Live on the radio today parents were encouraged to discuss whether younger children should be allowed to delay starting school by a year.
Although most children start school in the September after turning four, they are not obliged to be in education until they are of Compulsory School Age. This is a set point in the year following their fifth birthday.
- Children who turn five between 1 September and 31 December reach Compulsory School Age on 31 December.
- Children who turn five between 1 January and 31 March reach Compulsory School Age on 31 March.
- Children who turn five between 1 April and 31 August reach Compulsory School Age on 31 August.
This means that ‘summer born’ children – those born between 1 April and 31 August – don’t have to start school until a full year after they could have been admitted.
A consultation has begun in Ireland on whether a law should be introduced to allow some children to defer starting primary school for a year. But will this put our children further behind on the world education league table?
Most children in Northern Ireland start school in the September of the school year after their fourth birthday.
However children whose birthdays fall between 2 July and 31 August usually start in the September after their fifth birthday.
NI has one of the youngest primary school starting ages in Europe.
It means children can start primary school from ages ranging from four years two months to over five years old.
The proposals would allow more flexibility in the school starting age for children born between 1 April and 1 July.
The Department of Education, which is holding the consultation, is also seeking views on how making the starting age more flexible could impact pre-school provision for deferred children.
What do you think?