SNP backs motion to increase school start age

Members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) have backed a motion to increase the age of children starting school to six years old.

The motion was passed “overwhelmingly” at the party conference this week, where the party’s policy convenor, Tony Guigliano, also proposed introducing a “statutory play-based kindergarten stage for three to six-year-olds”.

General Secretary of Scotland’s largest teaching union, The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Andrea Bradley commented afterwards that a “statutory kindergarten stage would need careful handling”.

“Three-to-five-year-olds should have access to qualified teachers and this shouldn’t be about saving money,” she added.

As previously reported by Scotland4kids the policy proposal called on the Scottish government to introduce a statutory kindergarten stage “similar to early years’ education in Nordic countries”.

Mr Guigliano said: “The question is whether primary one sits with formal education or whether it sits with early years’ education. And if you listen to early years’ experts, parents, teachers, they are very clear that no four or five-year-old should be subjected to the pressures of the formal school system.”

Ahead of the SNP conference, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government said it does “not have plans to change the school age”.

“It is welcome that there is an active debate on these issues and all such contributions will form as part of the national discussion on education,” added the spokesperson.

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