Summer Birthdays and Attainment?

(168 Posts)
Kendodd Fri 29-Mar-13 22:05:11

What to do? DD2 is only in reception, she has an end of August birthday. Is lower attainment throughout her school career inevitable? Is anything being done to address this?

Interestingly her big sister is in Y2, they have different 'tables' for different ability levels. All the children, apart from one, on the top table are September birthdays.

Lexiesinclair Fri 29-Mar-13 22:11:49

My DD has an end of August birthday and is in the top groups for literacy and numeracy. Her teacher has told me that she is workihng about a year ahead - ie she is in year 1 and doing work that year 2 pupils are doing. The other children on her table have birthdays at different times of the year.
I think perhaps where she does struggle is that she seems to get a lot more tired and emotional than other children, and doesn't want to do after school clubs etc that her friends do, but I think that will improve with time.

EvilTwins Fri 29-Mar-13 22:21:09

Not inevitable at all. My DTDs are July, but were prem (should have been August) and are on the top table for both literacy & numeracy. Recent parents evening - teacher said both are working at 3c for reading and 2a for writing & maths. They're in yr2 so are working just above expectation.

Kendodd Fri 29-Mar-13 22:33:56

That's all very well and good for your children but it doesn't change that fact that they are disadvantaged.

XBenedict Fri 29-Mar-13 22:36:16

My DS has an end of July birthday and has struggled since he started although it doesn't phase him, makes me sad though.

In my experience the gap narrows as they get older.

XBenedict Fri 29-Mar-13 22:39:10

Phase? Faze!! confused blush

DorisIsWaiting Fri 29-Mar-13 22:40:01

DD1 August birthday, not top table but next one down. working well. Yr1 was a write off for her due to split classes and being in with reception but she came into her own in Yr 2. (One of her best friends is also August born and similarly set)

DD2 July working well and reading above average but in a group of v strong girls so feels 'stupid' (she's really not!)

DD3 June born, already happy with phonics so I see no problems with her!

I don't believe it is ineveitable at all. One of my best friends at school had a August 28th birthday. She was in all top groups and was head girl.

XBenedict Fri 29-Mar-13 22:42:54

Interesting that all the dcs you talk about are girls, I think the gap is bigger for boys, i'm sure there are some boys that do very well but I think generally boys struggle more. I hope the gap does decrease as they get older smile

EvilTwins Fri 29-Mar-13 22:43:17

Um, you asked was it inevitable, I said not necessarily, so no need to the snippy "all well and good for you" comments. Clearly you're not interested, but I'm going to tell you anyway- DH and I both have August birthdays, in fact, his is August 29th AND he's male, and all the evidence points to summer born boys being the most disadvantaged, yet he manages to get a first class honours degree from a very good university. I only managed a 2.1, but given my late August birthday, it's a wonder I got any A Levels at all, let along the AAB grades I achieve. [bangry{

DorisIsWaiting Fri 29-Mar-13 22:43:36

At the end of the day depending on the cut off there will always be a group of children who are younger in the year. Historically as the end of August (in England) is the cut off Summer borns could be seen to be at a disadvantage. In Scotland it could be those at the end of November (iirc)

EvilTwins Fri 29-Mar-13 22:43:38

[bangry] even.

EvilTwins Fri 29-Mar-13 22:44:09

angry 3rd time lucky...

Kendodd Fri 29-Mar-13 22:48:31

I do wish they would just raise the school starting age, it seems that would solve a lot of the problems. I know that's not an option though or at least not one the government will consider.

EvilTwins Fri 29-Mar-13 22:50:11

But someone would still be the youngest, wouldn't they? hmm

Kendodd Fri 29-Mar-13 22:58:16

Yes they would but according to the link-

"In countries where they start a year older than the UK, the month effect is less marked and in countries where they start as late as seven, it completely washes out."

If children are kept playing in kindergarten until the age of six or seven, they are better equipped to cope with formal education, he adds.

Laura0806 Fri 29-Mar-13 23:06:31

Its not inevitable of course not, but the general trend is there are more likely to be a greater proportion of sept babies on the 'top table'. It is common sense as, at 4 , that (almost) year between sept and august born children is a quarter of their lives! But there are a huge number of exceptions to this and the gap closes. I have a bright year 2 July baby who is working 3 years ahead in reading and 1 year ahead in maths and writing. However, she was a very very late starter ( v shy and one of the poorest in maths, reading and writing throughout reception). However the gap closes hence where she is now. However, where would she be as a september baby? So no its not inevitable but its a definite disadvantage

Kendodd Fri 29-Mar-13 23:12:02

Does anyone have any suggestions, that I as a parent, can do to ease this disadvantage in any way?

One small blessing I suppose is that she's a girl, I think summer boys fair worse of all.

EvilTwins Fri 29-Mar-13 23:25:22

Do loads of stuff that will widen her experiences. We do the reading etc at home, but one of the things I reckon has made a difference with me is their confidence, and that is at least partly from to stuff we do with them. They do gymnastics, drama club and swimming out of school, so socialise with a lot of other children. We take the, out and about a lot and as a consequence they have a wide-ish knowledge. (Sorry, I'm aware that sounds smug) Also, because I work full time, they've always gone to breakfast & after school club and have mixed with older children, which has made the, very confident. When they started school, it was more the social maturity that worried me- they were still dressing up as princesses whilst their friends were watching "Victorious" and dancing to One Direction, but they seem fine. I honestly think that self-confidence has made the difference.

wheresthebeach Sat 30-Mar-13 00:17:26

Our school is similar - top table all the older kids. It creates hierarchies that are hard to break. Sure -there are always exceptions but generally the summer kids suffer. The main thing is to keep their confidence up.
The gap narrows over time but doesn't disappear until they're teenagers.

Ronaldo Sat 30-Mar-13 05:07:53

This is something that concerns me. I dont know about inevitablity but I do know that schools tend to label and hole kids young and that is difficult to getout of. I do know younger DC (maybe especially boys - I have a DS born August 27th) are less mature and I do think maturity plays a big part in primary education - I mean little things like just having the hands and co ordination to tie and cut and such.

Compared to DC of a similar age my DS is very able. Even compared to those a year older he is bright but he does not have their capacity comprehending the world. He is, if you like an innocent abroad, or naive.

I dont think it improves in education or work. I noticed ( and it was one reason why I have kept my DSin HE) is that DC born in the Michealmas term do seem to fill all the grammar school places as well as top tables in primary schools.

It is also an observable " fact" when I was at school myselfthat it seemedmost of those in SM were Suummer born -that is Trinity term borns or after Easter ie Late April onward.

Similarly I was observing just last week how many of the sixth form in my current classes were summer born pupils. They failedto make it to grammar school but had DP willing to shell out for their education it seems.

Also , among colleages I see a similar trend for the Michealmas born. I do not think this is a normal distribution and I am sure IQ is not so distributed.. I think it is skewed by them being plain arrogant and bossy over their younger peers and its a skill they retain lifelong..

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 30-Mar-13 05:31:56

I have one September and one August born child.

