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Change in Polish education law

Polish President Andrzej Duda and David Whitebread

In June 2015, Dr David Whitebread, Director of PEDAL, was invited by the Polish Parents' Rights Association, as an expert in Early Years and Primary Education, to give a lecture at Warsaw University.

His lecture reviewed the research evidence indicating that lowering the school starting age is likely to be ineffective or counterproductive in relation to raising academic achievement. This arose from the Polish government's decision earlier that year to enact a law lowering the school starting age from seven to six years of age.

David also met in order to help the parent campaigners make their case that this new law should be reversed, and this campaign has now been successful. From September 2016, attendance at school under the age of seven is no longer obligatory, and six year old children only need to start school if their parents want them to. Four and five year old children will not have to attend obligatory kindergarten/pre-school, and can be kept at home if that is their parent's choice, though five year old children have a right to a place provided by the local authority.

The new Parliament changed the law at the end of December 2015 with Pre David says "It was a pleasure and privilege to visit Poland and to meet the group of parents who ran this impressive and well-grounded campaign, and their new President. I am delighted with the successful outcome and extremely pleased if I was able to help with this in some small way. I am delighted that the children of Poland will now benefit and I am confident that this move is in the interests of the whole country and its citizens.”

The Lecture is in English with Polish subtitles: