When growing numbers of parents are fighting for the right to ensure that their 4 year-old children have full access to a full primary school education when they reach compulsory school age (i.e. the term following their 5th birthday), instead of being forced to miss a whole academic year and enter school in Year 1, it’s troubling to read persistent suggestions for children to begin their education even earlier.
It was the flexibility and choice for parents to enrol their children prior to compulsory school age – at age 4 – that effectively led to the loss of flexibility and choice for parents who want their children to wait.
So perhaps unsurprisingly, the ‘offer’ or ‘opportunity’ for an even younger start to just ‘some’ children’s education is deeply concerning for many.
In The Independent today, “Children should start school at two, says chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw“, which echoes the February 2014 Guardian report, “Schools should open doors to two-year-olds, says minister… Childcare minister Liz Truss also recommends the extension of nurseries’ opening hours.”
Yet for many years now, Early Education professionals have been highly critical of the age at which British children access a formal education; and it’s not just the school age start, but what children are expected to do once they’re in school. Today is no different, as these responses show:
Sally Goddard Blythe, Consultant in Neuro-Developmental Education
Ofsted. Children starting school at 2
Dr Richard House, University of Winchester
‘Protect childhood from ‘adultifying’ education policy’ (The Telegraph)