Start school aged 6 or 7

(42 Posts)
strokey Wed 11-Sep-13 23:09:32

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10302249/Start-schooling-later-than-age-five-say-experts.html#dsq-comments

I am THRILLED to read this. Mine are due back on the 23rd and Ive been feeling really torn about my 5 year old going into year 1 as he didn't go to reception, but 5 is the compulsory school age.

This has made up my mind to register him as home educated.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 12-Sep-13 07:00:38

So you're registering him as home educated but you won't actually be educating him? hmm

Flossiechops Thu 12-Sep-13 07:05:24

Completely disagree - my dc school has a learning is fun ethos and I can honestly say that I do not think they have suffered any long term damage by starting school at 4 (dd was a wk off her 5th birthday as a September baby). What about working parents who can't keep their dc at home - these children will end spending longer in day nurseries/ with childminders anyway!

meditrina Thu 12-Sep-13 07:05:25

Note that it says "formal" schooling, which only begins now in year 1 (5/6 year olds) anyhow.

The article does not mention EYFS (other than to criticise proposals to change some of the assessment within it) and does not make it clear that the EYFS is essentially a kindergarten stage - something which also exists in Scandinavia.

chickensaladagain Thu 12-Sep-13 07:09:09

The problem with school start age is there is no one size fits all

My dds were both more than ready to start school and formal learning at 4 but my friend's little boy really struggled probably for the first couple of years and it only fell into place as he started ks2

meditrina Thu 12-Sep-13 07:16:50

The Swedish curriculum starts for 1 year olds, BTW, and includes maths and numeracy targets. It's called preschool, until primary starts at 7 years old. They just describe infants schools as 'not at school' and have one extra year when attendance remains optional. But there is a high take up rate; so children start education outside the home (whether you call it school or not) just as young or even younger than in Britain.

working9while5 Thu 12-Sep-13 07:20:35

Love Gove's comments hmm. It is all just nonsense. No evidence that promoting three Rs so early will make any positive long term difference. He has such Victorian attitudes.

takeaway2 Thu 12-Sep-13 07:25:46

I agree with the previous posters who say that the kids will still be with a child minder or nursery till 7 for those of us who are full time working parents. My son is 5 and is in year 1 this year. He's really enjoyed reception and so far year 1 has been great. He's learnt to read to a level of a year 2 apparently and absolutely loves maths and science.

The point made by others which was excluded from the article is also v significant. Other countries cited have a kindergarten stage and these kids are learning to read and write then. In Singapore for example which is constantly brought up in comparison... Kids go to kindergarten from 3... And granted it is for 4 hours or so. But parents then pay for what they call extra curriculum stuff like dance, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese lessons, math enrichment etcetc.

It is perhaps young but the EYFS curriculum is very much play orientated and so I don't see it any different from the notion of kindy.

meditrina Thu 12-Sep-13 07:26:15

Have you read the Swedish early years curriculum? Britain is not alone in introducing 3 Rs "early", and the Early Years curriculum isn't a Gove initiative (introduced by Labour).

I know it's a knee-jery to "blame Gove" for anything and everything here (huge amounts of astroturfing, and often oddly harmonised with similar posts on other websites). But it's surely wrong to do so for things the previous administration did?

working9while5 Thu 12-Sep-13 07:28:29

Meditrina the Swedish curriculum is goal oriented vs target oriented with an emphasis on values, themes and play and not formal assessment of children. It is so different in philosophy and ethos to what Gove is suggesting it seems crazy that the word 'curriculum' can even apply to both. Chalk and cheese.

Tanith Thu 12-Sep-13 07:29:23

The British curriculum starts from birth and is called the EYFS. It includes children in the reception year. My DD started last week - she was 4 in August, is the smallest child in the school and is petted by the big girls in Y2 (which she appears to be taking in her stride smile)

She's OK. There are other children in her class who are already having problems. I know my DS would not have coped at the same age. He definitely struggled badly in Y1, not because he isn't academic but because he just wasn't ready socially or emotionally.

I see there are plans being made to lower the school age even further. Liz Truss's proposals include starting 2 year olds in schools. They have already canvassed for interested parties in bringing this about.

Meglet Thu 12-Sep-13 07:31:07

After 4yrs of 'learning through play' at nursery my dc's were more than ready for school. DS only really cheered up when the reception playing stopped and the formal learning began. Delaying more formal education would have made him (and me) miserable.

Wishihadabs Thu 12-Sep-13 07:34:10

Strokey are you planning to he completely or until 11 ? If not I would think very carefully about what you are planning....how is your Ds going to integrate at year 2, when they can all read and write and will be working towards SATs.

meditrina Thu 12-Sep-13 07:37:06

I know that. The newspaper article is all about having a pop at assessment measures. It's not about when "school" starts, and I was trying to make that clear (and thanks Tanith for doing so rather better than I did).

strokey Thu 12-Sep-13 10:38:49

Wish - No Ill only keep him home until he is 6 or 7. Ill see how he is next year.

I don't know about SG but in Denmark although they are all in nursery from a few months old there is no reading or writing (at least) until aged 7. My husband is Danish and we lived there until a few years ago. They might do counting, but not sit down at a desk learning.

We were shown round the school the other day and all the Yr 1s (where my ds would've started) were sat at desks wearing uniforms. Just felt so premature.

All kids are different though, I know there are some girls in particular who ask for "school work" before they start. And ask how do you spell such and such. My ds has no interest at all, its not for him. Yet.

Dunno what to do with him though.. Im having number 3 in December and don't want him bored at home. I like the idea of Steiner schools, but I got involved with that with my first and found the parents to be quite mad. Mostly tree huggers and vegans and rather extreme in the hatred of TV and plastic toys. Oh and shouting.

