Campaign To Delay School In Scotland

17 May 2016
Campaign To Delay School In Scotland

Today saw the launch of a new campaign, based in Fife, to delay the school starting age in Scotland to seven years old.

The Courier reports:

Parents and educators from across the region were shown what could be possible if a kindergarten stage for three to seven-year-olds was introduced to Scotland's education system.

Sunday's launch by Upstart Scotland, which coincided with National Children's Day 2016, took place at The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery in Letham woods, the first outdoor nursery in the country.

Owner Cathy Bache said a number of parents had deferred their children starting school for a year or even two and had found the benefits immeasurable.

The Upstart Scotland campaign is spearheaded by chair Sue Palmer, the author of Toxic Childhood: How Modern Life is Damaging Our Children.

She commented that Scotland's very early school starting age has created "a cultural attachment to cracking on with formal learning at P1" to the detriment of many children.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this story. Would you support a move to delay the school starting age in Scotland to seven years old? And would you be interested in enrolling your child in a forest school type learning environment?

TOPICS:   Parents

175 comments

  • Louise B.

    Dont agree, my 7 year old has learnt so much at school that she wouldn't have learnt if she wasnt, but i do think 3 is too young, i would say about 4-5yr old

  • Emma B.

    I'm no expert and would need more information but if studies show it's beneficial I think it's a great idea. Some kids go to school at 4.5 they are just little X there's a lifetime of education and work ahead of them. Let them have fun while they are still so young xx

  • Sharron A.

    A lot depends on how the parents are with the children. If the child is not read to,talked to etc then they need to be in school!

    • Cara M.

      Totally it suprises me that there are families whose parents don't read write or interact in learning with there children. It's very sad:(

    • Emily B.

      It's sad how many parents don't sit with their kids, don't read with them and don't even help them with homework

    • Marianne B.

      The idea isn't to keep children at home, it's to provide an interim play based environment that sits between nursery and traditional schooling

    • Emily B.

      But nurseries in general don't teach them anything. They're glorified baby sitters. They're not under EYFS

  • Elizabeth H.

    No thanks ad rather they got to learn

  • Nicole L.

    I kind of agree! Instead of starting school so young I think nursery should be extended so they have a social environment without the intense learning and regimented days that schools brings.

    • Squeezy

      That's exactly what the campaign is calling for, a play-based kindergarten stage from 3-7 years. 

  • Emily B.

    Depends largely on the parents. If they have no inclination to stimulate a child's love of learning then it doesn't matter what age they start. My son has been in "school" since he was 30months old (pre school) and he's now 7 and a high achiever. I've always read to/with him and invested in his love of knowledge

    • Cara D.

      Who even says 30 months old, why not just say 2.5? When he's 15 will you be like 'aw my baby, he's 180 months old!' haha.

    • Emily B.

      Well. Obviously. I did. There's no difference between the two ways.

    • Marianne B.

      The idea isn't really for the children to remain at home so much as to have an interim play based period between nursery and school

    • Emily B.

      They do. It's called reception.

    • Claire F.

      Reception is very much a traditional educational setting, there is little play based learning. Why are we in such a hurry to send our precious children to schools and nurseries? Why don't we place more emphasis on home learning?

    • Emily B.

      It depends on the school. We have quite a lot of play based learning in reception. It's been proven children learn and adapt well, and they deal with school better if they experience a structured setting from a young age. Education does no harm

    • Claire F.

      I disagree, I think it's detrimental to expose them to a 'structured setting' at such a young age. My son didn't go to nursery or preschool, and neither will my daughter. Education does no harm, but that doesn't have to be taught at a desk in a classroom.

    • Emily B.

      It's not all about education. It also teaches them valuable life skills like paying attention and being able to sit still and concentrate. There are children in my sons year and it's painfully obvious that they've had very little structure outside their own home because they can't sit still and they're very disruptive

    • Claire F.

      Because they're far too young to be in a structured environment. There are years and years of education ahead of them, for teaching sitting still and concentration. Children are forced to grow up far too quickly, it saddens me that people are so keen to force this out of them at such a young age :cry:

    • Marianne B.

      I would say that the word education in the context of this conversation could be easily substituted by institutionalisation. People's perspective of education differs, there is now a huge amount of evidence supporting active play based learning as being more conducive to emotional and academic intelligence than simple rote learning. This campaign is suggesting it's worth moving away from what has traditionally been seen as successful and trying something new. We don't have a nation of high achieving, happy, well rounded adults, and as parents we have an amazing opportunity to change this.

    • Emily B.

      Depends whether people's paranoia takes over their common sense. I do have faith in our education system to a degree, but if you want the country to remain productive we need I raise educated children

    • Claire F.

      So do you not think the Scandanavian countries do that Emily? They produce far more high achievers than us year on year, they regularly outperform us academically. They have been following this system of education for years. It speaks for itself.

    • Marianne B.

