Children in the UK are amongst the lowest age in the world when they start school. This was a decision first made in 1876 on the Factory Act’s recommendation, to stop child labour, resulting in making school compulsory for children aged between five and ten in 1880. In fact, only 22% of the world’s children start school so early and almost all come from former or current commonwealth countries, as the British influence spread. Since that date we have steadily increased the school leaving age, so that more children have a wider range of opportunities to support them into work. This begs the question why has no one looked at the other end, the starting point? Why are our children starting so young, with what is, after all, the legacy of Victorian decision-making based on an emerging need for safeguarding?
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