If you're the parent of a summer baby, it might have crossed your mind that your little one could well be the youngest in their class, and might well be starting school within weeks of turning four years old. (That's if you live in England, as far as I understand it - it seems things are different in Scotland, and possibly thus also in other parts of the UK.)
But leaving aside the finer details for a moment, the whole question of when a child should start school has been brought into the headlines by a Staffordshire mum, who is taking on her local council over when her four-year-old daughter must start school, and in which class she should begin.
ITV News reports:
The parents of a four-year-old girl from Staffordshire who have delayed her starting school by a year are now at the centre of a row with council bosses.
Olivia Dutton was born in August and guidance, updated last year by the Department for Education, allows children with birthdays between April 1 and August 31 to start reception either part-time when they are four, or delay their start until the September after they have turned five.
However, although many schools and local authorities are allowing summer-born children to be admitted a year later, they are demanding that they go straight to Year 1 – skipping the reception class all together.
It seems that Olivia's parents would prefer her not to go straight to Year 1 when she does start school, arguing that this will effectively mean that she misses out on a year of her education.
We'd love to hear your views on this - it's something the Playpennies team has hotly debated this afternoon, and we're not all in agreement on the right age for a child to start school.
Some of us are of the view that our own little ones were more than ready for school at the age of four, while others on the team feel that six or even seven is a more appropriate age for a child to start school, based on neuroscience and various pieces of research suggesting that starting school too soon could have a deleterious effect on children. (Check out the Too Much Too Soon campaign for more information on that.)
As one of the team has also pointed out, determining the age at which a child starts school based on their birth date could also mean that babies who are born premature may be at a disadvantage compared to their peers.
Currently schools should consider any application for a child's place at school to be deferred on a case-by-case basis, taking into account whether key developmental factors may affect whether or not a child is ready to start school at four years old.
And while it's not clear what effect Olivia's parents' case might have more widely on when children are expected to start school, it's thought that the outcome could set a precedent, paving the way for other parents to demand that their child's school start be deferred, too, without that meaning that they'll miss a year.
So, what's your view? We'd love to hear it over on our Facebook page.