New report suggests adjusting August born's test results.

(230 Posts)
Suzieismyname Fri 10-May-13 05:27:34

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22469216
This will be ignored by Gove, won't it?

losingtrust Thu 16-May-13 22:20:36

Home tutored both my dcs summer born to catch up and ds managed to go up groups in Year 6. Starting earlier with DD.

losingtrust Thu 16-May-13 22:19:05

Out primary set at year 2 as well and it is a disadvantage for the lower groups who do not cover the same level a week and then kick in later.

Hamishbear Thu 16-May-13 11:39:53

Sorry to hear Whistle. I think/hope it must come right by the end. We're Ofsted Outstanding and incredibly highly thought of.

Hamishbear Thu 16-May-13 11:38:28

Our school believes strongly in teaching to the children's ability. That's what they've said.

whistleahappytune Thu 16-May-13 11:32:00

Hamish, I know it's bloody enraging. Same situation here. Very little fluidity between sets. I've almost given up on her learning maths at school and have hired a tutor, as well as working with her myself.

The school cannot teach children according to their ability. They can only teach to their attainment. Which is a whole different thing.

PamTsBestee Thu 16-May-13 11:03:06

Our primary is a one form per year set up. I don't recall at which point they started setting but we are just talking about 'tables' in the same class. So movement was quite fluid in our case.

Hamishbear Thu 16-May-13 10:41:59

My August born was set for Maths whilst 6 at the end of Y2. There are 8 sets in our v large primary and whilst an upwards move possible if not a high achiever at the end of KS1 the odds are stacked a child that makes a later spurt. The pace is slower outside of the top 2 sets and the top sets work ahead & cover more. Levels at the end of KS2 are predicted in advance and children going forward are placed where they can make 2 sub levels of progress. The school believes in teaching children according to their ability.

PamTeesBestee Thu 16-May-13 10:28:13

I'm July born and so are both my DCs. DP is late June (I wonder if its anything to do with it getting darker earlier in Oct/Nov and there being nothing decent on TV past the peak summer months smile )

I am not aware of being disadvantaged in anyway by being summer born but that could be because my recollection is clouded by age. As for my DCs, they were a bit small compared to their classmates in Year R but by Year 2 you couldn't tell that they were among the youngest in their respective classes. Academically speaking, we never noticed any summer born disadvantages there. However, we did 'extra stuff' with them at home so that could have disguised the problem.

A lot of parent's here have different experiences with their summer born. Then there are the studies that back up these parents. However, I still don't see why kids that are summer born should get special dispensation.

Some kids are a bit immature for their age. Some don't pickup things as fast as others. Some have two left feet. A proportion of these kids will be summer born and a proportion won't be. Why should one group get special treatment?

Also. a lot of countries that score higher than us in international tables start school at roughly the same age as us. So IMO pointing to higher ranked countries where kids start school at 6-7 as 'proof' that our starting age is 'bad' is just cherry picking data.

ElizaDoLots Wed 15-May-13 23:43:14

BrainSurgeon - I think, like anything, sports day will only be an issue if you make it an issue. Some schools make a big fuss of sporting achievement and not academic achievement which is annoying - but generally my two out of three fairly unsporty children regard it as an afternoon off!

losingtrust Wed 15-May-13 09:39:59

Hi Brain. Don't worry about sports day. My DS is the least sporty and it never bothers him. Oh and he grew at 12 so is now average from his little start and caught up by Year 5 and 6. I did read a lot with him as found that reading was the key area as only a 2c in Ks1 which made me panic but unnecessarily. Found a few authors that he really liked and read him them first. The How to Train Your Dragon books were good and then John Wyndham. Doing the same with DD. they seem to find their natural level more in Maths. The joy of two summer borns in a school where every parent is engaged so the differences are more apparent. To be honest I was October born and my mom used to let me and my sisters have a duvet day for sports day as I was so awful.

BrainSurgeon Wed 15-May-13 08:32:36

Oh Tony sad

I do wonder how can I best support DS, we constantly tell him he is wonderful and clever etc but he's still little... Things will get more serious in secondary school and I fear so much for his self-confidence, especially as he's not sporty at all. Things like Sports Day will probably give him nightmares for the rest of his life sad

I think you are right Goinggetstough, it does work both ways. I hadn't thought of it in those terms directly. I had thought of it in terms of parents who perhaps let children get away with things like bad behaviour or use it as an excuse not to acknowledge SEN problems because they don't want to acknowledge any problem exists, but it definitely works the other way too - some will see a problem where there isn't one except a level of immaturity.