What I would say is that the data on attainment and age relative to peers is true at population level, and therefore there's no point in saying that it's not true based on anecdote (i.e. "that's bollocks cos my friend was born August 31 and went to Cambridge"). However, population level data shows trends but says nothing about the attainment of individual children.

I am not too worried about DD (august) being youngest as she is very confident, determined and task focused. At the same time, I would have been worried about DS (September) and would have probably kept him back (independent system in country I live in allows this) as I think he would be more likely to struggle (can lack concentration, bit of a daydreamer, etc)

So basically, I think it depends on the child. It's certainly not inevitable, although it is more likely, in general terms.

nooka Sat 30-Mar-13 05:51:18

I have an early September daughter who was more than ready for school when she started, and did very well indeed. We moved to Canada a few years ago and they have a different age cut off as they do it on calendar year. So effectively she went up half a year and is now amongst the younger children. She has continued to be at the top of the class and I wonder how much of that is because she expects to do well (she also works very hard and does what she is told which surely helps). I do think that confidence makes a huge difference.

Mominatrix Sat 30-Mar-13 07:56:57

DS is at an extremely selective London day prep which is the prep division of one of the big name senior schools (top 5 nationally). I have taken a quick look at his school list which lists birthdays and this is the breakdown:

September - 64
October - 52
November - 54
December - 54
January - 52
February - 30
March - 51
April - 35
May - 22
June - 30
July - 23
August - 24

So, although all months are represented, there seems to be a precipitous drop after March, with February being an anomaly.

I have too much time on my hands!

My twins are July born (but would have been end of August if born at term) so similar to EvilTwins.

DS3 never struggled, has always been one of the more able children in the year group of 90 (although also the smallest!)

DD did struggle to keep up when she first started school, but the gap narrowed very suddenly in Y3 and she is now (Y4) in middle sets for everything. The six months when the gap narrowed were hilarious: the teacher could barely keep up with her progress as she went up 4 NC sublevels in 6 months. smile

duchesse Sat 30-Mar-13 09:02:05

Mominatrix, on another thread recently, I posted something very similar. DD2 (27th July) is at a very selective secondary school albeit with much smaller year groups than yours. In her year, she was the youngest by nearly 2 months for a long time until another girl joined the school. Most of DD's friends and in the entire year group of 50 are already 16, as most of their birthdays fall before the Spring term, February at the latest. There is only a sparse sprinkling of girls born in the summer term. A couple of the girls have August birthdays but were put down a year by their parents (so will be 17 in August)

Whether this is caused in part by determinism and lower expectations that have built up through the primary years leading up to the entrance exam, or whether it truly reflects lower ability I do not know.

duchesse Sat 30-Mar-13 09:03:29

Having said that, my 27th August dd3 seems more than ready for school in a lot of ways (apart from the fact she still needs a daytime nap every few days).

creamteas Sat 30-Mar-13 09:11:08

Unless we stop educating children in 'years' the youngest will always be at some disadvantage overall, but how much will vary depending on the child. My summer born boys have always been in the top groups/sets academically, and I think this is probably because they were full-time in nursery so were much better placed to settle into school than children that hadn't.

I think there is a much bigger impact in sports which work by age group though, and it is a lot harder to overcome this than academic barriers.

wearingpurple Sat 30-Mar-13 09:15:06

In dd2's class (y3) her top group consists of 3 summer borns, 2 spring borns and 1 autumn born. So lower attainment throughout school career is far from inevitable. (Having said that, her class is unusual in that over a third have July or August birthdays.)

montmartre Sat 30-Mar-13 09:33:03

so, you admit that by aged 7 the disadvantages are ironed out, yet you're worrying about this affecting your child for the whole of their school career? hmm

FWIW, the month of birth ceases to be important in the factors that impact on attainment. The important factors by 7 are gender, poverty, ethnicity, and prior attainment. So if you're a poor bangladeshi boy, the odds are seriously stacked against you, but of course each individual makes their own path of progress. Parental input is the key.

montmartre Sat 30-Mar-13 09:36:29

Oops, I meant "month of birth ceases to be important... by age 7" sorry.

There must still be a small difference at age 10, because the average scores at 11+ do vary by birth month, which is why they have to use age standardisation so that a child's score is only compared against others born in the same month.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 30-Mar-13 09:41:55

ThreeBeeOneGee.....I can really relate to that! The speed at the gap narrowing I's in year 4 that my DDs gap narrowed...My Dd born late July is in year 4 and you can physically see the difference between her and some of the girls...they're all long legged and looking older and she and some others are still baby faced.

BUT the gap is narrowing with massive speed, the teacher says "It's like a light has been switched on"...only this year has DD begun to come into her own academically. She's now in the top ten % for reading and spelling and her levels in maths are above national average.

it WILL narrow OP just keep encouraging and remembering that year...

auntevil Sat 30-Mar-13 10:09:51

Yes, I think there are slight issues with maturity, but the biggest difference to how younger DCs develop is parental attitude.
From those parents who don't read with their DCs or take any interest in academic issues, to those that make excuses for attitude/behaviour as being solely due to being the youngest, this is far more likely to affect attainment over the years.
I have a DS born in each of the 3 terms. So far, I have noticed very little difference between their academic abilities or their behaviour.

Kendodd Sat 30-Mar-13 16:49:14

"so, you admit that by aged 7 the disadvantages are ironed out, yet you're worrying about this affecting your child for the whole of their school career? hmm"

No, that's not what I said.

If school start is delayed until age 7, as it is in some countries, no difference is seen, because we start so young in the UK, our summer children never completely close the gap, affecting their whole school career, and life chances. Less likely to go to a top university, play professional sport etc.

auntevil Sat 30-Mar-13 17:00:24

If you are genuinely that worried about the gap not closing, there are alternatives. Have you thought about HE?

EvilTwins Sat 30-Mar-13 17:41:16

OP, you seem determed that your child will be less successful because of this. As an August born child, married to another August born, with premature July babies, it never occurred to me that my DTDs would be at an automatic disadvantage for ever. Perhaps parental attitude is part of it. As I said up thread, my children are on the top table for everything. One of their best friends has her birthday right at the beginning of September and so is almost a full year older, but she struggles to keep up.

You seem convinced that your child will always be behind. Perhaps therein lies the problem.

Suzieismyname Sat 30-Mar-13 18:06:00

Ken, my DD1 is an August born and I worry just like you. I completely get what you're saying about other countries starting school at 7. I wish it were the case here... it makes me so angry that all the Autumn term born children have such an advantage, they don't have to play catch up at all.
From what I've managed to read the main thing to focus on is confidence.

Kendodd Sat 30-Mar-13 18:20:29

It's not just my child I worry about, it's all summer born (in England) children, especially boys. The few summer born boys in my DD's class seem to have a really hard time, in that they just can't sit still, imo they are just too young to be expected to.

This is a know disadvantage that the government seems completely uninterested in trying to do something about. I think a lot of my view, which admittedly is colouring my judgement is that I think we just send our children to school too young in the uk.

