When do the Summer birthdays "catch up" ?(80 Posts)
DD has just started Year 1 and I went into help with reading yesterday.
She is an August birthday, and although I always thought she was a bright little button, the vast majority of the class are way ahead of her!
I realise being an August birthday has a huge bearing on her education but I'm sure I read somewhere that there is an age where the younger ones catch up and the gap between the ages closes.
Am I right?
My daughter has just begun secondary school and was 11 at the end of August. Physically she is a lot smaller than her class mates and is not as mature as her friends. Academically, there is no difference, the majority of the class got fabulous SATS results, her included.
DS (April born) has just started school nursery and some of the August children look far too young to even be there, but they run rings around my boy in terms of their speech, so I think it all depends upon the individual child. I did read that by age 8 the August borns catch up, but I'm not sure how true this is.
In DS's year there was a clear distinction of the autumn/winter birthdays (and mainly the girls) being ahead in Reception and Y1. This distinction started to blur during Year 2 and I'd say by the end of Y2, the younger children had caught up.
In DD's year I've been unable to spot any differentiation by birth month - in fact 3 girls with August birthdays have been consistently in the top groups.
Studies suggest that younger children will always be behind on a statistical level - as above, my personal experience seems to suggest it start blurring around age 7.
I think it is by the end of Yr2 ish.
having said that though there are many children who are younger who aren't behind. It depends very much on the child. I have seen parents on here saying that their child is one of the oldest and isn't any further ahead and they are worried about that because people tend to assume the older ones will be. They are all different but it tends to balance out by the end of Yr2ish whatever their age and development 'schedule' (can't think of a better word but I mean their own personal development timescale)
and of course if you were looking for the most advanced children then you will have noticed them, had you been looking for the ones who weren't as good then you would have noticed them. She may happen to be in a class where there are more children who happen to have 'got' reading quicker or happen to find maths easy, in a different class she might have been top. You just can't tell. If you think she is bright then the chances are she is doing very well and you have nothing to worry about.
There is a bit of information about it here www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15490760
I'm interested in how they catch up though - is it because the teaching 'allows' for it by stagnating a little so they can catch up, or is it because as children get older their ability to learn begins to slow a little, meaning the younger ones can catch up? (I am a parent of a summer birthday DC btw)
There is a huge stage of brain development at around age 7, so by the end of year 2 would make sense for things evening out.
I think it is just the way the brain develops HattyJack. There are all these basic skills that they have to learn and some just pick them up earlier than others, sometimes age related, sometimes maturity, sometimes just the way it is. Then the way they are taught things is different. So the initial skills are reading, writing, basic maths etc. then teaching changes to include geography, history and science so children don't have the same focus on these specific skills. I don't know that it is their ability to learn slows, I think it is just the types of things we are expecting them to learn changes and becomes much broader. But then I really have actually no idea, that is just how I personally think about it. It is also less measurable in a way. Once they have learned basic reading skills, writing and maths then learning the other subjects falls into place (all subjects involve needing to read and write don't they so until those skills are gained it is more obvious if a child is a bit later to develop them).
Non statistically significant anecdote coming up...
There's an enormous boy in my son's class. I think he'd be big whatever, a neck-wider-than-head type, but the fact that he has an early September birthday emphasises it.
Every year he'd win the boys' running race.
Until this year, y4, when my May-born slip of a ds beat him.
I think at last the physical advantage he enjoyed has evened out.
The academic one disappeared earlier (not for this particular boy - he's always been bottom of the class), but def by end of ks1. The old practice of having younger kids starting later definitely seemed to exacerbate the disadvantage.
This gives me hope. Dtds were 4 Weeks prem so will start school 2 days after they turn 4 but their corrected age will be 3. It seems wrong and i'm really worried about it even though they don't start for 2 years. Thank you
for DS it was year 2 - he's LATE August
The information I remember reading was that the difference fully unwinds at around age 15.
We saw that the difference had lasted well into the end of primary as DD spent a big chunk of time in a different system where she was the youngest in the year. Moved back to the UK where she became the oldest in the year and she went from being a bit below average to right at the top of the class.
That's very cheeky intitgrand
DD2 just started Y3 (May birthday) so I agree with others - end of KS1.
Some summer birthdays are ahead from day one others catch up quickly and some never do...speaking as the mum of two summer borns month of birth is a bit of a red herring
My Aug born dd2 started reception as middle groups for literacy and numeracy. Now in Yr2 she is in the top groups for maths and reading, but still middle for writing. Maybe writing is a skill which requires a bit more maturity? She has struggled more with the social side of things - always having to play the baby or the little one in roleplay games etc and being left out by the group of very able Sept/Oct birthday girls who call her babyish...
A complete red herring- DH born the end of August was always streets ahead from day 1 but DS , middle of August never really caught up academically but was always way ahead physically.
