28 April 2008
The changes to the transfer system may result in children starting school when they are slightly older.
At present, the starting date is governed by the age at which pupils sit the 11-plus. If they are to attend primary school - rather than be home educated - children must enter the first year when they are four-years-old. Some children have to start school just weeks after their fourth birthday. The abolishment of the 11-plus will mean this is no longer relevant.
Education Minister Caitríona Ruane is in favour of raising the school starting age.
Parent Siobhan Howard-Slane has a daughter who will turn four a number of weeks before starting school. She is refusing to send her child to school and has been in contact with the Education Minister.
Siobhan, who intends to send her daughter to school at the age of five, said: “Children should not start their formal schooling before five. Anything under that is too young. The situation is ludicrous.
“It is unfair to a child born in June who is being compelled to start with children that are 11 months older.”
In Britain, children must start school when they are five. In the Republic, children must start school when they are six, although they can attend at an earlier age.