Insistently, I am happy with DD2 progress (still wish she could have had an extra year or two at pre-school though) her teacher told me she did a phonics test with the children recently and DD2 came first despite being the youngest.

Kendodd Sat 30-Mar-13 18:21:15

So no, I'm not a teacher, I can't HE.

Badvoc Sat 30-Mar-13 18:29:55

My ds1 is a summer born and has struggled since reception. He is making progress now in year 5.
Ds2 is September born and will turn 5 two weeks after starting school in September.
It will be very interesting to compare....
Ds2 is already streets ahead of ds1 wrt knowing his letter sounds, numbers etc. He can write his own name, numbers up to 20 etc.
He is also more able from a physical pov.

LIZS Sat 30-Mar-13 18:30:10

dd is a relatively high attaining August b'day so no not inevitable. Also know of Septembers in the year group ahead. Reception is very young to worry overly. In countries where they start "later" there is still a cut off date and you find children repeating year/s and/or being sidelined at 11/12 into a potentially lower attaining system.

teacherwith2kids Sat 30-Mar-13 19:26:07

I believe - mrz will probably be able to link to the research - that the historic lower attainment of summer-born children is due to the prevalence (until recently) of staggered start dates, which saw summer borns not starting school until Easter.

It will be interesting, when the current cohorts of 'single entry' children reach the age when they take substantial qualifications, whether that gap will have closed.

IME from teaching, I could not tell, by Year 3 at a school which had single entry, which children were born at which time in the year, either by physical. emotional or academic measures.

montmartre Sat 30-Mar-13 20:25:02

3B1G- I'm not sure that there is a difference anymore by 11; as teacherw2k says- previously children had staggered starts in school, and this may have been to account for that. I know for a fact that the grammar schools in my authority have cohorts that are skewed towards younger children because of this calculation, suggesting that actually nowadays it is anachronistic, and should be changed. I do not believe that the distribution of intelligence is skewed in favour of summer-borns, indeed I believe research has shown it is actually the opposite, that in fact winter-born children are more intelligent, something to do with survival of the fittest from harsh winters.

At age 7, month of birth and season of birth are not significant factors in impacting on attainment. I know this from analysing cohorts of 14,000 children and their end of KS1 attainment. The significant factors at 7 are gender, poverty, ethnicity, prior attainment.

Talkinpeace Sat 30-Mar-13 20:49:12

DS is late august lazy little toad of a boy - back to back top sets in his v big school

there are lies, damned lies and statistics
and SOMEBODY has to be the youngest in any class ......

formicaqueen Sat 30-Mar-13 21:14:46

Having seen my DS go up through the school, I would say that initially in reception ability tables generally had younger ones at the bottom and older ones at the top. HOWEVER DS is in year 5 now and all ability tables have mixed summer/winter/autumn/spring births. There were lots of very bright younger children and less able older kids in the same class. The brighter younger ones generally had quite academic-ish parents and were book worms!

I think that reading (DS reading and being read to) is key to fulfilling potential. Forget writing practice at home!! Make sure the books are exciting/interesting and completely addictive though. Child has to want to read. My DS has accumulated vast amount of knowledge/story scenarios/language/spelling etc from all the fictional and non fictional books he reads. I recon he would have been quite average if he wasn't a book worm. We encouraged a love of books from an early age by finding him books that he really enjoyed and interested him.

However it has been proven that younger children are less likely to go to UNI and get top A levels. Can't remember the percentages of the top of my head sorry.

StephofArc Sat 30-Mar-13 22:05:29

I'm a secondary school teacher. IMO the gap narrows out more and more as they get older, by the time they get to GCSE what matters more is how much time and effort they're willing to put in. I really wouldn't stress about it.

Badvoc Sun 31-Mar-13 09:33:22

My son is 10 this year and he did a staggered start...
When did that stop?

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 13:38:05

From 2011–12 school year admission authorities for primary schools must provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday.

parents can request that the date their child is admitted to the school is deferred until later in the school year or until the child reaches compulsory school age in that school year;

parents can request that their child attends part-time until the child reaches compulsory school age.

DS2 started Reception in the January of 2007, at the beginning of the term in which he turned five.

DS3 and DD started Reception in the September of 2008, even though they had only just turned four.

So our local school stopped staggered entry in 2007. The last summer born children in our area to have have had a delayed start in Reception are now in Y6.

Kendodd Sun 31-Mar-13 14:34:19

OP, you seem determed that your child will be less successful because of this.

That's a really horrible thing to say... but I am going to listen to it. I do feel really annoyed that she IS disadvantaged because of this but I'm going to have to watch that my worry/anger doesn't spill over into lower expectations for her. I feel sure I haven't let this happen yet though. She is also the youngest in our family, although very close in age to her siblings.

She seems to be doing very well academic side (I would think that though!) but her emotional intelligence just isn't there yet. Her teacher agrees. She has learnt to read quite easily and is physically tall which I think helps. I should add that's she's also the best looking grin really she is though!

I got quite annoyed with this thread early on because it just seemed to be a place to boast about how well your summer born children were doing.

Elibean Sun 31-Mar-13 14:46:55

Kendod, Reception is far too early to extrapolate anything at all in terms of 'througout school careers'.

My dd's best friend is August born, and has been fairly middling in attainment throughout KS1 - but is catching up now, half way through KS2. Her mother worries about disadvantage too, but it really does get less obvious as time goes on.

Also, in a good school, your daughter's progress will count far more than anything else - education is not a competition (though tell that to MN wink).

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 14:52:29

Historically summer born children started school one or two terms after their older classmates so they were playing catch up from their first moment in school.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:54:55

I am very dubious about any " advantage " being gained by making a child who is barely past 4 years old go to school with peers who are five plus as being any way of improving their outcomes.

I dont think they catch up as aresult of being put into that cut and thrust. They get bullied more often I think.

I do think there is an argument for waiting until all children are older ( ie rising 7) before putting them into education. I think that the maturity at that age and the readiness for understanding rules makes it a time when immaturities and other issues which are clearly age defined.

Of course that doesnt suit an economic stiuation where parents need to park their kids off at far too young an age in school babysitting but thats another issue

Badvoc Sun 31-Mar-13 17:00:35

Hmmmm interesting, thanks
I deeply regret not deferring ds1s entry sad

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 17:23:41

I know you were bullied as a child jabed but it is much less common than your experience would suggest.

Even if school starting age was changed to rising 7 there will always be that age gap of almost a year in any class.

In my present class one of the most confident and able child is a boy with an August 31st birthday ... not only has he caught up but he has left some of his older classmates standing and IMHE this isn't unusual.

Badvoc Sun 31-Mar-13 17:27:44

I am hopeful that by year 7 it will not be obvious that he has a summer b day

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:30:51

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Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:33:11

Badvoc, it is my opinion and experience that by 7 many issues are sorted. However, I do not think the " gap" is fully closed before 12 or 13 - and even then maybe not so in many instances.

I do think a later start helps. Kids do compare and they do ask why someone elsedoesbetter than they do, and too often at a young age, it is simply an age related matter, nothing to to with any academic or future potential.

