Any parent who asks for “deferred entry” to P1 (Hugh Reilly, Perspective, 30 August) should be granted it. It is by far the most sensible choice in the child’s interest.
Most nations have six or seven as the starting age for school. By this age all children have reached “reading readiness” (many can read). Learning to read takes about six weeks at this stage.
In our system pupils who are not “ready” because they are younger, less mature or slower developers will struggle and fail in the earliest stages, and never recover.
This blights the rest of their education, and possibly life.
As a secondary teacher I was very aware of younger pupils in S4 who did not do well in their Standard grades, were too young to leave school, and there were “Christmas leavers” which was rarely satisfactory.
Most of these pupils would have done much better starting school aged “five-past” – as used to be the case.
Their results would have been better, they could leave in the summer (they have completed the statutory sessions anyway) and would go out into the world better prepared and more confident in themselves.
Any means should be taken to avoid early failure, with its serious and permanent consequences.
Children should start school as late as possible to ensure they are as ready as possible.
So deferred entry to P1 should always be granted if asked for, and also recommended where appropriate.
Susan FG Forde