We are delighted to have the support of the following organisations and individuals:
Tam Baillie, former Scotland Commissioner for Children and Young People
We know children are starting formal school too early and in many instances losing out in play-based learning opportunities which are fundamental for their development. The Give Them Time Campaign is a step in the right direction and I am supportive of its aims
Connect fully supports the ‘Give Them Time’ campaign for deferral for children who need it. A child-centred and child-led education system must put children’s needs first. We’re aware that in some areas, parents are not advised of children’s rights to deferral. Worse still, deliberately obstructive practices and misleading information are used to discourage parents from applying for deferral for their child and exercising their rights. Processes for applying can be complicated, bureaucratic and slow. Families have a right to clear information and to fair, open procedures for applying for deferral. They are also entitled to know what their legal rights are.
Eileen Prior, Executive Director of parents’ organisation Connect
Play Scotland supports the aims of the Give Them Time Campaign regarding child-centred decision making about deferrals. It is essential that all parents have accurate information so they can make informed choices based on the age and stage of their child’s development. Decisions about deferrals need to be based on the best interests of the child and applied in a consistent and equitable manner across Scotland. We need the right building blocks in place to ensure children can benefit from the provision that best suits their needs and best supports their play-based learning.
Marguerite Hunter-Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland
National Parent Forum of Scotland are pleased to announce our support for the Give Them Time campaign. Parents are frequently not provided with transparent information about schooling and deferrals are a clear example of this. Parents should know their rights so they can decide what is best for their individual child. We believe the same opportunities for extra nursery funding should be available to every family across Scotland and not be dependent on postcode.
Joanna Murphy, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland
Current deferral policy across Scotland tends to be focused on a crudely financial decision rather than having the child’s development and the family’s needs at its heart.
This difficulty can be compounded if communication with parents is poor, information about the process is opaque, and parents are made to feel like they are asking for a special privilege – rather than something that is in the absolute best interests of their child and family.
We are hopeful that many of these problems will resolve following the Scottish Government’s childcare expansion in 2020. Until then, Children in Scotland supports the aims of the Give Them Time campaign and joins them in calling for a more intelligent, sensitive and child-centred approach to policy on deferral and the school starting age.
Jackie Brock, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland
Upstart Scotland heartily supports the Give Them Time campaign. All parents wishing to defer their children’s entry to formal schooling should be supported to do so by their local authorities. Scotland’s extraordinarily early school starting age has always disadvantaged many children and – due to lifestyle changes over recent decades – the need to focus on health, well-being and outdoor play during early childhood grows greater every year. Until Upstart achieves our aim of a relationship-centred, play-based kindergarten stage for all three- to seven-year-olds, it’s vital that parents’ right to defer school entry is upheld.
Sue Palmer, Chair of Upstart Scotland
Currently only children born in January and February have an automatic right to defer their child’s entry to school by a year whilst retaining a guarantee of an additional year of pre-school funding. Reform Scotland thinks that the guaranteed additional year of funding should be extended to all children who are due to start school at the age of four and have a right to defer. For more information please read our report ‘The Early Years Lottery Report‘.
Alison Payne, Research Director, Reform Scotland
Home-Start works with many parents who want to grow their confidence, knowledge and skills so they can give their children the best possible start in life. We support Give Them Time because we believe every parent should know about and be free to exercise rights which are designed to help them do what they feel is best for their children.
Shelagh Young, Director of Scotland, Home-Start UK
“Uniquely, Edinburgh Steiner School has long run a curriculum that has embraced a delayed start to formal learning. Children here start their school career aged 6 or 7, in line with 1,200 Steiner Waldorf schools worldwide. Before then, they learn in an environment that is simple and unhurried without the notions of ‘achievement’, ‘success’, or ‘failure’.
Specialist teachers follow the internationally-recognized principles of the Steiner Waldorf curriculum, where this crucial education in the first six years is integrated and holistic throughout. Providing an important alternative to mainstream independent education in the city, it has long been an ambition of the school that access to a Steiner education should not depend solely on the ability to pay fees. In this endeavor, it has been a partner provider of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) since 1991 and is registered with the UK Government’s Tax-Free Childcare Scheme, as well as offering bursaries to Kindergarten children not in receipt of ELC funding, and the fee structure for Playgroup supports parents in increasing children’s early years education beyond the 600 Hours (roughly 16 hours a week during term time) with no extra charge for the 5th morning. The cost of Kindergarten’s 5-mornings reflects the same support. Our experienced Early Years practitioners proactively inform and support parents in their application to defer.
We wholeheartedly support Give Them Time in campaigning for a later start to formal learning for the youngest pupils embarking on their school career at four-years-old. It is crucial education is child-centred, based on well-established principles of child development. Not only is there no advantage to early schooling, there is in fact significant social, emotional and academic disadvantages. Give Them Time recognizes a child should not be subject to discrimination in terms of whether they are likely to obtain this funding from their local authority or not on the premise they were born in mid/late-August, September, October, November, or December instead of a different month.”