Department of Education publishes booklet on school starting age

Thu, 29/10/2015 - 14:13 -- Editor

New guidance on school starting age is now available for parents in the form of a booklet, ‘School Starting Age – A Guide for Parents.’

The booklet is available through the Education Authority website at and DE website at 

Following a consultation on deferral of school starting age in exceptional circumstances, Education Minister John O’Dowd agreed to commission guidance for parents on the issue.

The guide includes information on the legislation that determines compulsory school age, the process of securing a Year 1 place, making your own arrangements to educate your child of compulsory school age and advice on what to do if you have concerns about your child settling into primary school.

Commenting on the new guidance, Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “Today’s guidance is the first step-forward in seeking to clarify what is a very important issue for a number of parents. I have already made clear that while it is not possible for me to take forward legislation on this issue at this time, I understand the concerns which a small number of parents have expressed. This new guidance explains the issues that we, as parents, all need to consider as our children approach school starting age. For some parents of children who are born towards the latter end of the academic year, this can be a particularly stressful period.

“Primary schools are ideally placed to provide support to children with a range of needs and I would strongly advise parents to discuss any concerns they may have about their child’s readiness to start school with the Principal of the school they intended applying to.”