Birkenhead’s MP – who once revealed some children in the town start school not knowing their own names - has welcomed a top level report calling for a radical shake-up in nursery education.

Ofsted's first Early Years Annual Report will be published today and says work should be carried out in nursery schools to prepare children better for later education and help bridge the gap between rich and poor.

The report will highlight the continuing gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and more affluent youngsters, saying too many poor children are not ready for school.

Only a third of children from low income backgrounds reach what is considered a good level of development at the early years stage, and once behind struggle to catch up with their peers, Ofsted said.

The report used extensive research carried out by Frank Field who in 2010 was asked by the Prime Minister to conduct an independent review on how poverty impacts on people's life chances.

Mr Field said: “I’m really pleased with the emphasis that Ofsted has given to a major recommendation put forward in the 2010 report that stressed the importance of increasing the numbers of poorer children, in particular, being ready for school.

"There are huge class-based gaps in the differences in children’s abilities when they start school which are not narrowed for most of them by twelve years of compulsory schooling.

"Chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw is spot on in emphasising the crucial importance of closing these gaps during the Foundation Years before children reach school.”

Sir Michael warned too many early years education providers are failing to teach youngsters "social, emotional and learning skills" and get them ready to start primary school.

Pupils from poorer backgrounds are also too often falling behind their more privileged peers by the time they reach school age, but bringing "structured" early years provision into a school setting would help put them on equal footing.

Sir Michael said "Too many of our poorest children are getting an unsure start because the early years system is letting them down."

Children from poorer backgrounds often start school two or three years behind their peers from more prosperous backgrounds, Sir Michael said, a gap that has to be compensated for by teachers in the first year of primary school.

In 2011, Mr Field claimed some children were starting school having never seen a book and not even knowing what one is, they could not hold a crayon nor could they dress themselves.