NaturalBaby Sun 31-Mar-13 17:35:25

I have an August boy and he is further ahead than other kids in his year because he has a big brother. Some kids will fit the trends, others won't. Try to focus on your child's strengths and weaknesses rather than her birth date.

If you are concerned about your child's reading, writing, numbers then there are plenty of activities you can do at home.

Have you spoken to the teacher about your concerns? We get a sheet of ideas once a term for things to do at home to encourage our dc's based on what they are doing at school.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 17:37:57

jabed you have stated numerous times you were bullied as a child so how is repeating that fact making things up?

hwjm1945 Sun 31-Mar-13 17:39:05

I have Sept born DD1 who is to table and May born DD2 who is middling. Second born is v trombonist.down to wearing boys underpants etc.running swimming are het things,getting her to read is a struggle.I think they are equally bright in terms of raw material so I think Sept does count for something but not everything

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:40:33

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Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:41:08

I was not bulliedasa five year old - thats stretching things lady!

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 17:41:49

Where did I say you were bullied at five years of age jabed?

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 17:47:11

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mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 17:52:01

perhaps all your teachers were like you jabed ... and for the record I was not implying any such thing.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 17:53:50

and as to your son I suggested that as a normal four year old his fine and gross motor skills might need some fun activities to improve his handwriting as you posted his teacher had raised concerns. If you can't see the difference I pity you.

nooka Sun 31-Mar-13 18:07:14

What an absolutely grim view of special needs. My son still at 13 has handwriting problems. He is not 'subnormal' he just has some specific difficulties. Just yuck really.

Mrs I was curious about the rationale for not staggering. I was very glad that my ds started school a term later (May birthday) he found school hard enough when he started and from the point of view of confidence would probably have done better starting school like dd at very nearly five.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:18:37

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Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:22:06

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mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:23:20

You said his teacher was concerned that he wasn't using enough pressure when writing and I suggested monkey bars and wheelbarrow walking and a 2b pencil so he could make a satisfying mark with less pressure ... you took offence.
If I remember you accused me of having a vested interest

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:26:08

Ronaldo - my DS, as an exceptionally able 4 / 5 year old in Reception, had trouble with fine (not gross) motor skills.

He benfitted hugely both from fun activities to improve these as well as techniques that allowed him to record his complex maths work in a larger form.

All children, however able, have slkills which they may need to develop - whether they be academic, social, motor - and any good teacher not only identifies the srengths (in my DS's case, his academic skills) but also looks at ways to improve areas which are not so strong. 'Special Needs' doesn't come into it - it is just good teaching. Poor fine motor skills imply absolutely nothing ab out a child's intellectual capabilities - though sttengthening a child's fine motor skills can improve their ability to represent their intellectual activity in a legible written form....

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:26:23

I said ( and it wasnt on MN as I recall) that the teacher had made a comment to my DW which we couldnt understand as it did not appear to be the case at home and asked for some advice.

I guess you stung me for asking the latter.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:27:58

teacherwith2kids, what happened in my DS'scasewasthat his ( so called) teacher hadmade an error and it later came out she had confused him with another DC. In fact she didnt even have any idea who my DS was when we got round to questioning the matter.

However, that never stops some people does it?

sheeplikessleep Sun 31-Mar-13 18:28:02

As a mum to be, expecting Ds3 end of August, this thread makes depressing reading. I am worrying a lot about this. My DH says that I need to consider our DS will be advantaged in so many ways, we live in a decent area, with parents who care about education, not in poverty etc. So to be blunt, all the other 'disadvantage' factors aren't there. It's still worrying me though.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:28:50

No jabed I didn't make any comment about about the piano rude or otherwise

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:29:34

If you can find any rude remarks I made about your son I will be amazed

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:29:35

and I am sure teacherwith2kids, you will be pleased to hear me report that my DS does not have any such difficuties now even though we didnt intervene with that so called remedial action.

It seems he didnt ever have a problem.

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:29:43

I still don't quite understand, Ronaldo / jabed, how mrz's comments were anything other than intended to be helpful to an obviously able child who might potetnially need some work on fine motor skills? Certainly I doubt any diagnosis of SEN was made..... as further developing fine motor skills age 4 is something that almost all children need to do, at whatever position in the 'academic spectrum' they may come.

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:31:04

I'm glad that it turned out OK. So did my son, who did also hugely enjoy all the games we played to help him along the way...

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:31:24

sheeplikessleep listen to your husband

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:31:38

Yes, and with that mrz, I would just add to others - dont bother asking anything on TES. They are not a very bunch of teachers and I am sure you can see that here.

Now where did I put that spreadsheet...? hmm

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 18:32:56

Well, teacherwith2kids, it would have been more helopful to me hasd she told us to go and see the school about the comment first. I would have been quicker on the ball of the problem if she had.

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:35:29

Have read the original thread now. Mrz has posted that list of activities many times - never with the intention to imply that any child has SEN, but always with the aim of suggesting a wide range of activities that can develop fine motor skills through activities that may also be fun to the child (not all for all children, of course, hence the length of the list). How did you extrapolate from that list that Mrz was implying that your son had SEN??

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:37:18

She may, of course, have assumed that you - as a teacher, even though not a primary school one - would naturally approach the teacher about the problem before posting it on a forum?? I know that would always be my first instinct, even before I did my teacher training...

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:40:16

(Also, unless I am mistaken, the thread was started by you stating that you had had a conversation with the teacher ....?)

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:41:15

"it would have been more helopful to me hasd she told us to go and see the school about the comment first"
Your opening post on the TES thread in question jabed concluded with the sentence "I did ask but I got the broken record response." perhaps I was wrong in assuming from this you had already asked the teacher about the comment?

sheeplikessleep Sun 31-Mar-13 18:42:28

Mrz - I do try to, but I'm a born worrier. I open up threads like this to see if there is anything practical I can do to try to counterbalance the effect. I come away just feeling guilty and worrying! Although pregnancy hormones don't help.

teacherwith2kids Sun 31-Mar-13 18:44:26

Apologies, OP, we are derailing your thread. I does seem a little odd to me that a pistrer who taught his son to read and write before starting Reception, as well as the piano from 3, should bewail the early start date of education and suggest deferring it to 7, so perhaps best to focus on the ideas from other posters?

(And also, whatever your worries, make certain that these are not communicated to your child. The only summer-born I currently teach who is in any way disadvantaged by his birthdate is the one who, when asked to do something hard 'oh, I can't do that, I'm younger than everyone else, you see'... and after raising it with the parents at parents' evening it is clear that they have always told him 'you can't be expected to succeed like the others, because you're the youngest in the year'. He is, in fact, very able, but this attitude gets int he way of the effort needed to put this ability into practical form!)

EvilTwins Sun 31-Mar-13 18:52:15

OP, I didn't intend to brag when I first posted about my own children, merely to reassure you that it is not inevitable that summer-born children will be disadvantaged throughout their education.

