Children should start school at the age of two to prevent disadvantaged youngsters from falling behind.
This is the view of Baroness Sally Morgan, who is the chairwoman of education regulator Ofsted, and she thinks the move could make a big difference to certain sections of the population.
Research has shown that kids from poor backgrounds can be up to 19 months behind their richer counterparts in terms of development by the age of five, with poor parenting, diet and housing all contributory reasons.
At the moment, children living in England only have to be in full-time education by the term of their fifth birthday.
However, her plans have been criticised by Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance.
While Mr Leitch accepts that issues surrounding social inequality need to be addressed urgently, he added that "taking very young children away from their parents and placing them in formal schooling is not the answer".
Posted by Tim Colman