Professor John McKendrick, from Glasgow Caledonian University's Glasgow School for Business and Society

Different children are ready to start school at different times and if we are serious about the national approach of getting it right for every child then the system should be flexible enough to allow that to happen.

The Give Them Time campaign is consistent with the idea of doing whatever is right for the individual child. What tends to happen is that children start school according to their month of birth, which means that they start between the age of four-and-a-half-years-old and five-and-a-half-years-old. It does not have to be this way.

There are two very different trains of thought about children's readiness for school, which can be a little confusing. One is that more formal early education is good for children from deprived backgrounds who tend to be further behind in their development when they start school compared to those from more affluent backgrounds.

The other argument is that some children are just not ready for school at the recommended age and that a later start would ensure that the early experience of schooling is not uncomfortable.

Here, the thinking is that if the foundations are put in place, their lives being enriched by a longer play-based early years experience, children will be able to accumulate their learning more rapidly in school when they are ready.

Presently, we allow local authorities the right to determine local priorities. There is nothing wrong with this in principle, as it can be a means to allow for local needs to be met and for new and innovative practice to emerge. However, it can also lead to unevenness across the country, which is where we are at with funding extensions of early years education.

Sending a child to school too early is not necessarily catastrophic because children are resilient - as long as when they eventually start school, they are supported in school in the right way for their age and stage of development. Teachers are already adept at this.

Surely, decisions must be made on the basis of what is right for individual children and therefore it would be progressive if we reached the position that parents were not penalised financially for taking a decision that was in the best interests of their child. Councils have, and should have, the means to support this.