I teach secondary and would be hard-pushed to tell you who was the oldest/youngest in my classes. I'd have to look it up.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:52:40

My apologies too OP

Badvoc Sun 31-Mar-13 19:21:40

Well my son does have sen and that is nothing to do with the month he was born.
He has friends with similar sen who are all sept/dec babies....
There is so much you can do to help wrt handwriting (write form the start for example) and with reading (dancing bears for example) and spelling and punctuation (apples and pears for example).
I am astounded that mrz is being criticised!!
She/he has only ever been very helpful and a source of great common sense ime,
And why is a child having sen seen as such a terrible thing? Yes my son has had to overcome difficulties, but he is doing well and is happy.
Sen does not have to mean unfulfilled potential!

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 19:28:42

Whenever I look at the relevant studies they seem to say that the age disadvantage is worrying no matter how late the usual starting age is.

USA (1 year later starting date like OP wants).

Italy (1 yr later, too).


Better to have an education system that doesn't decide clever or vocational track too early. (Oh wait, England still has the 11+ in some areas).

summer-born DS is too emotionally immature, but he would still be too immature even if he was with the year group below. His problems are bigger than his place in the year group.

You asked what to do: being a supportive interested parent is The Most important factor. I think you can find plenty of studies to show that.

I also apologise if my comment came across as bragging; it was intended to reassure the OP that even with summer-born children who are behind when they start Reception, the gap often narrows as they progress through junior school. We were very concerned about DD when she was younger, and now that she is more confident academically, it's sometimes easy to forget how concerned we were.

ronaldoscattered Sun 31-Mar-13 19:52:29

Well I guess I said something to upset someone ( again?) but rather than dealwith me, you just had me shut up. OK, I got the message ( even if MN HQ didnt write and explain it).

I acknowldege I have some strong opinions but that shouldnt be an excuse to play thought police surely?

I guess its the ultimate way of making sure you win the argument is it?

Anyway, goodbye mrz.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 20:08:49


Schmedz Sun 31-Mar-13 21:00:12

No way is having an August birthday associated with always having low attainment! I teach in a selective school and the top students in a number of year groups are those who are either the youngest or have July/August birthdays. My own birthday is at the end of August and I was a very high academic achiever (top 5% A Level results).
Other posters are correct that it probably does depend a lot on the individual child, but surely also on the expectations that are communicated to that child from adults around them!
Possibly the biggest issues for younger children are social/physical and surely more pronounced in EYFS and KS1 than much beyond. Not based on any scientific research, just general observation and personal experience.
So, in response to the OP, I just can't see how lower attainment is inevitable based on birthdate alone.

voddiekeepsmesane Sun 31-Mar-13 21:57:24

Not "inevitable" as you put it. I agree with many other posters that it also depends on other factors.

wheresthebeach Sun 31-Mar-13 22:35:06

Try not to compare your child to others - it doesn't help anyone - esp you.
If you DC has an area that needs working on then put in the extra time early so they don't get behind (I wish we'd intervened earlier with DDs spelling as it impacted on her attainment in KS1 and setting only reaffirms hierarchies in class). She's catching up now which is great but my new motto is 'don't worry -take action instead!'

averyyoungkitten Mon 01-Apr-13 08:36:06

Try not to compare your child to others - it doesn't help anyone - esp you

That’s very much the attitude on MN isn’t it? Certainly do not compare yours to others where others may be found wanting. No, that attitude doesn’t help anyone, and it doesn’t help me at all. Fortunately my DD is an early summer born and may not be as affected as others but I certainly think there is an affect too. If your DC are able anyway it is less likely to cause problems or to be noticed. But where is the support here for those of us who have DC who are differently abled in the intellectual arena? It seems having a DC of high intelligence is the one and only unspeakable on MN. I remind myself not to brag. sad

Badvoc Mon 01-Apr-13 09:54:36

Children are compared to each other from the moment they enter pre school!
Do you think it was nice for me to realise my son was at the bottom of his class!?
I have to be frank with you, I don't give a flying fuck what little jimmy is doing, but I do care when my child is obv struggling.
I tried asking the school for nowhere.
So helped him myself.
He is now in year 5 and, whilst he will never win a nobel prize, he is academically exactly where he should be for his age.
It's been a ling hard slog, and I have had no help at all from school.
And that is all too common ime sad

iseenodust Tue 02-Apr-13 11:43:26

No it is not inevitable. However, DS late Aug birthday recently sat an 8+ entrance examination and the school said that they age adjust the results for a more accurate picture. They clearly think there is still a gap in KS2.

I agree work on confidence/social skills including out of school. DS has got huge amounts out of sport unrelated to school: A group of friends where no-one cares what literacy table you are on. His hand eye coordination is great for his age. An unintentional benefit was he was the first in his class to be able to tie shoelaces (because I couldn't find football boots big enough with velcro fastenings).

mrz Tue 02-Apr-13 11:53:36

Most formal testing includes age standardised scores regardless of KS

iseenodust Tue 02-Apr-13 14:45:38

That's interesting to learn how it works, thanks mrz. Am I right in thinking that is not used though in SATS in primary schools (clearly not the teacher assessment elements)?

mrz Tue 02-Apr-13 14:55:59

No because the levels are based on skills not scores and the skills are linked to stages rather than ages.

iseenodust Tue 02-Apr-13 15:03:23

Slowly understanding dawns !

Kendodd Fri 10-May-13 12:05:32

Here we go, found the link,

It says-

Early years specialist Dr David Whitebread, from the University of Cambridge, says one possible solution would be to increase the age at which children start school.

Children in the UK start school much earlier than most of their European counterparts. Dr Whitebread says research has shown that the later children start formal education, the less marked the month effect is.

"In countries where they start a year older than the UK, the month effect is less marked and in countries where they start as late as seven, it completely washes out."

If children are kept playing in kindergarten until the age of six or seven, they are better equipped to cope with formal education, he adds.

lljkk Sat 11-May-13 14:36:28

ZOMBIE thread.

I think I'd like an automatic HIDE for all these threads.
I think I linked to Norwegian & Italian studies earlier where they still find an age-related effect in spite of starting 2 yrs later.

If you're really bothered then campaign for flexible starting dates, but the system will be abused, and perpetuate social inequities too, I promise you.

Bumpsadaisie Sat 11-May-13 14:45:47

Think it depends on the child really though am sure the general findings of the research hold true.

I was end of aug, and was top of the class all through school and went to Cambridge. My dd is nearly 4 and starts in September. She can read and write a bit already and I know she is going to be further ahead than some of her peers who are autumn born, most of whom have not gone further than writing their name so far.

I think it will be things like tiredness and the ability to keep gripped and emotionally continent where DDs immaturity will show. She does still lapse into toddler style hysterics about minor things, esp if she is tired. Also in physical stuff, although dd is tall, she is less physically confident and co-ordinated than her older friends.

Kendodd Mon 08-Jul-13 11:11:03

Good News! Sorry can't help myself from boasting. DD2 is the top reader in her class and the only child on her book band, there are only two children on the book band below her, interestingly both September birthdays. Her teacher described her as 'exceptionally good' to another mum!

