Parents are more likely to worry about their child not making friends at school than they are about their youngster struggling with lessons, according to a poll.

It reveals that one in three parents (33%) admit to being anxious about their child finding friends when they start school.

And just over one in ten (11%) said that their main worry was that their son or daughter would not be able to keep up with the school work.

The same proportion were concerned that their youngster would not ask for help when they needed it, while the rest cited other worries

Action for Children, which commissioned the poll, said that a child's first day at school can be an anxious time, sometimes more so for parents than the pupils themselves.

Jan Leightley, the charity's executive director of operations said: "Our centres help them prepare youngsters for their first year at school by giving them a place to play with other children, to learn to make friends and to develop their language skills."

Previous research conducted by Action for Children of its own centre managers found that two fifths (41%) said that they felt children were needing more help to reach basic milestones such as being toilet trained and following simple instructions.

:: The YouGov poll questioned 9,015 adults including 2,267 parents of children aged 18 or under between 10-17 February.