I'm another one that thinks birth month can be a bit of a red herring. DD is now in Yr 2 and is a late August born; she is academically very able and was streamed into the Yr2/3 class in Yr1.
She is smaller and can appear to lack the physical dexterity of her bigger and older peers, but that doesn't appear to follow birth month either - the largest and most physically able in DD's class is April born!
There are many factors which affect attainment. Birth month is one of them, but they include thing like diet, FSM, first language, SN, parental input amongst many, many others.
Statistically not a red herring.
Personally I' m a late summer born who was socially and academically behind, especially in primary. My summer born Reception boy is chatty and bright at home. Clingy so far at Reception and very quiet- early days. I am not going to compare him to Autumn born children [especially girls]. I have learnt that lesson through fretting with ds1. Complete waste of energy and time.
Thanks all for all that info.
I feel less anxious about the situation now
By the end of Year 2, as has been said already. My August ds started accelerating past the groups above him partway through Year 1 and was at the top by Year 2.
When I last taught Yr 2, the top groups were full of Autumn-born girls (sensible and mature). When I happened to teach the same class in Year 6, many of those girls had been overtaken by Summer born kids of both sexes.
My eldest turned 15 this August and I can honestly say he hasn't caught up yet... He is physically much smaller than most of his friends and quite immature in comparison but i do love that he is in year 11 but still so innocent!
Academically he is not so bad, he's probably middle of the road and will hopefully have his moment when he starts college next year :-/ xx
I've read, more than once, that statistically, as a group, summer born kids are "disadvantaged" right up to Uni!
Obviously, every kid is an individual, and your little girl is unique not a general statistic. The smartest kid in my dd2's year 2 class is little boy born in July, just for example.
Still, I'd keep it in mind as a spur to keep you fighting on her side and advocating for her whenever you need to do so.
I don't have summer born kids, but I do think they need a break sometimes!
Statistically the data doesn't look at other factors that may contribute to that "disadvantage" including the fact that historically summer borns had one or two fewer terms in school right at the start of their school careers so their older peers were already ahead before summer birthday children set foot in school.
In my last class a boy with 31st August birthday was one of the most able and the child the others looked to for leadership.
Statistically the data doesn't look at other factors that may contribute to that "disadvantage" including the fact that historically summer borns had one or two fewer terms in school right at the start of their school careers so their older peers were already ahead before summer birthday children set foot in school.
Research supports the view that summer born children are at a disadvantage. However, most research does not take into account other factors that are also known to have an effect on education, which act as confounding variables on the data.
And, as mrz points out, until recent years summer born children had 1-2 fewer terms in school compared to autumn born children.
If you are young in a year you would likely do better if you were 'you' but older.
Even if you are doing well you would do better if 6, 8,10 months older.
Being older in a year is an advantage. Well seems so to me.
When my DS1 was in year 4, his teacher made a comment about him doing well at something "particularly as he is so young in the class" so that teacher felt it still had an impact.
My DD had caught up academicly by end of reception but socially not til about Y4. She's now Y6 and is feeling left behind again by growth spurts and puberty of many of the girls in her class so has gone back to playing with the boys again
DS1 is a 14 year old summer birthday and he's caught up and you wouldn't know. BUT as far as puberty goes he is behind some of his September born friends and he hates it.
And someone pointed out that he won't be going out for a pint with his Autumn born friends when they turn 18.
DS is 31st Aug (born 2 weeks early) and has just got into yr4.
He struggled for pretty much the whole of reception academically but right at the end of his r year something clicked and he was off!
He has been in top sets ever since.
The only time his birthday has been mentioned since was towards the end of last year (yr3) his then teacher said he lacked the maturity to progress in his writing.
DS is also tiny and v sporty and beats the kids who tower over him.
My August born DD1 was in tears half an hour ago.
'I don't want to go to school, Mummy. I don't want to be the youngest in the class. I don't want to be the worst at writing and colouring! '
The research that came out in the spring said the comparison factor was a big reason for summer borns lagging behind. They are younger and it's exacerbated by them realising it.
DD has just started at a very selective secondary. Of the 100 girls in her year, 50 were born in 2001 and 50 in 2002 (rather than the 33/66 that you'd expect if they'd all caught up). 11+ tests are adjusted for month of birth, and the adjustment made for August babies is quite significant.
Discretion - that would suggest that the ones born later in the academic year have only half as much chance of getting into the selective schools as the autumn born ones, even after they've compensated for the 11+ scores (I think it's just verbal/non-verbal reasoning scores that get age=adjusted, not maths, English, etc isn't it?)
That's quite a stark difference.
And I agree that the confidence-sapping effects can be serious Suzie. That's why I made sure my summer babies could read when they started reception - if I couldn't make them taller or faster or better coordinated I could at least make sure they were best at something so they knew they weren't stupid.
The school DD is at didn't adjust test scores for age, which is probably why there's such a strong difference - and of course 100 is not a huge sample.