Whichever way you look at it, as a piece of research it is open to abuse or as an excuse for all sorts of behaviour. I don't think cause and effect are as clear cut as these stats would have us believe.

goinggetstough Tue 14-May-13 10:26:47

Big I agree with you but don't you think that the self fulfilling prophecy works both ways. I have heard friends say that their DC wont be able to do such and such because they are summer born. Whereas if they were older in the year and struggling they would assume they needed to help them more? Parents can be guilty too..
Previously there have been other threads that say I am so worried about my 12 month old summer born..... and his exams!! Yes, schools need to be aware of (and generally are) of age differences but what IMO is important is that our DCs reach their potential and not to blame a date of birth or a teacher.
I believe many of these studies compare DCs who started at different times during the reception school year. In these cases the summer borns were not only younger but also had less time in school depending on where they lived. Now legislation says that they can all start in September it will be interesting to see whether these changes affect the statistics.

Tony, that is so sad. [Sad] You clearly know you are clever but your emotional side hasn't caught up yet. You could probably do with CBT in my unqualified opinion. I say this as a summer born who has had CBT and not at all in a flippant way. I wish you the very best of luck and lots of positive thinking for your finals.

I don't want to blame the teachers but I do think reports like this one are a bit self fulfilling in that they give some teachers an easy way of categorising and, in a sense, writing off children. You get it quite a bit in the infants especially it seems. I am sure they don't mean to but any hint of a problem or delay and the first response is to say 'well, they are summer born, they are bound to struggle. That may be true, it may not but the parents and the children know they can't change being youngest in the year and so that sort of labelling can start defining how a person thinks of themselves. As I said earlier, DS1's year in the juniors were made up of 50% summer borns and the teachers just couldn't use birth dates as an excuse for anything (though they did try a bit) because to do so would be to write off half the year. They had to look at what else was going on and work out if there was a real problem or whether it was just a touch of immaturity that the child would grow out of given time and a bit of support.

Weirdly it would help if reports like this one weren't published and children were dealt with as individuals and not defined by the date they were born.

ElizaDoLots Mon 13-May-13 17:54:50

That's a sad post Tony. Good luck in your finals - I hope you get a big fat first as a two fingers up to those teachers.

This is a whole new thread, but teachers that humiliate children make me mad. A teacher at my childrens' school was nearly fired last year, but the little b£&stard got to come back and continues in his nasty ways. We may get him next year for DC2, and on the back of your post, he may have a fight on his hands.

Taffeta Mon 13-May-13 17:41:10

I'm in tears reading your post Tony. sad

TonysHardWorkDay Sun 12-May-13 23:20:34

Oh and the real reason I finally took advice and returned to study. I was being encouraged to go for a serious promotion at work. I'd learned pride in my work abilities and was terrified that a senior role would see me being caught out and exposed for the fraud I was really.

I think I'd benefit from very expensive therapy.

TonysHardWorkDay Sun 12-May-13 23:15:02

Personally, from my own experience and the experience of others I know the greatest disadvantage to summer born students is when we gain the impression that we are stupid.

The summer born effect should vanish a few years down the line, it is not a problem in countries with a later start age, that it does not vanish in the uk suggests that the real problem is due to the low sense of self worth that these students develop. The study quoted in the original report says that they don't link summer borns to later problems many other studies disagree. For a start there is the reduced life chances from poorer educational outcomes, but they have also found increased criminality self harm, addiction and mental health problems. This is hugely worrying as our system is potentially having a seriously damaging effect whilst at the same time providing no benefit to the older majority as the most successful educational systems all start education later.

My experience had a rather awful teacher tell me I was stupid and she did humiliate me on several occasions. Some of my friends remember this and said they felt awful years down the line but they were glad it was not them at the time. My experience was extreme but other children are just as dangerous, not been put in for the SATS so as not to damage the schools rankings and they'll be plenty of kids willing to tell you that you're thick and we often take our peers judgements more seriously than the people who can truly judge our ability. The constant testing and pressures on teachers to meet targets also means that the average for their age summer born will be left behind, the teacher must focus on bringing those children just slightly behind up for the stats, the youngest who are likely to be weakest in the year are forgotten as the attention will not improve the schools SAT scores. The children soon begin to understand that they are not worth extra attention.

My personal experience has been awful. I am not stupid, I am far far from stupid, I know that I am very intelligent but I don't think I will ever feel it. I went back to education in my thirties after lots of encouragement, I'm doing a science degree at an elite university. My grades are so high that I can go into each of my 4 exams and do nothing but draw a penis on each paper and still get a 2.1 (or possibly expulsion so I won't risk it). Yet I constantly feel like I don't deserve my place here, that my grades are due to luck, that they will catch me out eventually, I know that it is stupid but I cannot turn off the lack of worth that sits inside of me and dates back to the early lessons I learned.