      I wonder who's paranoid! Have you ever met an adult who isn't able to follow instructions, sit still and be a productive member of society?

    • Emily B.

      Yep. Plenty.

    • Claire F.

      Then I'd probably question the social circles you move in Emily, because other than people with additional needs I haven't.

    • Marianne B.

      I guess all of those adults started school in Finland at 7 then moved over here then ;) with over spilling prisons and social care services we can't claim to have an excellent success rate in education. Inflexibility and resistance to change really just allows these cycles to continue (much like this arbitrary conversation lol!!!)

    • Emily B.

      It is nothing to do with social circles, but more to do with the level of education and the willingness of a child to learn, and develop into a normal functioning adult. Keep your petty personal jibes to yourself

    • Claire F.

      It wasn't a personal jibe at all, but surely if that's the case and you know lots of people like this it must be to do with who you socialise with? You clearly think you know better than the education systems of countries that achieve more than ours on a regular basis, so there's little point in continuing this conversation.

    • Emily B.

      And you clearly think you know better too. So unless your a member of Mensa, move on. I'm not interested.

    • Claire F.

      And what if I am?

    • Claire F.

      And I don't think I know better, I agree with what their statistics prove: that their educational system is more effective than ours.

    • Marianne B.

      Oh, I actually am a member of Mensa!

    • Marianne B.

      I'm not actually sure what the argument is about now. Emily definitely doesn't think letting children play and learn at the same time is a good thing, but Claire does. So that's cool, luckily none of us get to decide.

    • Claire F.

      As am I Marianne! I don't think this has gone quite the way Emily anticipated...

    • Marianne B.

      I have no idea lol but we don't have reception in Scotland anyway so I think that voids the entire conversation.

    • Emily B.

      I agree that children should play. But it's been proven time again that structured learning from the age of 5 is beneficial. It can be learning through play or structured activities. Kids can be kids, but they also need to learn basic life skills and it's better they learn them from a young age. My point about disruptive children was that you can tell which ones have been in a structured setting from a young age, and which ones have had no structure whatsoever. My son went to pre school from 2&half years old. He's now 7. He's a high achiever and has been reading since 4 years old. According to your logic he can't do this?! Kids will be intelligent if the parents put the effort in from a young age

    • Claire F.

      My son is almost 9. He didn't attend a nursery or pre-school, and we deferred his primary place until Year One. He is a high achiever, and is exceptionally gifted, particularly in maths. According to your logic this isn't possible. Intelligence isn't affected by nurture, it is something you are born with. Any child can be taught to pass a test or to parrot facts.

    • Emily B.

      But learning is not parroting facts and children are not born intelligent. What we teach our children as parents encourages their mind and makes them eager to learn. Tests are irrelevant. Anyone can sit a test if they have a good memory.

    • Claire F.

      But our current education system is geared towards exactly that: parroting facts.

    • Marianne B.

      'It's been proven time and again that structured learning from the age of 5 is beneficial' is both archaic and conjecture. Structure and the free education system were introduced for the general masses in the UK as a means of enabling parents to earn money and pay tax, and in order to efficiently prepare children to obediently join the workforce. It doesn't work and it's time to move on.

    • Rachel S.

      This is a scotish petition and they don't have reception here its nursery until around 5 then straght into year 1

  • Fiona E.

    I think it depends on what you mean by school. I think time with peers is really important at that age but I think the majority of time should still be play based there is no reason why play can't be educational and far more time outdoors!

  • Cara M.

    My just 6 year old loves school and it has done his confidence the wonders but there is so much pressure to perform and parent politics. Let kids be kids they each perform at different levels but all get to the same skills eventually yes at different levels. I am def up for sending my children at 4-5 just think the pressure needs to lower slightly.

  • Karen M.

    My 6 nearly 7 year old has done fantasticly at school and I wouldn't have wanted her to have missed out on all that she has already achieved by attending school! She is an amazing reader since the age of 5 and is able to read books way beyond her age group ( has read word for word her older brothers Harry Potter book) and her vocabulary is outstanding, her teacher tells me she is amazed at what she is capable of academically as she is top of her class at most subjects and having took her Maths SAT yesterday her teacher told me she had done amazingly.Not to show off but to prove that school for some children aged 5/6 is definitely a good thing :)

    • Emily B.

      My son is the same. He was reading at 4 years old (before he started reception). He's always loved to learn and he's now a high achiever. He's also sitting his year 2 sats. How can encouraging a child to learn be a negative thing?

    • Karen M.

      Aw that's fantastic! I think some children do absolutely love to learn and that should always be encouraged , and some children just aren't that interested ( I was one of those children who hated school from nursery right up to secondary school I hated every minute of it & unfortunately my 14 year old is the same ) I've not treated either of my children's education differently it's just how they are, one isnt that interested in anything other than what he likes and the other one is hungry to learn everything and anything that she posdibly can lol x

  • Laura A.

