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For Ashley Quinn and his wife Katherine, the decision when to send their eldest daughter, Matilda, to school was never in question.
"For us there was no downside in holding her back a year but we couldn't see any upside in sending her early," Mr Quinn said.
Matilda could have started school last year and would have been one of the youngest in her year but instead the Bondi Junction couple decided to keep Matilda at pre-school an extra year. She started kindergarten this year and will turn six next month.
"I remember growing up with friends who were younger than me and we never got to play sport together. I didn't want Matilda to be separated from her friends so for me it wasn't a hard decision," Mr Quinn said.
When to start school is a vexed question for many parents but the latest enrolment data from the past 10 years shows an increasing number of children in NSW are six when they start kindergarten, indicating that parents are choosing to delay the start of their schooling.
In NSW, children can start kindergarten if they turn five by July 31 but by law they must be in school by their sixth birthday.
The new figures from the NSW Department of Education reveal that in 2006, 19 per cent of children were six when they started school. Last year that figure was 22 per cent. Less than two per cent were four on July 1 of their kindergarten year in 2016, the data shows.
Queensland University of Technology education academic Amanda Mergler said research indicated that parents around Australia were sending their children to school later. "There is the major influence of Finland on parents," Dr Mergler said.
Finland is widely seen as having one of the best education systems in the world. Finnish children do not start school until they are seven.
Dr Mergler said parents wanted their children to be "socially and emotionally" ready when they started school because they were worried about how they would cope with demands such as NAPLAN.
"We often hear parents say 'if I give them a bit longer to mature then they will feel more comfortable and confident at school," Dr Mergler said.
"They say 'If they are a bit older, then perhaps they will cope with things like NAPLAN a little better'."
She said education policy across Australia was centred around children starting school between the ages of 4½ and five.
"But we do know that parents are sending them later and it absolutely depends on the child in front of you," Dr Mergler said.
Starting ages differ across Australia. In Victoria, children need to turn five by April 30 in the year they start school, while in South Australia it is May 1 and in Queensland and Western Australia the cut-off is June 30.
Children in Britain must start school in the September after their fourth birthday, but in many other European countries, including France, Germany and Norway, children do not start school until they are six.
Matilda Quinn is one of four children. Her sister, Scarlett, will turn five in July and will start school next year but Mr Quinn said they had already made the decision to hold Layla, 2, back because her birthday is in March. Harrison, born in August, will start school at 5½.
"We also asked around our friends and the majority definitely said to hold back," Mr Quinn said.