to delay starting their child at school, if that child is not yet developmentally ready.
A petition presented to Parliament by MLC Ruth Forrest on October 1st
this year requesting some
flexibility with regard to school entry age for children born late in the year to enable some children
to start school a year later, has received a favourable response from Government. This response is
Steve Biddulph, psychologist and author of the bestseller ‘Raising Boys’, sponsored the petition
after he was approached by distressed parents. He believes many children benefit from delaying
“Allowing parents some leeway in school starting, especially for boys, and children born later in the
year, is now seen as best practice. Worldwide studies find that children who are young or immature
for their year tend to fair poorly right throughout school” Mr Biddulph stated. “The calendar is a
very poor guide to school readiness and each child needs to be looked at individually. A boy born
late in the year may be developmentally as much as 18 months behind a girl in the same class. We
know boys are slower to acquire fine motor and language skills, which leads to a feeling of failure
and dislike of school. Even sporting ability is affected. Sometimes another year in pre-school can
make a lifetime of difference” added Mr Biddulph.
“Whilst the current Education Act does provide for a degree of flexibility in this area, in practice
this is not being supported in all schools” Ms Forrest stated.
“Some parents wishing to delay the commencement of formal schooling for a year, in the best
interests of their child, were finding this flexibility lacking and had received advice inconsistent with
the Act” Ms Forrest said.
The Premier also wrote to Ms Forrest outlining measures that would now be taken to ensure parents
of young children are aware that there is flexibility surrounding this important decision.
RUTH FORREST MLC RUTH FORREST MLC RUTH FORREST MLC RUTH FORREST MLC
PO BOX 104, WYNYARD TAS 7325 PO BOX 104, WYNYARD TAS 7325 PO BOX 104, WYNYARD TAS 7325 PO BOX 104, WYNYARD TAS 7325 TEL: 03 6443 8600 FAX: 03 6443 8603 TEL: 03 6443 8600 FAX: 03 6443 8603 TEL: 03 6443 8600 FAX: 03 6443 8603 TEL: 03 6443 8600 FAX: 03 6443 8603 “The Premier has committed to clarifying the matter with all Learning Services General Managers,
who will ensure that all school principals are aware of their obligations and requirements under the
Act” Ms Forrest said.
“Furthermore, the Admissions Policy page of the Education Department website will be redeveloped
to provide more explicit information about options for parents and children with regard to school
entry age” Ms Forrest said.
Following pressure from parents and education experts, Tasmanian parents will be more easily able