    As an EYO I feel that this would benefit some children who require extra help to progress and learn but I dont think it would be beneficial for all children. Especially those who are excelling in all areas of their learning :ok_hand:.

  • Katie M.

    There's one reason why children start so young in our country. To get parents into work and paying tax. Look at all the high achieving schools around the world - they all start later. Kids are meant to play not be sat still at desks. And I'm a primary teacher who is holding my son back till he's five.

    • Jo S.

      My son is about to turn 4, he is delayed and under assessment. I know he will get 1-1 in early years, as he does so in preschool. However I still think he should maybe wait to move up. I worry, about it. How do they then catch up for when they move on to secondary? I love the idea of having learning through play until 7. Works well in other countries x

    • Marianne B.

      To be honest, I wonder how many employers interviewing 30 year old applicants are going to ask how they did in their first SATs. Who do they need to catch up with? The education system is not universally standardised, they only need to keep up with themselves :) finishing high school isn't the end of education, especially in Scotland, there are lots of other options :)

    • Helen L.

      Good for yoy - I had absolutely no support from health visitor, nursery staff or the proposed school when I suggested holding my summer baby back. They were all extremely negative and made me feel terrible for even suggesting it like I would impact his entire education.

    • Linda S.

      its the same reason that the Govt has been so obsessed with getting 100% attendance - nothing to do with the kids wellbeing or education all to do with UK productivity and getting people working as many hours as possible

    • Leanne M.

      I didn't know you could hold your child back?! I'm all for delaying school until they're older.

    • Marianne B.

      Leanne it depends on birthdate in Scotland whether you want to delay til they are over five or not :) you also have the option to home school or flexi school.

    • Helen L.

      Yes Leanne - they don't have to start school until that are 5 in England and can miss reception and go straight into year 1.

    • Carley F.

      I also believe it is way to young and I'm absolutely dreading my July born starting next Sept!!

    • Karen M.

      Marianne Blake but the point of SATS isn't for future employers but to see what each individual child has learnt and if they need extra help with subjects and to test what our children's school has actually taught them! I think these SATS are a good thing as how else would the teacher and school know if there was a problem that needed addressing if they didn't have the information they needed? our schools now are so overcrowded it's impossible for the children to get the 1:1 time that we would have got in our school days for a teacher to pick up on each child's individual education need.My 6 year old is doing SATS yet she doesn't know she's doing them as her teacher told me that the school hasn't made a big deal of it to the kids so unless they have been told by those outside the school the kids just think it's part of school work, I can't praise my daughters teacher or all those who work in the school enough.

    • Tina R.

      I think children would miss out on so much by delaying school until 7. My two girls love school and have made some very firm friends. They have come on a treat and have learnt so much. Not just educationally but in sharing with large groups, social skills, and at least for my eldest, she has gained an increase in confidence. I spend a lot of time at home 'educating' my girls, regular reading practice, numeracy amongst other things but there's no way I'd have been able to teach them everything they have gained from school. Also, when you consider some parents who can barely talk to their children without swearing at them or never do anything with them, how would they benefit from no formal education until 7.

    • Claire F.

      Because they would still be in an educational environment, but the focus would be on play based learning and social skills rather than traditional educational models

    • Marianne B.

      Karen the purpose of the SATs is to evidence to local authorities that they are getting value for money from their teachers.

    • Danni M.

      We have had our application approved in Bournemouth for our summer born child to start school (in reception) at compulsory school age when she will be 5 years and a few weeks old rather than when she's just turned 4. No developmental delay, just that we as parents know her best and feel she deserves another year of just being a child, out of formal education. If it was possible for her to begin her schooling even later, I would wholeheartedly go along with that.

    • Pauline B.

      As a teacher you should then understand that every child is different. My son will be starting school at 4 and one of the youngest but his nursery have been struggling to keep up with his learning so school is the best thing that could happen this year

    • Katie M.

      Buy Pauline I'm not saying that nursery should take the place of school. In this case there would be a different setting, educational but not in our school sense. My son is deferred and instead of starting school this year will start next September in reception (not missing a year). He will continue to go to his current pre school. He is a very very bright boy. However they will still be able to stimulate him and I'm certain of that. And that's because it's not a traditional nursery setting. It's a Montessori nursery where the children are outdoors pretty much 100% of the time, learning through doing. This is what children should be doing, in y opinion, at that young age. Not say behind desks. And as much as reception is 'play based' that's rapidly changing and now, from the spring term, they sit down at desks more and more ready for year one. In y head that's not the way children should be learning at age 4. They have the rest of their lives to do that. They can learn through doing and playing and even though every child is different, this could be easily catered for given the right setting. Unfortunately it's not what our government wants. They contstantly harp down the route of we are alipping down world league tables but they pick and choose what they want to follow. Finland often tops the league and they start school at seven ad do a lot of forest schooling but that doesn't fit out plan does it

    • Jo J.

      Children can start school whenever you wish them to if you choose to home educate.

