IN Finland, where children start formal schooling at age seven, by secondary school age children’s literacy levels are so often at the top of the European “league” that other European countries are competing for second place.

I am delighted therefore to read in the Sunday National that the SNP is starting to debate the issue of raising the school start age in Scotland.

READ MORE: Proposal to raise Scotland's school starting age as part of 'national discussion'

If we are to follow Finland’s example, the current primary one age group will learn through structured play. The play activity should not be trivialised. It is a complex, essential activity which helps develop such skills as cooperative working, sharing, negotiating and generally just getting on with other people.

Albert Einstein, perhaps one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known, said that “the understanding of physics is child’s play compared to the understanding of child’s play!”

An extra year of play does not, it seems, hold children’s development back. It acts as a proven springboard to the next stage of learning.

Alex Leggatt