I am so pleased, even if it's just early flowering and she moves more towards the middle in later years I think the fact that she's ahead now means that she won't be stuck on the lower tables just because she's young.

Oh, and she won two out of three races at sports day smile

CarpeVinum Mon 08-Jul-13 11:18:22

DS is an August baby. When we changed to British school last year, between it being his first time being in an all English educational envirment, living overseasa so not having the constant language reinforcement and the late summer birthday I popped him back a year.

I think it has played a not insignificant part in how well the last academic year went.

camptownraces Tue 09-Jul-13 08:05:19

mominatrix -

it looks as if you could be hinting at this very selective school's failure to age standardise the scores in their entrance exam !

Makes a big difference at younger ages.

Recent research from British Psychological Society shows higher identification of SEN for those with later birthdays. Which begs the question somewhat...

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 09-Jul-13 08:23:36

Who knows how things will go in the future, but right now my Kate August DD is top table for everything in her year - and has been throughout primary school. There is no inevitability about August born kids being behind all the time.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 09-Jul-13 08:23:55

late August. Bloody iPad.

alreadytaken Tue 09-Jul-13 09:18:44

To go back to the original question lower attainment throughout the school career is not inevitable. However there is a known problem with children who have summer birthdays having lower attainment and the effect persisting at GSCE level. It virtually disappears at A level. So it is vitally important that the parent is aware of this and promotes confidence in the child.

A child who is on the top table can still be performing at a level below the one they will reach in 6 months, their potential may be under-estimated and they may not receive enough stimulation. However they will at least have the advantage of not losing as much confidence. They may still need all the help you can give on physical issues.

FormaLurka Wed 10-Jul-13 08:07:20

Before I joined MN I wasn't even aware this was an issue. Both DP, myself and the kids are summer born and we are or were doing well academically.

nothingnew Wed 10-Jul-13 14:22:11

dd1 's birthday is July. she didn't do well in infant school at all. But the gap has narrowed during junior school. Now she is in middle groups. But then she is like Laura0806's dc she is very shy and quiet. I have been doing a lot of background work to support her though. Fortunately dd work hard and want to do well although not a competitive type dd likes to please the adults around her. Without the extra work that I have been doing with her I am not sure if she would be able to catch up. Although now her literacy is a couple of years ahead of nc. I still believe that summer born children are of disadvantaged on the whole.

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 09:55:46

nothing - If your DD was born three months earlier for example I suspect that she would still be very shy and quiet.

Some kids aren't as mature as their classmates. Some aren't as numerate, literate or co-ordinated as their classmates. Parents with older kids accept it while parents with younger kids go on about its because they are summer born.

The experts tell us it is so, goes the argument. Well, if I had the time or inclination I could probably finds experts who disagree but anecdotes will have to suffice in their absence. In my extended family I have relations who range from having no qualifications to having a Msc and a MBA. Their maturity and academic/professional success has no correlation with when they were born. Looking at the kids in my DCs's classes, past and present, I see no correlation either.

Copthallresident Thu 11-Jul-13 10:38:22

My DD1 is a late June baby and in her friendship group at a very selective secondary there were two born in each of June, July and August. They certainly haven't been held back by late birthdays. When she started school she got very tired but didn't progress any more slowly.

DD2 is a November baby and has always been very tall and strong for her age. If anything I think she is the one who has suffered from the timing of her birth. There has been an expectation of maturity and she was constantly compared to the older DCs in the class.

Lilymaid Thu 11-Jul-13 10:45:33

Lower attainment for August babies isn't a given. I have an August born DS who was probably intellectually immature for his school year (though emotionally and physically mature). He has caught up from being average - his main problem was retaining what he had learnt - and is now on course for a high 2:1 in his degree.
We spent a lot of time with him ensuring that he picked up the basics. It is all well and good saying that they will catch up, but it is difficult to do that if you haven't got a good grasp of what is taught in the earliest school years.
BTW his best friend at primary school was born 31st August and was always top of the class.

nothingnew Thu 11-Jul-13 10:54:00

Some kids mature earlier, some later and many are in between. So the early matured summer babies would be least affected than the late ones. If being summer baby plus mature late or not earlier enough than that child would be disadvantaged at the beginning. My dc is shy it is a personality thing nothing to do with maturity. The fact my dc is more a thinker and observer also very cautious when approach tasks and people. Since dc move up groups her confidence has grown and become least shy but still quiet. Nine months to a year is a big age gap in very young children in general. It is a common sense. Of course being summer babies is not the end of the world they can still go on to get MA, Dr or in some very skilful trades or whatever in twenty years time. Who knows?! But just that some may have a slower start. I am being objective and not that interested in whatever academic qualifications people’s families have.

Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 10:59:16

Certainly has been the case for my ds1 (10) who is a June born.
Ds2 is a sept born and although he doesn't start reception until August I can see already that he is far ahead of ds1 at the same age sad

Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 10:59:36

And, yes I do think the gap is wider for boys.
They mature later.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 11:04:00

nothing I don't think you are being objective at all, I think you are being very subjective. Its not a case of post hoc ergo propter hoc. The two issues - being a slow starter (and possibly a slow continuer too) and being summer born are two separate issues. People who try to conflate them often cause more problems - in terms of trying to dictate expectations - than they solve. You may not care what academic qualifications other people's families have - but why should we care about the specific characteristics of your daughter which you seem determined to put down to being summer born, when we are summer born ourselves and parents to summer born children?

lucamom Thu 11-Jul-13 11:12:26

My August 29th boy is coming to the end of reception and is achieving well.

I did worry about him being just 4 and looked into keeping him back, but where we are he wouldn't join the following class for reception, he would go straight into yr1 and bd the youngest again (with children who've been there a year and made friendship groups etc).

After seeing my younger sister (Aug 8th) do better than myself & DB, I feel that position in the family has a strong influence on whether summer borns will suffer. If they have older siblings it deals with the self-confidence issue and means they naturally strive to achieve (in my very humble opinion)

nothingnew Thu 11-Jul-13 11:28:19

I just clarify that my dc being shy has got nothing to do with which month she was born. No no one has care about my dc personality issue at all. But because someone made a comment about that no matter when she was born she would still be shy any why so I just responded to that comment. I am just tired about people go on and on about their adults’ high level academic qualifications while the focus is supposed to on children.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 11:32:03

DH is scottish and I don't understand why we can't move over to the Scottish system. The cut off is end of February so the youngest child starting school in aug is 4.5. Whereas in England, some children only turn 4 days before starting school. It would make a big difference IMO.

Having taught for 10yrs before having kids, I then planned autumn babies. Mine are sept, nov, oct and oct. of course I was lucky in terms of fertility and may have changed my mind if dc1 had been difficult to conceive but I certainly was well aware that I would hopefully be giving them a little advantage or rather making sure they were not disadvantaged.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 11:34:06

How many high achieving primary school summer born children do you need to hear about before you accept that each child is different and when you were born need not have any impact on how you do at school?

