Deciding on when to start your child at school is a massive decision. But one you no longer need to make if you want your child to go to this school.

From 2019, this private school in Sydney will only accept boys who turn five by January 31, the beginning of the school year.

“We looked carefully at international research, and it consistently shows there is no advantage to children starting ‘formal’ lessons before they are five,” said the headmaster of Newington, Dr David Mulford.

“Rather, there is much evidence that suggests educational play … has much more beneficial outcomes. It encourages curiosity, self-direction and the sheer enjoyment of finding out more about whatever might catch the child’s interest.”

“By ensuring boys are five-years-old when they start at our prep school, we know they have developed sufficient social skills and emotional resilience to thrive in a broad, interesting, stimulating learning environment.”

In NSW’s public school system, a child can begin kindy if they turn five before July 31.

Do you think this should be something put into place at all schools?

Share your comments below

  • In SA the cut off date is 30th April. Some of those whose birthdays are close to that are definitely not ready for school even if the have been to a good childcare centre and pre-school. One I know is still struggling with communication and has been placed in a special class this year (in year 1).


  • We only have 4yr old kindergarten here so I would not want my child starting til 5 or 6.


  • I think its a good idea to give the children time to be ready. I know some are ready earlier but how can the school accept some and not others.


  • It also depends on how mature the child is.


  • Good. Even if s parent feels the kid is ready to go, there is no harm in waiting. Being that young and attending school gives only a disadvantage in most cases.. I think the exception is where there are older siblings.


  • The problem is that some children mature earlier so there needs to be some exceptions. Is this a boys only school? Just that it says boys will only be able to start school if they turn 5 before January 31.


  • I get the idea but there will be children turning 5 on February 1 that will be very ready for school and driving everyone up the wall by the end of the year. Most people don’t send their kids born in May onwards to school until after they’re 5 but the July rule just allows for the exceptions who are ready.


  • If there is a compusory starting age for kids in public schools, why don’t private schools have to follow the same rules?


  • I think choice too, my 3 daughters went to school at age 4 turning 5 in February and they were ready

    • I don’t think it should be put into place with all schools


  • I think it needs to be a choice. I decided that my kids don’t start school till they were 5. Saying that, I think my eldest would have benefited to going that year before, when she was 4 turning 5.


  • I just think there needs to be consistency. My son was 4 starting prep, turning 5 in the April. We had to make a choice and it was really hard. We did not make the decision lightly. Let’s remove all the grey areas and just make it a standard and national rule. Your child MUST be 5 by December 31 of the previous year to start school. Simple! Not hard! They’re the rules! Follow them! I wish someone could be strong enough to implement this and then many families would not have the struggle and angst. My son is about to complete Year 12 and this issue is still raising its ugly head. Do something.


  • As a junior primary teacher I agree. Not turning 5 until May makes such a difference to a child in their first year at school. In general they are so much younger than their peers and often the gap shows up learning wise until they are a bit older. Children need to be school ready emotionally before starting.


  • Not a bad idea, thanks for sharing.


  • My son was born on the 12 of February, he only turned 3 this year but we already know he will be ready to go to school when he turns 5. Based on this he wouldn’t be able to be enrolled or attend. Good job he’s not going to private school.


  • Yeah, I would be ok with that. My eldest 2 were both 5 turning 6yr when starting kindy, my third was 4 turning 5yr in Feb and my youngest will be 5 turning 6yr as well (although with the delay she has, that will be even early).


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