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Is Your Child Ready for Prep? Or Should You Delay Starting School?

This article will give you detailed information and resources to help you decide if your child is ready for Prep.

Previous Education Minister, Kate Jones, worked with Ed Queensland to develop a tool to help school Principals assess a child’s readiness for Prep. This tool was designed to look at the child’s social, emotional and physical abilities and determine if they can gain early entry to Prep.

History of early/delaying entry to Prep

Prep class at Ormiston College

In 2014, the government changed the entry to Prep cut-off to 31 July to give parents the option to send their July born children to Prep instead of waiting for another full year. A July-born child was not guaranteed early enrolment. Early entry to Prep is an exception, where it is in the best interests of the child and they have the required attributes. 

Testing tool 

The formal framework was designed to determine whether a child born in July was ‘Prep Ready’ and was supposed to take the pressure off the individual Principals to make the decision. There is now a clear and consistent set of test devised with the help of Principals, Teachers, Parents and Early Childhood Educators to determine a child’s eligibility for early entry to Prep. You can find it here.

Reversing the July 31 cut-off date

However, in 2015, the decision to allow for early entry to Prep was reversed, moving the cut-off from July 31 back to June 30. Education Queensland updated their website accordingly. Early or delayed entry to Prep are options which still may be considered in specific circumstances and where it is in a child’s best educational interests. Any early entry to Prep, from 2017, is determined by the testing tool (linked above) in conjunction with schools and school Principals. Those links to the QLD Govt website above will help you understand Ed Queensland’s position.

When should MY child start Prep?

Want to find out when your child can start Prep? See our table below to determine their start year based on the month and year they were born. Your child should turn 5 by the 30 June of the year they start prep.

Year of BirthYear child may start Prep if they turn 5 by 30 June

If your child was born in July, you can apply for an early entry if you feel they are ready for Prep. Equally if they were born in June (or before) of the entry year and technically should start Prep but you think they are not ready to start Prep, you may give them another year of kindy. They must however begin school by the time they turn 6.5. And they always start in Prep (they don’t skip it and go into Grade 1).

Is MY child ready to start Prep?


Only you and your child’s kindy teacher can answer that. But we do have some great resources that can help you get more information to help you decide:

Facebook forum

We ran a Facebook forum to help parents decide if their child was ready for Prep – you can read the Q&A’s here. You might find some of your concerns addressed.

Deciding to delay entry to Prep

So, what about delayed entry to Prep? Currently parents have the absolute right to delay entry to Prep (and thus Year 1). They do not need any formal assessments or approvals. Parents have the option to determine if their child’s social, emotional and physical abilities are considered to be ‘Not Prep Ready’.

Read this article about why more parents are deciding to delay Prep entry for their child.

Read this article about what to do if you have decided you want to delay Prep for your child. And read this about one mums look back on her decision to delay her son’s entry to Prep.

Deciding to go to Prep ‘on time’

Read this about what your child will learn in Prep to understand the rigor of the Prep year. Read this if you have decided to start Prep and want to know how to prepare your child for the transition to Prep. And lastly read this article about what to expect in the first fortnight of Prep.

We also wrote about repeating Prep and you may like to read that too!

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Amanda Mergler

Dr Amanda Mergler is an expert in child and adolescent development. Her PhD focused on personal responsibility and she has published papers on delayed Prep entry.. She has been an academic at Queensland University of Technology for over 10 years and is currently a Guidance Officer at Federation University. Her academic credentials together with her advocacy work makes her a credible source and highly reputable expert on the Families Magazine team.

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