A UK mum has caused a stir after revealing why she’s not sending her four-year-old son to school.

The young boy was due to start school two weeks ago, but his 38-year-old mum, Emma, made the decision to delay his start date until the following year.

Stanley was born in the month of June, making him one of the youngest in the school year in the UK, shares Yahoo news.

His parents believe it’s in Stanley’s best interests to put off starting school next year, once he is five and therefore of compulsory school age (CSA).

In her blog, Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs, Emma explains the family’s reasons for not sending Stanley to school this year, describing the confusion some parents have expressed after learning about their decision.

“We have decided not to send Stanley to school this year. Instead, he will be starting next September when he is five,” she begins her blog.

“For the extra year he will be attending preschool part time, playing, bonding with his brothers, playing, exploring, enjoying days out, playing, growing and developing at his own pace.”

Some of the questions the mum has been asked include whether Stanley has special needs, whether she is doing it because she can’t bear to let him go and whether her decision was because he didn’t get into his first choice of school, as he did.

Responding to the questions Emma wrote,

No, Stanley does not have any special educational needs.
No, we haven’t ‘held him back’ because he was struggling at preschool.
No, it’s not that we can’t bear to let him go, and I want to keep him a baby.
No, we aren’t doing it for ourselves and not thinking about what’s best for him.
No, we’ve not thrown our dummy out because he didn’t a place at our first choice of school this year…HE DID!!
No, we’ve not done what’s easiest for us. (Far bloody from it….but we’ll come to that later)

“The plain fact is…he’s 4,” she writes. “We’ve simply chosen not to send him to school EARLY, we are sending him at school age which if you go back a generation was the absolute norm.

“I personally believe that in the UK all children start school too early and that we’d be better off following our European neighbours whose children start school at aged 7 when they are emotionally and physically ready…but that’s just my personal opinion.”

She added, “I think an extra year of being a child with no responsibility or pressure can only be a good thing.”

Emma wanted to write the blog to let other parents know it is possible to prevent your child from starting school at the age of four, should they feel it is right for them.

Share your comments below

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  • I think this is probably quite a sensible idea.


  • Four is definitely too young to start mainstream school (unless your child is so gifted). What a parent does is for the benefit of the child and to me even 5 is too young. If he turned 5 by February then that would be different. This blog proves that you should always find out all the facts first before commenting about the subject.


  • It should be up to the parents to decide when a child goes to school.


  • my son has done an extra year of kindergarten for the same reason


  • I wish I had been this brace. I don’t think my son was ready to start school when he did. Yet my daughter could easily have started earlier


  • I believe in doing what is best for the child. It wasn’t an issue with my boys because of their birthdays and they have both grown up into wonderful men.


  • I’m not aware of the UK rules but I know in Australia the school starting age differs from state to state. Our cut off in Victoria is April 30 and my son started school aged 4, turning 5 that April. Do I regret it? No. Did we liaise with his preschool teacher etc and think exhaustively over the pros and cons? Yes. He has just finished Year 12 as a 17 year old whilst all his mates have or are turning 18 – drinking, driving, etc. Has this been challenging? Absolutely. But it is our responsibility as parents to manage what’s best for our son.


  • This is such a common thing and lots of people commented to us about why we wouldn’t start our little one in kindy or school as soon as we could. Kids should be allowed to be kids for as long as possible before school, spending quality time with parents/siblings in my opinion. Our little one is super bright but I want our kids to be a little bit more mature before they handle the stresses of school/working and adult life. Each to their own but they still end up learning the same things and spending the same amount of time at school…


  • I don’t understand why she is even discussing this and MOM are posting it, seems quite a normal thing, lot of people keep their kids back a year, my son’s birthday is January and he did not start kinder until 5, 4 just seemed to young at the time ( that was 2nd year kinder not the 1st year).


  • Good on her for advocating for what is right for her child.


  • If you feel that’s the right choice for your child then do it. Everyone is different and learns at a different rate. I am sure he will be just fine!


  • Wish I had kept my youngest back the extra six months. It would have done a world of good.


  • In SA they have to be 5 years old….or 5 y.o. by a certain date to start school that year. If children start school too soon, sometimes they are not mature enough to cope with the changes and learning skills. I know a girl who started school this yea. Her birthday was just before the cut off date. We are surprised that she is struggling and has been put in a special class part way through the year. As there are a few other pupils that were also transferred she just thinks she’s got a new teacher she doesn’t like.


  • Sounds perfect to me. I find kids are starting formal education too young. Childhood is being shortened because from school they go to work until they either retire or die. Very few years are focussed on just being a carefree child. My twins are three and I have every intention of staring them at school as late as possible.
    I personally repeated year 6, not because I wasn’t doing well (I was an A student), but i was emotionally immature and not ready for high school. This did prove to be a good decision but at the time I hated it. I definitely recommend starting later rather than start too early to be truly ready


  • Seems sensible to me.


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