An exploration of school readiness, school starting age and the implications of them for children aged four to five.

Rozier, Claudia (2016) An exploration of school readiness, school starting age and the implications of them for children aged four to five. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    School readiness and school starting age have become highly debated issues in recent years, particularly in England, where children are entered into formal education at an unusually young age. Therefore, it is important to examine the two conflicting sides of this debate; those who favour an early start to school and those who question how appropriate formal education is for young children. Thus, this dissertation unearths the deep-rooted and long standing beliefs that have significant implications for current policy and practice.
    Through international comparison, the validity of England’s current school starting age is discussed. Within this, Finland is used as an example of a contrasting system, due to its much higher starting age and vastly different early curriculum. This comparison brings to light the notion that starting age may, in fact, be less crucial to development and outcomes than curricula. Following this, the policy and practice that affects children entering school is discussed. In doing so, the origin of the current school starting age is found to have no developmental reasoning, but rather stem purely from economic utility. Economically-driven education is found to have persisted throughout the past century, despite the increasing support for social pedagogic approaches within research. As such, the social and emotional side of school readiness is then explored. In this, the literature shows the need for a multi-faceted approach to readiness and the lack of this in the current policy is discussed. Indeed, the lack of emphasis for social and emotional development in the EYFS forms an ongoing discussion including the erosion of play therein. Finally, this dissertation concludes that school starting age is only one factor in the successes and failures of school entry, with the need for an evidence-based, holistic curriculum which utilises play being of far greater importance for young children.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Education and Childhood Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 11:26
    Last Modified: 03 Aug 2016 11:26

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