De facto lowering of the school starting age

28th March 1997 at 00:00
There will be a de facto lowering of the school starting age unless there is an immediate review of the age at which children enter early years and primary provision, according to the chairman of the all-party Commons committee on education and employment.

In this week's TES, Sir Malcolm Thornton MP, says that too many young four-year-olds are entering school reception classes, as heads look to attract nursery vouchers.

Sir Malcolm, whose committee has recently completed an investigation of the nursery vouchers scheme, argues that private nurseries and school reception classes must compete on equal terms if nursery education is to expand.

As things stand, private nurseries must have one member of staff for every eight three or four-year-olds, whole school reception classes can have 35 pupils.

OPINION, PAGE 16

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