Fertile and fruitful frisson: Raising the school starting age in Scotland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Since devolution, the Scottish Government has had powers for education and child family policy (The Scotland Act, 1998) which sit apart from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is the Scottish Government's great strength. This article begins by exposing the Scottish early learning and childcare context across the spectrum of policy, curriculum developments, national improvements and the tensions that can exist when using a parochial lens to understand children's learning. It goes on to share a longstanding concern with the school starting age. In Scotland the school starting age remains the same today as it did in the 19th century. With a single annual intake in August, children in Scotland can begin primary school at anywhere between 4.5 years and 5.5 years. Drawing from my doctoral dissertation Rules, rules, rules and we're not allowed to skip: listening to children's voices about the transition to Primary One (McNair, 2016), I share data from interviews with parents about the age their child started school. This article ends by drawing from the Scottish Government's vision to raise the school starting age to six years old, rendering the earlier age, of 4.5 years, redundant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • curriculum
  • developmental psychology
  • early childhood
  • school starting age
  • scotland national discussion


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