The last couple of weeks has seen social media feeds awash with children of reception age posing in their oversized uniforms as they start school.
But Stanley Hutchinson wasn’t among them.
The four-year-old was due to start school two weeks ago, but his mum, Emma, 38, made the decision to delay his start date until the following year.
Stanley was born in the month of June, making him one of the youngest in the school year.
And while he does not have any additional needs, his parents believe it is in Stanley’s best interests to put off starting school next year, once he is five and therefore of compulsory school age (CSA).
In her blog, Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs, Emma explains the family’s reasons for not sending Stanley to school this year, describing the confusion some parents have expressed after learning about their decision.
“We have decided not to send Stanley to school this year. Instead, he will be starting next September when he is five,” she begins her blog.
“For the extra year he will be attending preschool part time, playing, bonding with his brothers, playing, exploring, enjoying days out, playing, growing and developing at his own pace.”
Some of the questions the mum has been asked include whether Stanley has special needs, whether she is doing it because she can’t bear to let him go and whether her decision was because he didn’t get into his first choice of school, as he did.
“The plain fact is…he’s 4,” she writes. “We’ve simply chosen not to send him to school EARLY, we are sending him at school age which if you go back a generation was the absolute norm.
“I personally believe that in the UK all children start school too early and that we’d be better off following our European neighbours whose children start school at aged 7 when they are emotionally and physically ready…but that’s just my personal opinion.”
Emma, from Hull, wanted to write the blog to let other parents know it is possible to prevent your child from starting school at the age of four, should they feel it is right for them.
According to the School Admissions Code children usually start school in the September after they turn 4 but parents of children born between 1 April and 31 August, also known as “summer-born” children, can ask to delay entry to reception for a year.
Some schools will accept a deferral and allow a child to start in Reception the following year, whilst some schools will only allow children a deferred entry if they start in Year One in the following year.
The Hutchinson family certainly aren’t the only ones opting to defer their child’s schooling until they are of compulsory age.
A recent survey of local authorities revealed that the number of requests for delayed school entry increased significantly between 2015 and 2017.
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