The Green Party MLA for North Down has welcomed the announcement of a consultation on introducing increased flexibility of the school starting age.
Rachel Woods MLA said: "It’s a disgrace that it’s taken so long, but I’m glad that the Education Minister has eventually started the consultation on the deferral of the school starting age for some children.
"Children in Northern Ireland start school at one of the lowest ages in Europe, so a new policy introducing increased flexibility will be a huge benefit for those who, for example, are born prematurely or are very young for their year.
"A commitment was given in 2013 to consider flexible school starts by the previous Education Minister John O'Dowd, but plans to introduce legislation were postponed in 2015, and then fell due to Assembly timing, so many have been left disappointed.
"I have been working with constituents in North Down on this issue since becoming an MLA, and I know this announcement will come as a minor relief to parents and teachers who have been frustrated by the slow progress. However, Minister McIlveen must legislate on this as a matter of urgency. This issue has been consulted on before, and the Education Minister should ensure that this is passed in time for next year's pupil intake."
Media contact: Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)