I feel physically sick at the thought of others getting the same messages and carrying them in the same way. What makes me so angry is that no one is benefitting from our system. We are damaging some children for their whole lives for no bloody reason.

Not drunk on tonights rant just very emotional as I am feeling pressure of looming finals and still feeling that I don't deserve the top degree I will get cos I'm thick and will get caught out sooner or later.

Perriwinkle Sun 12-May-13 22:07:32

I don't agree with a "one size fits all" approach. I had the chance to hold my late August-born DS back and send him to school in January but I didn't want to as I felt it was unnecessary. He was/is very bright and was absolutely ready to go to school at 4 years and 1 week old, in all senses, socially, confidence wise etc. Would it have been fair to hold him back, or to send a child like that to school at 6 or 7? I think not. I'm glad he was able to start school as young as just 4 because for him, that was the right thing.

The other side of the coin was a girl he started Reception class with who turned 5 on 1 September. She was most certainly not ready for school - particularly because she was still so utterly dependent on her mother. She was the third child of three (an afterthought as her mother was desperate for a boy after two girls). There was quite a gap between her and her doting older sisters and she was quite clearly mothered by, effectively, three mothers. She still came to school in a buggy for a few weeks (until they must have considered it looked faintly ridiculous) and she had to be peeled away from her mother sobbing every morning for weeks. She was among the very last ones in the class to start going full time. This girl always had to have additional help in the classroom throughout primary school too, but never had any particular learning difficulties.

So, I don't agree to a "one size fits all" approach. Children who are late summer borns are not always at a significant disadvantage to those born earlier in the academic year. Some might be just as some born earlier in the year might be disadvantaged compared to thier peers. You can't legislate in a way that takes into account individual needs and until you can, it should be left well alone.

gabsid Sun 12-May-13 20:06:23

And that's exactly it, its just a few and not necessarily the youngest - according to research most do will be OK, despite the fact that they do start so very young. It would make more sense if they were assessed and parents and pre-school/nursery decide together whether it would be best to defer or not.

I was almost 7 when I started, I sat at a desk and had to get on with it. I do think the British Reception year is a great idea if it does what it should do - introduce DC to the school environment in a playful way.

ElizaDoLots Sun 12-May-13 15:36:43

I agree with this: 'Employers need graduates who have reached a certain standard of education. Giving some students a grade which is adjusted downwards would lower their standard of achievement when it actually needs to be raised. This will have the opposite effect to what is intended.'.

Surely more sense to direct attention to the younger children who need it (but not all - DC1 being an example - end of July but top few in class - wouldn't have been fair to give him extra input).

I agree with gabsid - this whole debate should not concentrate too much on early academic attainement which is irrelevant in the longterm, but on maturity: emotional, social, psychological development, not 'intelligence'.

My DS1, March 1st birthday, was clearly v bright and for a split second we thougth about applying to have him go to school early (in Scotland: by date of birth he was in the next year's intake, but we could've applied to have him start school aged 4.5 - which is still a lot older than some of the summerborn kids in the English system). However he still had spectacular tempertantrums, was very scared of various rather random things (dogs walking on leashes past our fenced garden, minding their own business, would trigger major melt-downs) and Just Was Not Ready. The fact that he had taught himself to read and was a wizard with numbers (he still spooks me in that respect) had nothing to do with it.
Many people were hmm that I 'held him back' - I don't feel I did. I concede, it was an easy thing to do in that I did not have 'to do' anything actively, just wait for his intake to come along. If he had been born on his due date, Valentine's Day, he'd've been in the previous years intake and I would have 'held him back', you bet your bottom dollar.

Yes, I think 6-7 is, for most children, the best age to start formal education.
But then again, I would say that, being German an'all, and having started school aged 6.4 grin.

Bonsoir Sun 12-May-13 12:27:37

Vocabulary is built primarily through exposure to a rich spoken language in the early years.

losingtrust Sun 12-May-13 12:18:54

Reading to your child and sharing picture books seems to be a good way to build vocabulary later in the school career.

losingtrust Sun 12-May-13 12:15:58

Gab. You are doing the right thing. The later you leave reading, the quicker it will come so why force it when kids are too young. IMO everything you are doing is far more important. Neither of mine were interested in reading until age 7 but they have no taken over all the early readers. My nephew taught himself about age 4 because he was interested and his parents read with him. No more help required. My DS taught himself to swim at 4 but gave up swmming at 11 because he could not keep up the speed. Early swimming like early reading does not mean you will be the best so why stream a child early as all kids develop differently - this is more the argument.

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