If I was basing my views on my own life, I'd be saying that kids born between September - December were destined to be the lower achieving ones in families, and kids born May - August were destined to be the academic stars. And that is no more true than any other generalist theory. Summer born children are now in many cases being forced into participating in self fulfilling prophecies by parents and educationalists and it's both shortsighted and wrongheaded, IMO.

nothingnew Thu 11-Jul-13 11:49:29

Summer born children can level up with the rest with extra support/time or the ability gap gets narrower as the time goes. However in general the younger the children are the more obvious the gap is. It is a common sense. I am talking about in GENERAL not in specific cases.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 12:04:00

It's not common sense at all, it's what some people are invested in believing, because they are looking for some kind of 'excuse'. Being summer born is not some kind of handicap.

nothingnew Thu 11-Jul-13 12:12:46

Say whatever! I gave up!

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 12:13:54

My DCs have lots of cousins, some of whom are a few years older. So they have always been used to being around older kids, even before they started school.

We did numeracy and literacy with them at home prior to them starting school.

As far as we were concerned, there was no 'gap'.

Boggler Thu 11-Jul-13 12:31:33

There is corroborated evidence that shows without a doubt that children born in the summer months ie June July and August have a harder time starting school and tend to have lower attainment than children born at other times of the year - fact.

That is not to say that there aren't clever August children or
September ones who struggle but on the whole the statistics are borne out in every school in Britain up to year 2. Schools even keep separate stats for summer children because the difference is so marked.

The problem is not that summer babes take longer to reach their potential (usually around 7 when the playing field levels out) but that in the intervening years their confidence is sapped and they see themselves as 'not clever' and stop trying as they can't catch those on the top table. In addition physically they are often less able than the older ones simply because they have had less time to perfect their walking, jumping skipping and their muscles etc are not as mature.

I think that it's astonishing that although we know that summer children have a harder time at school nothing is suggested to help them. Yes you can defer school until after 5th birthday but most schools insist that they then start in year 1 not reception so they are even further behind. Yet the older ones have a full extra 6 months of nursery so no wonder they do better.

Perhaps it's time for a mumsnet campaign to get Gove to allow children to start in reception if they defer a year.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 12:35:34

Boggler They are often treated differently. So it's no wonder. Many primary schools with dual form entry or split year classes put the younger ones all together possibly with kids from the year below. It's become a self fulfilling prophecy. They give them different work, they discourage them from reaching their potential. Plenty of older kids start slow too, nobody ever ascribes that to their age.

Boggler Thu 11-Jul-13 12:44:10

Sorry russians I have to disagree, it's not a new finding teachers have aways known it. In ds's school summer children actually start before the older ones so they have a tiny advantage in the first weeks but it doesn't affect the overall attainment of the group.

It's common sense that hey will struggle a bit in a lot of cases there is almost a year between pupils, and a cohort with a higher than average number of summer children will not perform as well as one with a more balanced ratio of ages.

There will always be children that go against the statistics but generally on the whole summer children do not do as well. A friends mother is a returned headteacher and when she heard that dd was due on 31 August she begged me to hold on until September - as its makes such a huge difference. That's a headteacher of over 30 years teaching experience!

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 12:51:27

I went to primary school 40 years ago. and they were treating summer borns differently even then. It's a self fulfilling prophecy and always has been. an educationalist decided it was so and then set out to make it so. and did quite well, through dint of getting loads of parents on his side.

Boggler Thu 11-Jul-13 12:57:39

And the evidence to back up up your view is where exactly Russians?

alreadytaken Thu 11-Jul-13 13:46:01

It's not a self-fulfilling prophecy, quite the opposite. If children who do badly simply because they are less mature are told its nothing to do with their age they lose confidence. If told they will reach the same level as their older friends in a few months they keep their confidence.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 13:55:08

Why on earth would anyone want summer born children to achieve less than autumn born children? They simply do, in the infants at least, because they are almost 1yr younger which is quite a lot at that age. My Dd1's birthday is sept 4th. There is a child in her class whose birthday is aug 30th. How could that child's be expected to be at the same level when dd1 was 5 the day she started school and the other child had just turned 4 the previous week?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 14:00:52

already If bright children who are one or two years ahead of their peers are forced to do (much) lower level work than they are capable of, purely because of their date of birth, because some people have a bee in their bonnet about those children being behind even though they clearly aren't, then there is indeed a self fulfilling prophecy, and the younger children are held back all through their primary years. It shouldn't happen, but it does.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 14:02:51

MaryKatharine My DD2's birthday is late August. She is rather above the level of all the September born children in her school year (and indeed most of the September born children in the year above). Lazy generalisations don't help anybody. Some August children do well, some do badly and it isn't anything to do with when they were born.

Boggler Thu 11-Jul-13 14:08:17

Evidence please Russans not anecdotes, you have no evidence other than your own children which statically is worthless.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 14:23:06

I agree with boggler!
You are simply using the data of your own child whereas I am basing it on 20yrs of teaching experience so no lazy generalisations. Yes indeed some aug born children will be top of the class; I have seen it myself. But that year less on this earth makes a huge difference to a great many esp in reception.

Threewindmills Thu 11-Jul-13 14:26:37

On the bright side I am a summer birthday and I have been fairly successful academically. I am now a Director of the company I work for and earn >£100k

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 14:27:33

Oh and whilst we're deciding just to refer to our own children, my sept born dd1 is actually academically gifted so would have still been top of her class had she been born a week earlier. That doesn't change the fact that a great many aug born children are at a disadvantage.

A good teacher is aware if this an adjusts accordingly but the school system is still placing these children at a disadvantage.

camptownraces Thu 11-Jul-13 14:29:01

Boggler - 100% agree with your statements.

It's a fact that these summer born children are 9, 10, or 11 months less mature than some others in their class. For some (not all) of these children there will steps to climb before they can achieve academically.

All the posters claiming sparkling performance from their own chn with August birthdays failed to understand the original point.

Achievement rates eventually tail off, until the difference in average achievment by birth month is virtually imperceptible at A- level.

Hi everyone, there are many parents who would like flexibility of start date for their summerborn children and for them to be able to start in reception after compulsory school starting age. There is a facebook and google campaign group. Do please join and support the campaign

I haven't had a chance to read all the posts on this thread but I have posted before about the emotional damage done to my family by my DS being forced to start school too young. This flexibility would help him and many other children like him. It would reduce resources being used to support these children and damages no other child. How can anyone continue to defend the inflexible start dates? I have no more words...

CarpeVinum Thu 11-Jul-13 14:44:31

Hi everyone, there are many parents who would like flexibility of start date for their summerborn children and for them to be able to start in reception after compulsory school starting age. There is a facebook and google campaign group. Do please join and support the campaign

None of my family (DS included) are resident in the Uk, but my son attends a school based in Britain. Their flexibility in allowing my August born, "never been in the British system before", child to go into year 7 instead of year 8 is part of why we have had the best year ever in terms of education since he first started school.

If I count despite being all non resident I'll support the campaign. But won't stick my name down if there is the chance it will give rise to minimising its impact via claims that "forrins" are skewing the support figures.