    • Stacey W.

      My son will turn 4 on August 30 next year then a week later he will be in school I think he is far to young and would prefer him to start the following year and stay at playgroup for a extra year where he can play with others and learn to

  • Lauren K.

    I like the idea of a kindergarten stage. The jump from nursery to school is massive and many children struggle to cope with the changes. My daughter is currently in primary 1, she had outgrown nursery but I definitely think the jump from playing/doing what she wanted in nursery to formal learning at school was too much too soon for a 4 year old.

  • Ann M.

    Children learn best through play. Yes in other countries they don't start school till 7 and they achieve above and beyond our children

  • Lisa K.

    I think 7 is far too late my kids start/started school at 3 by 7 both my kids have been/will be fluent in both Welsh and English something I could never teach them as I can't pick the language up that quick, the amount they learn in school in them 4 years, and he experiences they receive. Why on earth would you want to take that away from your children? I love spending time with my kids but I make the most of time I have with them, and look forward to the excitable stories they tell me after their day in school.

    • Rebecca K.

      Totally agree my 3rd will be starting school in Sept at 3 just like his brother and sister into a Welsh class ther would be no way they could just start school at 7 and be able to speak the language as I don't speak it myself at 7 my daughter can read and write in English and Welsh and was already on to her second school (middle school) it's all about education education and still seems a huge step back

    • Lisa K.

      I think it would be detremental to a lot of children

  • Munaza R.

    There is no evidence to suggest that children perform better because they started school earlier. If anything the opposite is true, counties that start formal schooling later outperform Britain. No one is saying learning shouldn't take place from 4/5, but should be in a play based environment that doesn't have the rigidity of our current education system.

  • Rachael C.

    No way! My boy will be 5 in September, so starts this year and he is totally ready for it in every way,emotionally and intellectually!! He is buzzing about it and so am I! Couldn't imagine waiting another 2 years! xxx

  • Marianne B.

    The campaign philosophy is not that the children sit at home with their parents til they turn seven, it's that an extended period of play based learning lasts until seven rather than four or five. YES they will still learn, interact, and develop, of course, but as research and other countries already taking this approach the benefit of play is now seen to outweigh the old fashioned idea that children must sit at a desk to learn. Also, most intelligent, curious children can learn maths and literacy, given some parental/play based support. It's time for education to evolve :)

    • Jo S.

      I think some commentators failed to read the article :/

    • Jo S.

      Finland have great results and happy kids. OK China have clever children but they have a high suicide rate due to pressure and tests. I definitely know I'd rather be like Finland. Hate tests for primary children and feel it will only get worse.

    • Marianne B.

      I think intelligence and ability to pass exams are entirely different things!

    • Pauline B.

      This isn't always what's best for every child

    • Marianne B.

      Over the years it's become clear that traditional schooling doesn't seem to be best for vast numbers of children.

  • Melanie T.

    7 imo is too old my daughter was ready for school a year before she could go and she is thriving.

  • Kelly E.

    Children need to interact with other children and to have their little minds stimulated, 7 is far to late. My little granddaughter is 1 and half and she can count to five and string full sentences together already but needs to interact with other children, she loves the company of other children who come knocking to play with her. Children can get so selfish if they don't intractable with others, schools In N/I do a wonderful job and have some of the highest academic results in the country that's in primary schools right through , young children want to learn and these results prove it.

    • Marianne B.

      Perhaps reading the article would help with some of your concerns

    • Kelly E.

      Marianne Blake I did read it , I don't think that standard of teaching would be that beneficial to the child, I see children here at the age of 7 and they could teach me a few things or two, I worked in a primary school where children start at the age of four and to watch them grow is incredible they come in like little shy lambs and within a few weeks they have flourished in all aspects of the educational system , I just think the kindergarten idea until they are 7 would be holding them back some what. I do believe children also need play incorporated into school life they are only children after all.

    • Claire F.

      If that were the case and it were holding them back then countries where this is the norm wouldn't be so high achieving. Have a look into the Scandanavian countries and then come back and tell me it doesn't work...

    • Claire F.

      I can guarantee they aren't comparable to the Scandanavian countries results where this is the norm.

  • Cecilia K.

    Id welcome kids starting schooling until later on. But obviously have some sort of extended preschool/nursery setting. So what if children finish school at 18, it would give them more time to consider their futures and decide careers.

  • Cheryl E.

    Does that mean will have a pay for nursery longer though? Wouldn't be happy with that

    • Marianne B.

      No.. because it wouldn't be nursery. The early years school budget would just be spent differently

  • Danielle A.

    Bugger that!! :joy:

  • Laura B.

    Definitely would welcome this idea. Children should be children and have more fun when they are younger. There Is a lot of pressure on them to learn so early. The homework is seemingly ridiculous in their first year. My little one starts this August and will be one of the youngest at 4 and a half. I've seriously considered holding him back but I feel it would be unfair to him because he has made loads of little friends who are going and I know it would upset him. You can teach them all the basics from home. Reading, writing, numbers etc. X

    • Amyjayne W.

