Playing with Lego as a child could lead to better GCSE results, according to a new study. 

Developing fine motor skills  before school such as mastering the small fiddly blocks or being able to use scissors or drawing and paper folding were associated with a higher GCSE grade.

Conversely those with lower fine motor skills at preschool had more behavioural problems and ADHD symptoms during their primary and secondary school years.

Study senior author Professor Angelica Ronald, of the University of Surrey, said: “Our study suggests that the development of fine motor skills is part of the pathway that leads to educational outcomes and behaviour later on.”

The University of Surrey and Birkbeck University of London team studied more than 9,000 pre-school children aged two, three and four to get a sense of their overall fine motor skills during the preschool period. 

They were followed through their childhood and adolescence as part of a longitudinal study, the Twins Early Development Study. 

The report, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, also involved analysis of the measures of genetic propensity for educational attainment and behaviour. 

The evidence suggests that the inherited propensity for staying longer in education was associated with better early fine motor skills. 

The inherited propensity for ADHD was associated with more challenges with preschool fine motor skills. 

Socioeconomic factors, including parent qualifications and employment, were also taken into account for the study.

Study first author Aislinn Bowler, a doctoral student at Birkbeck, said: "I was surprised by the extent of the results we found.

"I was startled to find that fine motor skills have such wide-ranging connections to later outcomes, extending not only into primary school age but into adolescence as well."

Further research will find the exact role that fine motor skills play in influencing children's later outcomes.

If there is a causal role between fine motor skills and later outcomes, this would influence public policy and the Government's Early Years Framework.

Prof Ronald added: “Parents are sometimes provided with free books for their young children; policymakers should consider supplementing books with blocks or drawing materials."