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 17:57:50

I think that most people accept that in Year R and Year 1 a summer born child might experience problems associated with being the youngest in the class but I'm very hmm at suggestions that this do called summer born effect last to A levels.

Apologies for playing the 'if immigrants can do it' card but if an immigrant child can start school with no English and go on to a successful school life then surely a Brit child can make up being born 3-6 months later than some of the kids in the class?

My DD was fine but DD was a little behind the older kids so I did 'stuff' with her at home. At the start of Year 1 she had caught up. Are parents seriously saying that with an no academic primary school they can't support their DC so that the 3-6 month gap gets elimated?

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 18:28:21

... My DS was fine but ....

BettyandDon Thu 11-Jul-13 18:38:36

If I can get the link to work I will join that campaign.

We are considering moving to Scotland to give my DD an extra year before she starts. It's ridiculous that I am even considering it.

Has anyone starting school for real at age 5 in Y1 with positive effect? I just don't understand it. The law says children need to be in school age 5accurate really, if they want to start at the beginning some have no option but to be 4! Why the silly rules either children are ready for reception at age 4 and a day or not.

BettyandDon Thu 11-Jul-13 18:47:18

Goodness my post makes no sense.

My main point is are all children ready for school at age 4 and a day and if not they should not be in a reception classroom.

There was a fabulous study detailing this does anyone know what anyone in education has actually done about the findings?

alreadytaken Thu 11-Jul-13 20:52:30

Research study for those who want to read it

Summer born children are more likely to be unhappy at school and feel they are bullied. Parental support is not there at school when a child is being bullied for being physically smaller and weaker.

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 22:36:00

It's a 3 page report where page 3 is mostly padding. It's hardly an authoritative study.

Lilymaid Fri 12-Jul-13 10:24:29

Formalurka - the link given previously was to the press release - the full report When you are born matters should be accessible from the link on this post.

I would be very interested to know what proportion of OU students and mature students are summer born children who under-achieved at school and then realised, as adults, that they were brighter than they had believed.

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 10:51:16

Thanks for the link.

I have to admit that I can't find fault with the report but commonsense t
ells me that its ridiculous that being born 3-6 months later than most of your classmates still has an effect at GCSE or A levels.

In Year R my DD wasn't at the same level as her brother when he was in Year R. So during the summer break I did about an hour of 121 literacy and numeracy with her each day. By Christmas Year 1 she had caught up.

If a DC went to an academically pushy primary then one can argue that the other kids aren't standing still but if your DC goes to an non-academic school like ours, it doesn't take much effort to catch up.

Copthallresident Fri 12-Jul-13 12:08:20

Isn't the issue that summer birth goes into the pot with all the other problems with attainment. The PISA figures show that compared with countries that introduce literacy skills later than the UK, based on introducing them when all children have the learning skills in place, does worse on average but has a greater variation in attainment. The bright do better, those who don't achieve for whatever reason do worse. My DD1 was summer born but hit the ground running when she had a chance to read and write, she actually changed from a hyperactive pita challenge to being a very fulfilled and contented child. Physically it was exhausting for her, I collected her from school with snacks to deal with the low blood sugar but I am quite sure mentally it was right for her. My November born DD2 couldn't see the point of Reception, she is dyslexic and was always going to need intensive intervention with the right teaching methods, forcing her to try to learn word cards and spellings she was incapable of memorising just sent her off into a dream world. The problem is that the British system leaves many children behind, and with dented confidence, not just the summer born.

Copthallresident Fri 12-Jul-13 12:09:55

Sorry, the UK does worse on average compared with countries that introduce literacy skills later. <also dyslexic, and summer born!>

nothingnew Fri 12-Jul-13 12:36:53

armalLurka - Just to say we may have at least one thing in common. We both put in extra attention to our dcs’ learning to ensure that they are not disadvantaged long term. My dc managed to catch up in every subject by around year 4 and now her literacy is nearly 3 years ahead of her own age. I believe being a summer baby is not the end of the world s/he can still go on to do well. However parental support and expectation will make a big difference especially in primary school ages. But then some children may not be as lucky as ours.

BettyandDon Fri 12-Jul-13 16:18:43

It is even worse when you consider that some summer borns can not access 2 years free nursery provision (from age 3) and only get 1 year instead of 2. Double blow really.

I am getting more angry and concerned about this TBH.

Does anyone know of any schools who have a decent set of actions against this ? It's a question I will be asking when we look around options for DD who will start Sept 2014.

alreadytaken Fri 12-Jul-13 17:08:11

a couple of things that are in the report but worth picking out -

parents generally did make an effort to compensate but it doesn't overcome the problem

starting school late probably doesn't help

Some possibilities are discussed in the report/press release including
age-standardised test scores so that parents see not only their child's SATS score but also what it is after adjusting for younger age. I think this would help drive home to teachers, parents and children than many summer born children will be doing a lot better than they think and will help to keep the child's confidence up. It might also let parents of winter born children see their child may not be doing as well as they think. This is low cost to implement.

Allowing all children to have a nursery place in the school year they become 3 might help. Government probably wont do this as there are costs attached to it.

The big problem is getting across to children than they not necessarily on the "lower" tables because they are less able but because they are young.

nothingnew Fri 12-Jul-13 20:29:13

Just a quick thought why don’t just give every child the same length of pre-school education instead by age/birthday. Why can’t children start pre-school at the beginning of September just like normal school term?! Surely this way will save money as well as being fair. Both my summer born children only got about 10 months pre school while some got 16 months as well as being older.

nothingnew Fri 12-Jul-13 20:39:30

Why on rule for pre-school education and different rule for formal education?

Jinsei Sat 13-Jul-13 11:03:38

There are six children on the "top table" in dd's high performing class. Only one of them has a birthday in the autumn term, one is an April baby, three have birthdays in June and one in August.

Research has obviously shown that summer-born children do have a slight disadvantage but I don't think it's worth getting hung up about, and it certainly isn't inevitable that they will fall behind. At the end of the day, it's down to the individual children. smile

nts24 Sat 13-Jul-13 17:24:56

" RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Jul-13 11:34:06

How many high achieving primary school summer born children do you need to hear about before you accept that each child is different and when you were born need not have any impact on how you do at school?"

More than 10% of the sample size for it to be not just pure coincidence. Once you've done that and do some reading about hypothesis testing then we can have a proper discussion.

In the mean time, evidences still suggest that summer born babies are in general doing worse. Someone has mentioned already but just to emphasise, building up DCs confidence, doing some extra work with them and helping them with their school work will help them to catch up eventually.

nothingnew Sun 14-Jul-13 08:44:30

Although my dc caught up every subject eventually I found that maths is the hardest one to manage. While she is not particular gifted in maths I also think one of reasons being is that numeracy is a subject that needs to be taught unlike literacy. While during infant school time she was too young to grasp some of the concepts therefore it gets harder as she goes up years because she didn't have a good enough foundation. But again my data is only basic on my own experience and observation.

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