communication between a parent and child has a more drastic impact on a child’s future than class, race or income.

And he warned that the findings are only set to continue for future generations if action is not taken as young people brought up  in dysfunctional families have no experience of being a good parent when it comes to raising their own children.

Mr Field aims to ‘break into this cycle of deprivation so the whole thing is not automatically handed on the next generation’.

He is calling for a ‘parenting curriculum’ at schools where pupils will learn about child care as well as a formal ‘rites of passage’ ceremonies attended by local mayors for children not christened.

His proposals come just days after he accused David Cameron of wasting the first half of his term in government by ignoring the study into how to smash the cycle of deprivation.

Mr Field’s paper ‘The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults’ revealed that many children begin school without knowing their first name because their parents barely speak to them.

One of his most damning findings was that youngsters who were behind when they started school never caught up to their peers.

He blamed the situation on the low aspirations of parents trapped in poverty where no one in the family has worked for generations.

These parents do not bother to play with, talk to or read to their children.

The Labour MP called for a dedicated Cabinet Minister to take charge of all policy for the under-fives.

Mr Field’s ground-breaking study, commissioned by Mr Cameron, warned that children’s life chances were almost entirely determined before they even got to school.

His report called for health visitors to measure children’s behaviour and communication skills from the age of two to catch youngsters who were falling behind in their development.

The MP for Birkenhead told the Daily Mail: ‘This is a missed opportunity. I am puzzled as to why the Prime Minister would be so anxious for me to do all this work when he has yet to show that he has read it.’

‘Time is running out, we are coming up to halfway in this parliament.

‘If the Prime Minister had hit the ground running from day one two years ago, they [the coalition] could have said, ‘we may have made a mess of things in these other areas but at least we are trying really hard on this’. ‘

Downing Street dismissed the criticism, saying the Prime Minister took tackling poverty very seriously.

But the government is expected to miss its child poverty target, of ensuring that no more than 1.7 million children live in poverty.

This is despite successive governments spending £150 billion on tackling poverty since 1997.

Source: Daily Mail – http://goo.gl/V8pl0