Academic red-shirting of school entry

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Transition to school is an important milestone in a child's life, however, it can also be a stressful time for parents. Data from World Bank (2016) reveal a growing trend across the globe for children not to commence formal schooling until six or seven years of age. Some Australian children currently start school from as young as 4.5 years (Early Childhood Intervention Australia [ECIA, NSW Chapter], 2017). However, a growing number now commence school a year after the child is first eligible, a practice commonly referred to as academic redshirting.
National statistics suggest that whilst approximately 15% of Australian children are academically redshirted each year, the figure in NSW (31.3%) is remarkably higher (Edwards, Taylor & Fiorini, 2011). Variance in school starting age policies across Australia results in some parents having flexibility regarding school entry. Social pressure and mixed messages about benefits of academic redshirting may cause increased parental stress or create tension between parents.
The purpose of the study is to explore the lived experience of parents who are deciding whether to academically redshirt their child to determine the main influences on decision-making. The study will adopt a qualitative approach, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and small focus groups with parents who are in the process of deciding whether to academically redshirt their child for the following school year.

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Supervisors supervising this project

Dr Ingrid Willenberg Co-Supervisor

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