      My son will have only been 4 just over a week when he strts shool this September :persevere::persevere::persevere:

  • Rosalyn L.

    Yes I would agree. The evidence from higher achieving countries backs this up. I think there is too much of a rush to get wee one's into nurseries and school. My son was just turned 2 when I was being asked to get him enrolled in to nursery. I felt a bit sick about it all. Yes he will benefit from having a peer community to play with but I worry he will be too young for institutional learning he's only learning to talk proper sentences and use a potty, it feels too soon. Then this new thing about being tested at only 4 yrs old is just wrong. I also have a niece who's 6 next month and I witnessed her struggling with the pressure of constant theory learning in class topped with daily homework eating into her playtime at home. It quickly dimmed her shine and now she no longer plays imagination games and runs about, she reads and draws. Her whole attitude changed. :(

    • Claire F.

      Agreed. This is why I held my son back until the term after his fifth birthday, and why we are looking at home schooling our daughter.

    • Marianne B.

      Just remember that he is your child.I nobody else's, and though there is a lot of pressure ultimately you are his advocate and know what's best for him. Trust yourself!

    • Marianne B.

      (P.S. there are lots of peer communities in Scotland that are either outdoor based or totally informal, it's worth exploring your options if your instinct says nursery isn't right)

    • Rosalyn L.

      I live in a very rural part of scotland and there wasn't much to choose from unfortunatly. :(

    • Marianne B.

      There's play groups, facebook meet up groups, home school and flexischool, but it can be tricky, we thoroughly regretted being pressured into nursery, but I shall try not to project that onto others lol

    • Rosalyn L.

      I did look for playgroups, but couldn't find any in my area, the nearst one was over 40 miles away. There are meet ups in a local hall and library which I have thought of going to but its only an hour or so a week so very limited. I'd love to try home school but my husband wants me to go back to work (money :/). I have never heard of flexichool before so will need to look into that. Thanks for your suggestions.

    • Marianne B.

      No probs. Flexischool is a good alternative financially - schoolhouse Scotland is a good resource. Good luck :)

  • Claire M.

    I would have loved to delay it, I felt 4 and a bit was far, far too young. They've done well in school so far but what about the ones that don't? I'd have been happy with a kidergarten style stage in between where there's still learning, albeit in a less formal setting.

    • Pauline B.

      Did they not get pre schooling?

    • Claire M.

      Yes of course but only until age 4 and a half then school. The idea of the article if you read it, is to have a longer play based learning for children

  • Sammi B.

    No way! My kids would have been climbing the walls by then :joy::joy:

  • Jo S.

    I love the idea. They still learn, just through play not tests!

  • Claire F.

    There is excellent evidence from countries that already do this that children learn best through play at the age we enrol them into a traditional school environment in this country. High achieving countries just don't send their children to school as young as we do. I held my son back until he was 5, and will probably do the same with my daughter, or home school her. The education system in this country places far too much emphasis on test results and OFSTED ratings, and not enough on individual children and their needs.

  • Claire F.

    There is excellent evidence from countries that already do this that children learn best through play at the age we enrol them into a traditional school environment in this country. High achieving countries just don't send their children to school as young as we do. I held my son back until he was 5, and will probably do the same with my daughter, or home school her. The education system in this country places far too much emphasis on test results and OFSTED ratings, and not enough on individual children and their needs.

  • Helen L.

    They will never do it. They've been trying to get both parents into full time work younger and younger (current 2 year funding) - how young next?@

  • Siobhan M.

    My daughter is the youngest in her class being a January baby. She started school at 4 1/2. She was more than ready, but she was the oldest of my kids and a girl which in some cases helps her. I think the system we have just now in scotland is fine, however the system in place in England I can see why people have issues. With kids only just turning 4 when they start. I may one of the lucky ones. She had a great nursery and had already been there since 2 and a half so was well equipped for full days at school.

    • Amyjayne W.

      My son will be going to school this Sept just over a week after his 4th bday :persevere:

    • Siobhan M.

      See that doesn't happen in scotland. Our cut off is Feb. So the youngest they are is 4 and a half.

    • Amyjayne W.

      I wish :persevere: he seems far too young still, its alot for them to adjust to isnt it! I need to move to scotland asap lol

    • Claire H.

      The systems are totally different though. Scottish kids start primary 1 at 5 and it's much more formal and structured than the English reception which is basically an extension of nursery and very much learning through play. My daughter started reception just after her 4th birthday. She's in year 2 now and doing great.

    • Siobhan M.

      They don't start at 5. But will be 5 before the easter holidays in their 1st yr.

  • Gina F.

    This is brilliant and I really really hope they are successful, then when Scotland start kicking England's butt over and over again in test scores then maybe our narrow minded government will have to listen!!!

  • Angie B.

