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At what age do children start primary school?

(9 Posts)
Vale Fri 23-Oct-09 08:45:56

At what age do children start primary school in UK?

FlamingoBingo Fri 23-Oct-09 08:46:50

They can start in reception the September after they turn four and they have to start full time education the term after they turn 5.

cory Fri 23-Oct-09 08:59:18

And as many schools only do one intake, in the autumn, that may in practice mean that they have to start at the age of 4.

Vale Fri 23-Oct-09 09:16:05


Here in Italy children start 5 and half or six depending on which month that child is born. I think they should start earlier!

My son turned 3 in march and just started preschool and I got into an argument with the teachers about which age group my child should be.

They would like all children to start school after they turn 6.

Luckily the Italian law allow me to get my child in school the septermber after he turns 5.

linglette Fri 23-Oct-09 09:16:33

yes - it's a disgrace, but yes.

SorciereAnna Fri 23-Oct-09 09:18:58

I think it is very interesting how there seems to be pretty much consensus across Europe as to school leaving age, and the age at which children transfer to secondary school, but that school starting age is still very much under debate.

Vale Fri 23-Oct-09 09:53:53

Yes, In my case it is particularly important because if our family were to go back to England my child would be behind in comparison to the other English kids.

Apparently primary school in Italy is quite tough, children get a lots of homeworks and there is less or none free play time.

They start to learn about letters and writing at preschool, but still for many children is a shock changing from preschool to primary school. That 's why the Italian preschool teacher advise you against school if you child has got the option to stay another year at preschool.

So again I think I prefer the English system, because they start school earlier and they don't get the "shock treatment"!

mumofsatan Sun 25-Oct-09 15:14:48

Very useful thread as I've been wondering about this recently.
We are living abroad at the moment and DD has just turned 3 at the beginning of October. Some of her best friends were 3 in August, and they have all just started in foundation 1 at the school here. I was shocked that they were starting so young as although some are late 3's and nearly 4, quite a few have only just turned 3 which seems far too young.
DD is apparently due to start next September when she will be almost 4 so will be one of the eldest in her class.

We are told that foundation 1 is not compulsory but if they don't do it they are not guaranteed a place in foundation 2/reception hmm

prettybird Sun 25-Oct-09 17:02:01

Depends on whether you are talking about England or Scotland.

In Scotland, children start can be between 4.5 and nearly 6. Cut off is March. They all start sragiht into P1 (English equivalent of Recpetion). There is no option to "skip" Reception (as in England), but there is an option, if your child is not yet 5 when term starts in August to defer unitl the following year - so instead of being the youngest in the year, the child will be the oldest in the year.

In practice, it tends to be just the January or Febraury kids (espcially boys) who defer entry.

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