Proposed change in NI school entry age
The Department of Education has announced a consultation on proposed changes to the school entry age in Northern Ireland.
The proposed changes would allow younger children born between April 1 and July 1 to defer the start of primary school by one year.
At the launch of the consultation, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “I am fully committed to introducing greater flexibility in the age of entry to school and I understand that it is This is a real concern for parents of children born later in the school year. I am therefore delighted to announce postponement authorization proposals for the youngest children of the year born between April 1 and July 1.
“Northern Ireland has excellent schools and a popular play-based curriculum in the early years of primary school. The vast majority of children, regardless of their age in their class, thrive in primary school.
“However, some parents believe that starting school soon after their fourth birthday is not good for their very young child. They are concerned about issues such as social skills, emotional preparation, the school day. longer and independence in personal care. “
The Ministry of Education is consulting on proposals to introduce new policy and changes to the law to allow flexibility in the school entry age for the youngest children in the age group. Most children will continue to start primary school at the usual time, however, flexibility would allow these younger children to postpone starting kindergarten and then primary school by one year. These children would then enter nursery school in September following their fourth birthday and primary school in September following their fifth birthday. The flexibility would be available upon parental request and would not involve an educational assessment.
In conclusion, the Minister said: “I encourage as many people as possible to give their views and comments on the consultation proposals in order to shape the final policy proposals and changes to the law on this important issue.”
The consultation on the postponement of the school entry age will take place over a period of eight weeks from 09 November 2021 to 04 January 2022.