Oh as for home educating the law is that you "must provide an education suitable for their age and ability" DOES NOT have to include reading, writing or numeracy. Lots of people purposely AVOID those things. An education can involve bread baking and nature rambles apparently!

ivykaty44 Thu 12-Sep-13 13:06:20

Gove has though said that the 127 experts are misguided, what is Gove expert at, in fact what are his qualifications on education?

I do agree that formal teaching should start later and children should be allowed to play and learn at the same time.

TheHammaconda Thu 12-Sep-13 13:58:08

I thought Gove wanted to model the English and Welsh education systems on the Finnish system where they start school at, er, 7.

Love the consistent approach taken by the DofE.

insideoutsider Thu 12-Sep-13 19:50:15

Gosh. By age 7, I expect my kids to be able to read proper books and write proper letters and add up proper money like I did at their age. When mine went to reception at age 4, they were more than ready for it - as well as most kids in their class.

IMO, asking children to play till they are 'ready' at 7 is so unfair to them.

Pixel Thu 12-Sep-13 23:13:06

Me too insideoutsider. Seven seems awfully old to not be able to read fluently. They should know the joys of getting stuck into a good book by then.

ivykaty44 Fri 13-Sep-13 19:05:15

So if it means that starting formal education at 4 years old has a detrimental effect on their later education and holds them back rather than propelling them forward, why would that be unfair?

If children that start formal education later are doing consistently better at the end of their education why would that be?

bugster Fri 13-Sep-13 19:25:41

inside and pixel I used to think as you do. I live in Switzerland, the children were born here, and school starts at 6 or 7, depending on when in the year their birthday is. Before school they go to kindergarten which does involve some learning aims but they are about social and emotional development and pre-reading skills, not actually reading. Having been to school in England from just 4 I thought the Swiss approach was crazy at first but having experienced it with my children I think it's good. My older daughter would have been ready to start formal learning at 4 or 5 but delaying that for 2 years was no problem for her, she had fun doing other things. When she started school it was incredible how quickly she started reading books, compared with what seems to be a long and laborious process in England as far as I can make out.

My younger daughter is in kindergarten and loves playing, formal learning at 4 would definitely not have been for her.

Pixel Fri 13-Sep-13 22:44:34

Well, maybe you are right about 'laborious' but do you think that could be the teaching methods rather than anything to do with the age they start? My sister and I could both read before we went to school and so could my dd who started at 4.5. There were no 'lessons' just plenty of exposure to books and reading (my mum got me my own library ticket at 2 to stop me being upset cos I wanted hers and I just carried it on with dd smile) and it seemed to come very naturally. I don't see how I could have stopped her learning until the age of seven without a book-ban!
I know children learn at a different pace and not all of them find reading easy but I still can't see how they can get to seven and be completely ignorant of the basics, so surely when they start school they would all be at different stages? Wouldn't that make it harder for the teachers?

insideoutsider Sat 14-Sep-13 19:20:59

I think it works well in other countries because they have a better educational structure that works in the later stages. If the UK changes early education, everything later - from age 7 till 18 and beyond would have to be overhauled to achieve the same results as those other countries.

MsMarple Sun 15-Sep-13 21:59:42

Just from personal experience, I think formal learning introduced too soon can be damaging. My son had a great time in reception - he thought he played all day, but somehow learnt to read pretty well, and lots about space/dinosaurs/farms etc too. Now after a few weeks in year 1 he doesn't want to go to there anymore, and is resistant to things he associates with learning and school. So, whereas in the holidays he was often writing bits and pieces (of his own volition) now he tells me he doesn't like writing and wouldn't even do a birthday card when I asked. I wish they could continue the early years approach into year 1, and 2. From what I see they do learn things, and also get to play creatively and have fun.

It makes me a bit sad to think that some 5 or 6 year olds could be bored of playing!

cory Mon 16-Sep-13 08:40:50

When I started school in Sweden at nearly 7, we did start by learning the alphabet. Of course a couple of us had already taught ourselves to read before then: in a literate society you can't stop someone who really wants to.

However, I do not think even the children who hadn't done this, even the very gifted ones, had spent the preceding 6/7 years being frustrated or unhappy because they "weren't learning". The way we saw it, reading books was one (albeit very enjoyable) part of all the learning you were supposed to do when you grew up. There were so many other fascinating things you had to learn too; and they were all valued by the society we lived in.

As a 7yo I was also expected to know:

how to bake a cake without help

how to do basic sewing and embroidery

how to do woodwork and basic carpentering, using a hammer and saw

how to swim and understand about basic life-saving

how to fish and gut a fish

how to keep safe in the woods and what to do if lost

how to ski and skate

how to fix lunch

how to do basic foraging and bring back berries for jam making

how to recognise plants and herbs around our house and know which ones were edible, which were poisonous and which were protected

how to prepare a wall or other structure for painting and how to paint

how to do basic gardening

My db who was more into technical things also had a good grasp of basic electrics and mechanics by this age, fixing domestic appliances around the house.

If any DIY was being done about the house, I would be expected to join in; I helped out in the kitchen; I even did some of the laundry.

Of course some of these things were dependent on where we lived, but most of them (baking, using hammer and saw) are the kind of things that could go on in any household, however urban; they were the things that grown-ups did and that made you feel grown-up.

The British system, it seems to me, rests equally on the (reasonable) assumption that learning to read English will take longer than learning to read a phonetic language and the (unreasonable) assumption that all the learning children can profitably do comes out of books.

A child who thinks he isn't learning if he is cooking family supper but only if he is doing worksheets has got that idea from somewhere.

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