    I think yes go to school at 4/5 but keep it more for play and interaction.. I find schools expect too much of kids .. My daughter benefited from it as likes to learn but my son was only 4 and he hated it.. And they expected so much from him.

  • Jen K.

    Personally I feel my daughter was ready for school at just over 4 and a half years old as was becoming bored with nursery. Yes it was a major transition at a young age but since she settled in she thrived at school. My son however won't start school until he's almost 5 and a half which I'm relieved about as don't think he would be ready at such an early age. I guess it's all about personal circumstances and parents can always defer their start by a year if they want to.?

  • Debzy J.

    My son is 4 meant to be starting school this august but weve decided he not ready so be staying in nursery another year,he will be starting near the age of 6, his behaviour at times is wow could do with the break him being school all day but im thinking of him and he is not ready! My daughter is head strong older than her age of 5 but she is finding school hard and now is quite whingy since started school last august, eg thinks she be late for school etc and panics :( so i do think kids should start an older age

    • Marianne B.

      That sounds really stressful!

    • Debzy J.

      Yep lol my 3 youngest under 5, just have to get on with it :)

  • Bryony J.

    It's closer than Finland!!

  • Chantelle T.

    My five year old gets homework and I think it's pretty disgraceful to be honest. And the other kids often make her miserable. I think starting 'proper' school later would be much better

  • Kym R.

    Many (not all) children enter preschool struggling with development, they will fall through the cracks if they are not in education from a younger age.

    Early intervention is proven to work when there are developmental delays. With poor council & NHS funding the earlier a referral goes in, the better because there are long waits for these services.

    Time is so precious when children are little, however there has to be a balance taking into account this country and more importantly the progress of the children in this country, rather than comparing to others.

    • Rosalyn L.

      Its an interesting point you make, but I can't see why they would fall through the cracks and why it should be up to the education system to pick this up when there are health visitors making regular development assessments to detect this. Then there's is the fact that once an issue is detected the "long waits" with NHS services etc are still going to happen regardeless of if a child is in education or not. In some of these cases it can be more detrimental for a child who has such issues to be placed in education unable to cope while being stuck on a waiting list to recieve help.

    • Marianne B.

      The kindergarten phase would still be perfectly capable of meeting the needs of struggling children and identifying issues - it may well be a more appropriate environment for many of them.

    • Kym R.

      Some children don't attend any early years setting until they start school, if school is made later than some parents will choose to keep them at home until compulsory school age.

      Health visitors are also under pressure and development checks not carried out when they are supposed to.

      Before I began working with preschool children myself, my twin boys were struggling developmentally and health visitors fobbed off my concerns as being a worried first time mum.

      When they started nursery; 1 son was still non verbal and had behaviour problems and 1 son was behind with his speech. Both required intensive speech therapy. Even at 12 1 son is having daily physio (as well as other issues) linked to gross motor development problems that I had attempted to seek support for numerous times.

      The nursery gave me a voice and supported us whilst we waited for further professionals. For this reason and for the families I have supported is why I believe in our education system when it is correctly funded and supported.

    • Marianne B.

      I think issues with health visitor and parental support services are a separate (but massively important) issue, and you make an important point.

    • Kym R.

      I think a happy medium would be better, placing more emphasis on learning through play through key stage 1. In my professional experience some children are becoming bored by the end of the EYFS and yearning for more of a challenge.

      A restructure would be welcomed by teachers as well as parents, taking pressure off the children.

    • Rosalyn L.

      Sorry to hear you had such a poor experiance with the health visitors fobbing you off getting help for your boys. It was good the nursery did get the help you needed. Unfortunatly this is not the same for every child and nursery. My brothers wee boy has speach issues and the health visitors did fob him off too, unfortunalty the nursery havent helped either. He had now been referred to a specialist by a gp but has been on a waiting list for years. He struggles communicating with other kids and gets very fustrated and upset. The whole situation can't be good for his confidence at nursery. I do feel the development detection issue should fall to the NHS health visitors to pick this up soon and its clear for both our personal lives that this is a problem. It would also help pick up the home schooled kids this way too.

    • Marianne B.

      We don't really have key stages in the same sense here (as I understand it) so it isn't really comparable in that way. Again, those who opt out of school/preschool settings are also free to opt out of health visitor services so from a child protection and support perspective I'm not sure difference in formal education age would actually make much difference

    • Kay W.

      Just had a baby and you are only required to see a health visitor for the first 3 months- the services is so overwhelmed and very much focuses on post natal depression :rolling_eyes:, they do very early basic developmental checks- nothing to write home about, baby gets weighed and thy ask a few questions. I'm on the fence and not really sure that keeping children out of school until a later age is a good idea. I think as a previous post has suggested more emphasis should be on learning basic skills through play perhaps using a nurture approach, so children are able to utilise these skills more effectively when going through the different stages of school.

    • Marianne B.

      That is what the Upstart campaign is aiming for

  • Paul I.

