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Allow parents freedom to decide when their children start school, aged 4 or 5

Comment 7th July 2010

All parents should be given the freedom to choose when their children start school between the ages of 4 and 5 either full time or part time for a set period. At present schools and LEAs have widely differing policies which can prevent parents from deciding the most appropriate age at which their children start school. This idea should accompanied by a guarantee of a place being held for the child, if the parents choose to delay their start. At the same time schools should not be financially penalised where this occurs.             

Why does this matter?

Children are all diffferent! Children differ widely in their abilities and early development. Parents (NOT schools or LEAs) are best able to judge when their children are ready to start school.  It allows them to consider their childrens needs, their previous experience in nursery and pre-school, and their family arrangements. Giving parents this choice can help to ensure their children enjoy and fully benefit from school – rather than being a source of great anxiety for both parents and children where they are forced to start too early, or conversely where a childs learning and development is hindered because they are prevented from starting when they are ready.             

   

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