do you think summer born children are really disadvantaged??

(172 Posts)
6031769 Fri 22-Aug-14 23:09:19

just thinking wholly from the point of view of my ds (selfish i know). He is May born, i only work part time 3 days a week so my mum provided childcare as she is retired. When he was 2 i sent him a local playschool a couple of mornings a week but he couldn't go to the preschool attached to the school he will be going to until he got his funding term after he was 3, then he went there for the three terms. Anyway best decision i ever made to send him there, amazing preschool but if he had been born in autumn term he would have got 5 terms at his preschool instead of only 3.

DS didn't get on too well at his first playschool (won't go into details) but loved his 2nd preschool and has come on in leaps and bounds, i just wish he'd been allowed to stay for extra two terms so he'd got 5 terms same as autumn born children, school there is going to be so many more children

mummy1973 Fri 22-Aug-14 23:15:24

As a mother of a 10 yr old summer born who is ahead academically (not a stealth boast) and a spring born 7 yr old I think it is very much down to the child. In both their classes there is such a huge range of abilities and not really by birthday. The teacher copes with them all!

MrsHathaway Fri 22-Aug-14 23:16:33

I don't think it's as simple as advantage or disadvantage. A bright August birthday will be at an advantage as would a less bright September birthday (in England) because the rest of the class would be at a similar level. A less bright August or very bright September, on the other hand, would be in the wrong developmental class if kept in the right chronological class.

Declares bias: DH and I both have summer holiday birthdays, benefited hugely from starting school at only just four, and went on to overachieve do well academically and professionally.

ohtobeanonymous Fri 22-Aug-14 23:18:49

No. I really don't!

Wafflenose Fri 22-Aug-14 23:22:40

What the others have said is true.

I have an autumn born and a summer born. I think a lot of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I refuse to make excuses for the younger one. She is doing slightly better on paper than the older one at the same point in her education, despite them being of equal intelligence and her being so much younger entering Year 2. I don't see why her birthday should hold her back in the slightest.

seaofloom Fri 22-Aug-14 23:24:53

Obviously not all summer born children are, if we're talking averages yes they are. The stats show this is the case even in older children.

Even if they're doing well academically, they can still suffer emotionally and behaviourally.

mummybare Fri 22-Aug-14 23:25:05

DS is due next week. Do I break out the curry and pineapple or will I be dooming him to a lifetime of underachievement?

<marks place nervously>

6031769 Fri 22-Aug-14 23:33:34

from DS's personal point of view again.

He is very good on the academic side, maths in particular he is really good and nursery have commented on this and said he will spend long time at maths activities and the nursery teacher is really looking forward to hearing about how he gets on in future with his maths, but i would say he's on the young side for silly behaviour, practical things like getting dressed etc- i have worked on these with him but its been tough going!! My worry is that because theres so much more children at school all they will see is his silly behaviour and he'll just be messing about.

Pico2 Fri 22-Aug-14 23:37:52

There are lots of things that advantage/disadvantage on a statistical basis, but are hard to see in individual children.

My autumn born DD would have been fine starting school a year early, whereas some of her summer born friends could do with another year of nursery. There are only a few weeks between them and it really can go either way.

It also depends on what you think you are measuring in terms of advantage/disadvantage. I can see that my DD would have to work harder to keep up if she started school earlier, but she might well thrive on the challenge instead of potentially being bored by starting school later. But she is likely to end up with better academic results by starting school later. It is questionable whether a more stimulating and challenging experience is more of an advantage than the better final outcome.

I think the unequal provision of free early years education is odd. It must also be a real headache for providers as their numbers will change through the year so their staffing requirements change too. While it isn't the point of early years education, I do appreciate the extra terms' funding as we will be paying for an extra year's childcare as the result of DD being born in autumn rather than summer, so we are paying thousands for her starting school a year later. If more flexibility was provided in deciding when to start children at school, I wonder how many parents would be able to justify the decision to defer school for a year when looking at family finances.

Vijac Fri 22-Aug-14 23:38:59

Yes, they have been proven to be at a (slight) disadvantage right through to university entrance. Obviously loads of summer borns achieve well and vice versa but there is some affect. I believe it's to do with losing confidence in there ability to be at the top in the first few years of school, when they are likely to be behind.

Wafflenose Fri 22-Aug-14 23:39:38

The class will not be full of September-borns and just him! There will be children from every part of the year, some ahead of the norm, some behind, and not necessarily because of their birthdays. I'm a teacher (have taught all sorts of age groups) and by the end of Year 2 - sometimes even Year 1 - you really cannot tell by looking at their work who was born when. The effect of schooling is so much stronger than the effect of age - at university (developmental psychology course) we learnt about sets of twins who started school at different times due to one being unwell or similar... and at the end of the year, the schooled one was miles ahead. Identical age!

LetticeKnollys Fri 22-Aug-14 23:47:44

I don't see how it could be reasonably disputed that they are at an academic disadvantage because it has been shown to be the case through exam results and other stats. OTOH, obviously there are always exceptions, and I think that parental encouragement of a child's education is a more important factor.