    Would be wonderful if they'd let kids be kids, sadly this'll never happen as the early start at school is endemic in the UK as all the other "old school" systems that will never change.

    On the plus side, I attended my sons school a few weeks ago (he's coming up for 8) and they did an assembly where they were all speaking French...I didn't learn anything like that until (I think) 3rd year....so from a learning point of view the kids are in a better setup to hone their skills at an earlier age.

    Swings and roundabouts!

    • Marianne B.

      I suppose the question is, do they need to hone their skills? Is earlier better? What is the benefit? Recent evidence now suggests learning is more effective and productive later on. Wait that was actually loads of questions ;)

  • Miezyl R.

    Children seem to have shorten being children these days....they might be alright now and learning at school but als

  • Michelle L.

    My daughter turns 4 in August and starts full time school in September. She's been going to nursery since she was 10 months old but I still don't think she'll be ready :pensive: perhaps 7 is a bit drastic but 4 is definitely far to young!

    • Lucy R.

      it's interesting you say that about your daughter as mine is 5 in Sept so doesn't start school until then and she is so bored right now! Nursery is only twice a week for us and it's hard occupying her the rest of the time as she wants constant stimulation. There must be a happy medium:thinking:

    • Michelle L.

      I'm sure years ago they had two intakes each academic year. I may be wrong but something like that would be ideal...

    • Lucy R.

      That sounds familiar to me too, I'm sure there was something. It would be ideal

    • Katie M.

      You can defer. My boy is four in August but not sending him till next September

    • Imelda S.

      Michelle Lewis they don't have to miss reception now. The law changed in September to say summer born babies ( April to August) can start reception at 5. You apply to defer your place . My son was 4 last August and he started last September and was the youngest by far in he class. I took him out of reception after 1 week when the legislation changed as i knew he wasn't emotionally ready. He's more than ready now at nearly 5 to start.

  • Jemma D.

    My son is 4 (march) and starts school in September he is more than ready to go.. having 2 older siblings helps.. also my daughter will be 4 (next may) when she goes September 2017.. I wouldn't hold them back..

  • Nicola H.

    It would be amazing if children didn't have to start school till they were 7. My daughter is 3 and I'm already absolutely dreading next year having to send her to school, still so little. She should still be at home not being put under pressure and doing long hours at school.

    • Kelly C.

      It's funny how we all have different perceptions of this kind of thing. I'm stressing about the short hours of school! My daughter is 3 and is in pre-school from 7.45 am until 18.15 pm - dreading school because it's only 9.00am til 3.00pm :-(

    • Nicola H.

      wow such a long time each day! I guess I'm really lucky I'm able to stay at home with my daughter. It would absolutely break my heart to have to send her to nursery for those long hours. I would hardly see her. I love every second I get to spend with her. Time goes so quickly and I am very grateful that I get to treasure these moments. Everybody's situation is different though and I understand that.

  • Kerry W.

    My son was just 4 when he started to school, but def ready to go!! Think 7 is too old

  • Hannah451

    In England its all about the government and getting parents back to work asap. Now they have started giving out free 15 hours childcare to some 2 year old children aswell. Soon it will be a case of having to put your child into nursery as soon as maternity leave is over, the way this country is going. 

    Think its too full on in Reception and year 1 at the moment - my daughter started Reception when she was 4.5 years and is now in year one. Reception started off with a mix of play and learning but mostly learning whereas  year 1 is just full on learning - which is too much I think for 5-6 year old children - fair enough we want them to learn but it would be nice if they got to play aswell. Like other people have said, they will spend the rest of their lives working so just give them a break while they are so small.

  • Danni M.

    We have had our application approved in Bournemouth for our summer born child to start school (in reception) at compulsory school age when she will be 5 years and a few weeks old rather than when she's just turned 4. No developmental delay, just that we as parents know her best and feel she deserves another year of just being a child, out of formal education. If it was possible for her to begin her schooling even later, I would wholeheartedly go along with that.

  • Vicky O.

    I hope so :-D I.love seeing my younger children learn and play in there own time at home where they are happy and secure

  • Pauline B.

    Not a chance. Charlie is 4 and starting school in August and neither he nor his nursery pals would benefit from waiting another 2 years to start school

  • Kathryn R.

    What?! And people have to miss out on all those hours and years of free childcare?! :wink:

  • Christine G.

    By the time I was 7 I could read and write and knew most of my tables, loved sums, still do, went to the library with my dad evert Saturday. I had a sister who was 4 years older than me so I was quite lonely at home before school. There was no playgroup or nursery then. It was in the 50s. I think 5 is fine. I moved house to new school when I was 7. That school had lessons in the morning and in the afternoon we did sewing, knitting and our homework. It was great seldom took work home and the teacher was there to help. We didn't do science or maths just lots of arithmetic (s lot of it Mental). We read lots of books and poetry and did spelling every day and grammar. Very structured. I think 5 is fine but no younger. O think talk of raising the age you start school is political. Just think of the money saved on qualified teachers. Children at nursery would be supervised by poorer paid nursery nurses. Thousands of infant teachers would lose their jobs. Bright children would be held back. Then for the parents, mainly the mums who wanted to work it would be harder. Let's face it most working mothers work to pay the bills.

