SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan has welcomed the Assembly’s backing of the School Age Bill.
It will allow parents of children born between April 1 and July 1 to decide for their children to start school in the September following their fifth birthday.
Mr McCrossan said the increased parental choice would result in better experiences for children.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said:
“This legislation has been in the works for almost a decade and I’m glad that children across the North will now benefit as a result of this increased parental choice. While some may feel comfortable to continue with the old system, not every child will be ready to start school at such a young age and this extra year of development could make all the difference to their educational experience.
“Starting school can be a very difficult time for children, it’s a significant change to their lives and we must make every effort to ensure they are properly supported. Nobody will know better than parents when the time is right for their children to begin school and it’s only right they will now have greater choice around it.
“Despite the best efforts of staff, our education system has been stale and inflexible for too long. These are the kind of changes we need to see more of in the coming years if we are truly to build a modern education system in the North that caters for the needs of children, while allowing them space to achieve their full potential.”