Experts call for a national standard school starting age for our children.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies tracked 5,000 children born in 1999 and 2000 in a national study, and the results found one in six children across the country are being held back from starting school as soon as they are able to.
Kathy Walker an education consultant from Early Life Foundations says parents are concerned about their child’s readiness for school. She is pushing for a minimum start age of five years.
“I’ve been talking, writing and researching about readiness for school for about 25 years and I have to tell you it’s one of the most provocative, anxiety-making issues,” she said.
Meanwhile Professor Helen McGrath from Deakin University’s School of Education said that starting younger could actually be an advantage.
“Children who do better in years seven, eight, nine and 10 across the board are those who are actually young when they start school at the younger end of the age eligible range,” Professor McGrath said.
“This may be because they’re like younger siblings in families, more motivated to keep up with the other kids who are older than them, or it may be that they simply have the advantage of learning from the older students.”
In South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, children must turn five by the end of June; in Victoria and the ACT the cut-off date is at the end of April; while in Tasmania it is January 1.
Do you think there needs to be a shake up with our schools? What age do you think our little ones should head off to school? Share your thoughts below.