    • Marianne B.

      Have you considered reading the article? It may help you to better understand the proposal.

  • Jo W.

    Scandinavian countries fo it snd it's successful

  • Ian C.

    I disagree. Olly is so bored at nursery now he will thrive at school in Sept, despite only just turning 4. Besides Reception and year 1 are basically nursery settings with advanced free play and structured segments for basics that nursery's already teach.

    • Katie M.

      Unfortunately not anymore. Year one has moved away from play based

    • Marianne B.

      You might find he would be less bored outdoors in an educational environment than sat at a desk for the next 14 years of his life.

    • Emma T.

      My girls go to a school where reception and yr 1 are play based. My eldest is in yr 2 and is in academically thriving, she is 7 and there is NO way she could of waited to until now to start school. She challenges herself and my 5 yr old who is in reception is itching to learn the same things. Us adults started at 4 and there isn't anything wrong with us (most of us! Lol)

  • Gabby E.

    Should be across the whole uk.

  • Becky J.

    I think 7 is far too late for a child to start school but that is my opinion based on having to send my daughter to nursery since she was about 5 months old she is now 5 but started school at 4 because of the cut off point she is doing well but obviously not all children are the same

  • Kath W.

    I held my little boy back until he was 5! But look now we have 2 and 3 year olds in nurseries at school!

  • Laura P.

    My daughter is not 5 until July and has been in full time school since September and she is doing brilliantly for her age. She is a little behind the others on her class but she is the baby of the group and go work hard and keep up with them is amazing. Every day I ask her what she did in school today and every day she replies "just playing and writing" they are not under pressure or sit at a desk, they are learning through play which I think is brilliant, think a lot of parents would loose the plot having kids at home until age 7 :joy:

    • Marianne B.

      There's nothing in the campaign about leaving children at home!!

    • Laura P.

      I never said leave them at home did I? I said having them at home! Duh!

  • Katie M.

    Wow the government have done a great job in brainwashing people haven't they?! How can anyone think sitting at a desk at the age of 5 is the way forward?! Yes your child might be 'ready' to go or might have learnt lots or be bored at home. But by default this doesn't mean that formal schooling is the way forward! They will be in the education system until 18 think how long that is! A comment further down States that their child has learnt x and y and 'why would I hold them back and take that away from them'. I say they would have learnt that anyway either at a later age or in a different setting. How can anyone justify a 5 year old sat at a desk all day because that is the way year one is now with this government. Children are meant to move, meant to explore and discover. Why can't formal schooling start at age 7? Why can't our schools encorporate forest school learning? My son is very very bright but doesn't turn 4 until August. I'm holding back till the year after. Will he be bored? No. Will he be 'held back'? No. Had a a fabulous pre school that spend 99% of the time outside. It's called open ended learning. He will flourish and most of all enjoy himself. He had another 13 years to be sat at a desk

    • Marianne B.

      Fear of change is always a challenge. All this socialisation and incredible high achieving (measured by arbitrary scales) is not evident in the mental and social health of the country. A curious intelligent child (as I believe all children are) has a better chance of thriving in a flexible environment. The idea of doing well on a test or exam equating to success as an adult is absurd.

    • Katie M.

      As a teacher I don't want my child entering the current system. It makes me feel so sad

    • Marianne B.

      I can imagine. It seems to be a matter of ticking boxes and keeping busy, what a shame!

  • Esther L.

    God no! Get them out to school ASAP

  • Maureen H.

    Go for it. Let children be children

  • Tracey Y.

    I think we push children too early and very sad as in education longer and we live longer so no nned to rush. I defered my son by a year as there is a process for that in Scotland so he started primary school at 5 years and 6 months. He was not ready at all the year before and although enjoying school more he still finds it a big committment at 7 as there is homework every week and he loves to play.

    • Wendyf

      I agree! It saddens me, lots of people have been going on about the wonderful academic achievements of their kids but from talking to teachers it often isn't known how these kids fly with their education.

      As much as you want to believe it isn't the school etc, but heaven forbid you have a child that doesn't fly as they will often be stuck with the naughty kids and thrown on the virtual scrap heap at 5. 

  • Michele O.

    My daughter excelled at going to school full time at 3 , but she went knowing the alphabet and counting and reading and so much more as I taught her . But my son went the same and went backwards and he's struggled ever since . No child Is the same and react different to the school environment.

  • Sam B.

    an interesting read!!

  • Lyndsey T.

    I think 7 is to old to start school but personally think they should start at 5 . 4 is to young

  • Louise W.

    I would support this 1000% I think 4 is far too early to start school!

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment