Age of entry for pre compulsory schooling
Age of entry for pre-compulsory schooling policy (pdf 61 kb)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the historical context of the policy? How were the changes decided on?
The previous policy was introduced in 1983. It was one of continuous intake, meaning, that as a child turned 4 or 5 years of age they were eligible to commence either Preschool or Transition.
The changes have been trialled throughout the Northern Territory since 2003 in all schooling contexts. According to DET research, the majority of schools and parents involved in the trial were pleased with the outcome for their children. In particular, schools and parents supported a single intake in Transition as it assisted the students social and academic development and group cohesion.
What is Age of Entry? What does it mean?
Age of Entry refers to the policy outlining the age a child may be enrolled in the non-compulsory years of schooling.
Children turning four on or before 30 June are eligible to enrol in a regular preschool program at the commencement of the school year.
Children turning four after 30 June are eligible to enrol in a preschool program after their birthday, if places are available and with the understanding that the child will access more than 12 months of Preschool.
Children turning five on or before 30 June are eligible to enrol in a transition program at the commencement of the school year.
Children who turn five after 30 June are eligible to enrol in a transition program from the commencement of the following school year.
The policy focuses on a single intake of students to Transition, rather than the previous staggered intake throughout the first half of the year as the child turned five.
As a parent, do I have a choice? My child turns five in early June what if he/she isnt ready for Transition in January?
Preschool and Transition in Northern Territory Schools are non-compulsory. Schooling in the Territory is compulsory only from the age of six years, however, when making such a decision you should consider the importance of access to, and participation in, quality education and learning experiences.
Critical aspects of development to consider before you enrol your child in Transition include the emotional capacity of your child to separate from you; your childs social skills and relationships; and language and basic concepts.
My child turns five in early July, is there any way he/she can begin school in January?
No, only children turning five before June 30 can begin at the start of the school year.
My child, who will be five by June 30, is very shy but Id like him/her to benefit from a full year in Transition. Do I have the option to withdraw him/her after enrolment?
Yes, parents have the option to reconsider their childs placement within the educational setting. Common practice encourages you to seek feedback on your childs progress. If the teacher notes that your child is having difficulty engaging in Transition, you will be invited to work collaboratively on possible solutions.
Before enrolling your child in Transition you are encouraged to take into account critical aspects of development, including your childs emotional capacity to separate from you; their social skills and relationships; and language and basic concepts.
How do I know if my child is ready?
Parents have the ultimate right to choose when their child attends Preschool and or Transition. Things you might take into consideration are your childs ability to cope with separation from you; your childs ability to be independent with toileting; if the service caters to your family needs.
Trained teachers in Preschool and Transition can prepare programs for your child. No matter what level the readiness of your child, a program can be put in place to meet his/her needs.
What are the benefits of the policy?
The policy change will provide opportunities for children to engage in two years (Preschool and Transition) of pre-compulsory early learning programs, which have been demonstrated to improve life-learning outcomes.
A single intake in Transition will assist the students social and academic development and group cohesion.
If my child begins Transition at four and a half, does that mean they will leave school earlier?
No. The Age of Entry Policy increase access at commencement of schooling and does not impact a childs progression beyond Year 1. As a result students will not finish the compulsory years of schooling any earlier than they would have under the old system.