Formal school starting age could be raised to six in Scotland

Children would start school later while a play-based kindergarten stage would be introduced under the proposals.

Formal school start age in Scotland could be raised to six following SNP vote in Aberdeen iStock

A call to raise the formal school starting age to six has been backed by SNP members in Aberdeen.

The move would see children entering their first year of school later, while a new play-based kindergarten stage would be introduced.

Currently, kids aged four and five move from nursery into schools.

However, campaigners have made the case that learning through play at a young age can help with their development.

In doing so, particularly outdoors, youngsters are able to grow their spoken language and social skills, they suggest.

Advocates of raising the school start age in Scotland have pointed to European nations where children mainly start later than they do in the UK.

In Finland, children don’t start school until they are seven years old.

At the SNP’s conference in Aberdeen on Monday, delegates voted overwhelmingly on a resolution seeking to raise the age.

It called on the Scottish Government to introduced a “statutory play-based kindergarten stage” for three to six-year-olds, similar to early years education in Nordic countries.

“This will provide a true level playing field for all of Scotland’s children, giving every child time to develop the skills and capacities that underpin education success, improve long-term outcomes and give every child the best start in life,” the resolution stated.

It went on to add that the option should remain open to the Scottish Government to transition to a starting age of seven if the evidence gathered warrants a further change.

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