Laura Bratley


In England school readiness, has been a frequent topic of debate since the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988. Although official guidance from the Government dictates that children must begin formal schooling on the closest set day to their 5th birthday (those set days being 31st December 31st March and 31st August), most children start Reception in the September after they turn 4. These admission guidelines however, get somewhat more complicated when considering summer-born children, those born between 1st April and 31st August. With parents of those children being able to choose whether to introduce their child into Reception or Year 1. This practitioner research aims to investigate school-readiness from the perspective of a small year 1 class in the South of England. In particular, it focuses on the definition of school readiness, the age that children should begin school, and the various strategies used to support children when beginning school, and during transitions between key stages. I will also consider summer-born children, and whether the information is or should be applicable to this specific group of children. Research data was collected via observations, questionnaires, interviews, and scrutiny of children’s work and behaviour. The key findings from my research and study of relevant literature suggests that children do not appear to have lower attainment based on the age they begin school. However, it did show that a lack of clear communication between school and parents, and a lack of clarity over the definition of readiness for school, could be shown to negatively impact on a child’s experience of starting school.