The case for raising the school starting age and providing what the under-sevens really need

Sue Palmer

Available (printed to order)

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Download a free copy of the first chapter of this book: Free PDF of Upstart Sampler

  • From the high profile author of Toxic Childhood
  • Publishing in conjunction with Sue Palmer's hard-hitting media campaign which features press and radio interviews, social media activity and a dedicated Upstart website
  • A passionate call to action from an expert in her field
  • Sample chapter available for download from

Sue Palmer puts forward a passionate case for Britain adopting a proper 'kindergarten' stage that recognises what under-sevens really need.

216 x 138 mm
Floris Books
Parenting & Child Health; Steiner-Waldorf Education
224 pages
Publication date:
02 Jun 2016


Why does Britain and its former colonies send children to school as young as four and five, when in eighty-eight per cent of the world the starting age is six or seven?

Sue Palmer, author of bestselling Toxic Childhood, uncovers the truth: it's not because of what's best for children, but historical accident and economics.

Palmer examines research ranging from neurological science to educational data, and shows that under-sevens gain most -- educationally, physically, socially and psychologically -- from not being stuck behind a desk. Upstart puts forward a passionate case for Britain adopting a proper 'kindergarten' stage that recognises what under-sevens really need.

With clarity, ease and vigour, Palmer describes a different way of doing early years education that would have huge benefits both for individual children, and for our nation.


'I thoroughly enjoyed Sue Palmer’s writing on a sensitive but extremely important subject because it affects every single one of us. Upstart is a banner for change, for a better future for our children and so, for our country too.'
Early years Book Club

'I recommend Upstart as the book to inform your discussions and inspire you to join Sue's campaign to encourage this paradigm shift.'
-- Juno Magazine


Sue Palmer, a former headteacher in Scotland, has written more than 250 books, TV programmes and software on primary education and literacy. She has been an independent consultant to many organisations including the UK Department for Education and Skills, the National Literacy Trust and the BBC. She is the author of the bestselling and highly influential Toxic Childhood.

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