"Yet research has shown that being born at the end of the school year - whether it is August in England, March in Japan or December in Tasmania - has a significant effect not only on how well children do at reading, writing and mathematics but also on whether they are held back a year, assessed as having special educational needs or have confidence in their own abilities. Children who are young for their year, researchers say, are more likely to be bullied and less likely to take up leadership positions."

newteachers.tes.co.uk/content/how-can-we-help-summer-born-children-keep

Noappointmentnecessary Fri 22-Aug-14 23:50:35

No, the brightest boy in my Reception class was born 31st August. Just make sure you are exposing them to all kinds of experiences, and talk to them constantly about anything and everything x

Mumzy Sat 23-Aug-14 00:04:56

Myself and my siblings were all summer born and we all went on to university and got good degrees. All 3 of my dcs are winter born and I can't see they are more academic advanced then we were at the same age.

aubreye Sat 23-Aug-14 00:29:41

I have a September born DS (10) and a July born DD (7). Both are absolute geniuses and it all depends on the child, not the age.

catkind Sat 23-Aug-14 01:52:20

On average summer borns achieve slightly lower. But the variation within summer-borns and within autumn-borns is much much wider than the difference between the averages. And the averages don't really say whether your individual child will be disadvantaged, just that slightly fewer of the population as a whole will achieve certain levels. Maybe some children thrive on challenge and some thrive on being the best in the group.

I'd take the academic strength as a good sign that your DS is going to do well in his year. I think one of the reasons summer borns can do worse is they start out weaker in academics purely out of being a whole year younger which is massive at 4. Then it becomes an established Thing that they're not good at reading/writing/whatever, and they don't expect any better for themselves.

My May-born has now finished Reception year and did fine. Like yours, well academically, not always so good in other respects. All the things you said about being a bit silly and struggling with dressing himself (aargh buttoned shirts and ties!). Hopefully your DS will be better prepared than mine was with the nursery experience!

Marnierose Sat 23-Aug-14 03:12:30

I've worried about this. Interestingly my friend felt her September born was at a greater disadvantage because so much more was expected of him.

sleepywombat Sat 23-Aug-14 03:25:33

mummybare, I'd hold on until Sept if you can, but if he decides to come earlier then not worry!

I think school starts far too young anyway, so the older they start the better.

I am a Year 1 teacher and do notice this. In the last class I taught, the two August born boys were well behind the rest of the class and only really just 'got it' (letter formation, reading, behaviour for learning etc) towards the end of the year. My September and October borns were so much more confident, articulate and in the top quartile for numeracy and literacy throughout the year. It can make a huge difference, especially when classes are 'set' in tables, often the younger child who takes a while to catch up with the older ones stays at the bottom as s/he moves up the school and is never given the opportunity to tackle extension work or work without teacher support etc. I made a point of letting the next teacher work out for herself where my class 'were at' (she saw their profiles & books etc so had a rough idea), so there was a bit of movement between groups.

Obviously there are always exceptions to the rule, some of my Summer borns were doing well, some of my Autumns not so much.

sleepywombat Sat 23-Aug-14 03:26:35

Marnierose, from the parents? I wouldn't think a teacher would expect more from them - I wouldn't even have known the children's birthdays without looking them up (or them telling me)!

Valpollicella Sat 23-Aug-14 05:16:31

Sleepy. obv as they are nearly a year younger! That's a massive difference.

sleepywombat Sat 23-Aug-14 05:53:07

I wouldn't, but maybe I'm not a typical parent?! Here (Australia), they start school in January/Feb but children have to be 4 before 30th June of the previous year. So the eldest in the class (July born -everybody wants their babies to be born then) will be 5.5 ish, youngest 4.5 ish. I have one son starting as one of the youngest, one who will be one of the eldest. I won't expect anything more of the 5.5 yo, after all they are learning the same things & are doing the same exams as the younger ones etc. Just want them to have fun and do their best!

Dontforgetyourbrolly Sat 23-Aug-14 06:40:55

Depends on the child ! Me and my brother both born late July .....I was a lazy so and so at school and did not fulfill my potential. My brother studied very hard , went to university and has a BA hons!

bigkidsdidit Sat 23-Aug-14 07:22:49

I worry about this, my DS will be the youngest in the school (he's January which is august equiv in Scotland). We have he option to defer him which I'd like to take up but he's got loads of pals at preschool and nursery fees are killing us! A tough decision

ACheesePuff Sat 23-Aug-14 07:23:54

It does depend on the individual, but overall the statistics say there is a disadvntage.

My biggest worry is the emotional impact it has and the way very young ones are at disadvantage in sports and social activities, being the smallest and weakest leaves a lasting legacy for that child.

BravePotato Sat 23-Aug-14 07:34:18

My DS is Sept born, and I thank the heavens for that as he was so behind academically, socially snd emotionally that I cannot image how hard it would have been if he'd been a year younger.

He has caught up now (thankfully!).

He likes being the tallest boy in the year.

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