We want your views on our Starting School Full time policy
Do you have children born after 1 September 2021? If so, Carmarthenshire County Council wants to hear your views on its on proposed changes to when your child can start full time school, also known as the Primary Rising 4s Policy, for the 2025/26 academic year.
Under its current admission arrangements, Carmarthenshire County Council allows children to start primary school at the start of the school term in which a child’s fourth birthday will fall. Carmarthenshire is the only Local Authority in Wales with this arrangement.
Primary School Admissions Review (Rising 4s) documents were presented to a meetings of Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet on 9 October and 11 December 2023. The Review recommended that the Council, as the Admissions Authority for Community and Voluntary Controlled primary schools, consult on proposed changes to the full-time admission arrangements of learners. This could mean a change from the term of their fourth birthday to the term after their fourth birthday or to the September after their fourth birthday. The potential implementation of the change could be introduced in September 2025.
The Statutory school age, by law, for all children to receive a full-time education is from 5 years of age.
The County Council is asking residents for their opinion on the following three options:
- OPTION A: Admit full-time learners to primary schools in the school term of their fourth birthday (current arrangements)
- OPTION B: Admit full-time learners to primary schools in the school term following their fourth birthday.
- OPTION C: Admit full-time learners to primary schools in September following their fourth birthday.
The local authority anticipate concerns will be expressed that children’s full-time education and access to Welsh medium provision will be delayed. It is important to note that all 3-year-olds are entitled to 10-hours of free placement per week, at a registered setting, through the Early Entitlement Group from the term following their third birthday.
There are various forms of provision:
- Nursery School – Ammanford Nursery School is the only nursery school in the County.
- Nursery/Early Years classes in Infant or Primary Schools (3 – 11 age schools).
- Provision by the non-maintained sector who are partners in the Early Entitlement Group, such as Wales Pre-school Playgroup Association, Mudiad Meithrin and private providers.
Support is also available through the Welsh Government’s Childcare funding, which provides up to 30 hours of free education and childcare per week for eligible parents. This is for children between 3-4 years of age, for up to 48 weeks of the year.
Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language, Cllr Glynog Davies said:
We are consulting on the proposed change to the full time school starting age in Carmarthenshire because we are dealing with the challenges being faced in relation to accommodation and school capacity, inconsistency with other Authorities, nursery and early years provision, funding and the admissions process itself, at a time when revenue expenditure is under extreme pressure. The funding of non-statutory full-time pupils, at such an early age, could be re-prioritised to fund other statutory functions from the schools delegated budget. We want to hear the views of parents, schools and our communities on this proposed change before progressing further on these plans.”
The Primary Rising 4s Policy 2025/26 Consultation is open until 1 March 2024.