Thanks for your question. There aren’t any set guidelines regarding early admittance to primary school, so the crux of the matter will really reside with the primary school in question and your local education authority. In some cases, they may agree to early school admittance, if you can demonstrate that your child is exceptionally gifted and would benefit more from being at primary school than at nursery.
However, realistically you may need to be prepared that your plea might get turned down. For example, there are some schools of thought that suggest younger children starting school very early may not be up to meeting all the demands of school yet. Although younger children may be very keen to learn and able to cope with the learning aspect, there are other elements involved in going to school and they need to be able to cope with the emotional issues, longer day and social interaction too.
Some people suggest, for example, that putting a child into school at a younger age, before they have developed and matured to the usual age at which kids start primary school, might be detrimental to them in the long run, not least as it forces structured learning on them at a younger age than need be. In fact, the school starting age for children in the UK is actually one of the earliest, compared to other areas of Europe. Fans of the later school starting age suggest children should be able to have more time to play and learn in a relaxed environment when they are young, rather than within the constrains of a structured school environment, and studies have shown starting school earlier don’t always have a better impact in the long run.
If your child is not able to start primary school so soon, then don’t despair, as there may still be plenty of opportunities for them to gain valuable learning skills and put them in a good position for when they do start primary school. If you feel that nursery wouldn’t be the right place for them, then you could either put together a learning programme for them at home, find various other clubs and learning classes outside of the home or consider one-to-one home education classes for more in-depth learning.
If there is the chance that your child could be gifted, then it would be worthwhile contacting the National Association for Gifted Children – they will be able to provide more information regarding how a child is classed as gifted and offer specialist assistance with how to take things further.