These threads do boil my blood, I should hide them.
Of course you get exceptional August borns who are ahead, I was one. My DD isn't. She is not behind though, but is in that insidious category where she is totally forgotten.
I wonder if she'd been a September born whether she would have more confidence? Whether not sitting next to a girl 11 months older than her whose writing is way better than hers would affect how she sees herself?
Of course it makes a difference. Some children are way ahead no matter when their birthday. Most are obviously average, and it is these children who are lost in the system. I have heard from others it takes to Y3/Y4/Y6 but am sure it depends on the child and partly their motivation to succeed, do well. If they spend the first 3 or 4 years of schooling feeling stupid, comparing themselves to cleverer peers a year older, of course it has an impact.
Oh and certainly in our area I believe they are scrapping the age adjustment for the 11+ in the next few years.
My autumn-born has just started Y2, and looking at the work on display in the classroom, I noticed that the work done by the tiny summer-born girl who was lagging behind in recption and Y1 was one of the best in the class. With my DD it was as though she had a huge learning spurt last winter and her friend seems to have had the same thing over the summer.
Is it reality that children a year younger can and should "catch up"?
Eg no one would ever expect a 1 Sep birthday to "catch up" with children a year older. But we expect that of a 31 August birthday.
But what is the alternative though Taffeta?
<mother of a 31st Aug boy >
I don't have an alternative. I am just bitching about how unfair it is on my daughter. Because she's not über bright. Well, not in a primary school learn things by rote its all about memory and logic kinda way anyway.
In Reception DS1 (late June Bday) made friends with a boy (early September Bday) this boy took great delight in pointing everything out that he could do and DS1 couldn't.
He did it in the back of the car on the way to school and I did have to point out to him that he had spent one more year at Pre-school and was 9 months older than DS1 so he should be very good at things. His mum loved to point it out to me too.
I totally get it, hope I didn't come across as having a go
My DS started school at 4yrs 10 days and one of his best friends had already turned 5 (3rd Sept birthday).
His first parents eve in Oct of his r year was so bad (negative, teacher reeled off a long list of things he could not do/was behind in) that she made me cry
<disclaimer: I did manage to get out of the building but sobbed all the way home>
Ds1 is 7 since July and just started the equivalent of year 3. He's the brightest in his class and way ahead of his classmates.
We've never had a problem with him struggling due to his age. My other two are spring babies and are average in ability compared to their classmates.
Where we live parents choose what age to send them, I was unusual starting ds1 at 4, there's 18 months between him and the eldest in the class, it makes for a much more even spread of ability as kids who aren't ready don't have to start at 4. The kids are all mentally able for school when they start so none lag behind due to immaturity.
Grrr Sparkling. There is a mum in DDs class whose daughter is 9 months older than my DD. She has a way of intimating that my DD is "too young" to play with her DD ( even though they are great friends ) but whenever there is any mention of anything academic she appears to forget the age difference.
Simpson, not at all. Just don't have an answer.
These threads in general irritate me as they tend to be populated by people who have very bright summer borns. Not average ones.
No one ever talks average on MN.
I do get what you mean Taffeta.
DS is strong academically admittedly but his maturity (lack of) and shyness is holding him back and I do wonder if having been born 25 mins later (so 1st Sept) would help him.
He does not like talking in front of the class, can get tearful about it, hates been the centre of attention, has had severe problems with bullying (although not for a while now admittedly).
My late June DS1 was distinctly average from R-Yr4. Once at Middle School he seemed to blossom and things started to click. And now in Year 10 he is in top sets. I wouldn't have though it at all which sounds a bit disrespectful to him but there you are.
I get annoyed when people suggest that Summer born children are not at a disadvantage. There has been so much evidence to suggest that being a Summer born child ( boys in particular) is a disadvantage at school. Of course there are exceptions to this and I personally know a few Summer born children who are coping extremely well.
HOWEVER, I have a Summer born child who struggled in reception and year 1, both socially and academically. I spent many hours 'tutoring' him to get him up to the standard of his peers and he is doing well academically, but socially he can sometimes struggle with the older kids ,who call him a baby .
I almost wish that I was not induced in late August and had waited to September 1st so that he would have been the oldest in the year.
My son is an end July and he is struggling socially in Reception. Academically I know he's fine but I don't think he will have the confidence to show what he knows for a good while yet. I know his shyness is not solely due to his age but it's not helping at the moment.
DD1 was in a study of summer borns. That was fun She had caught up by reception (and would have been a nightmare in the year below). I understood the results suggested on the whole that the most disadvantaged summer borns were those who were also prem ie due in Sept or even Oct.
AS mentioned above 11+ makes allowance for birth month. GCSE do not so I assume the effect is reckoned to have gone by then.
I agree that clever summer borns dominate these threads but aren't all MN kids clever ( if not SN?) . Ok that's a tongue in cheek comment but we are a statistically self selected active interested computer literate bunch of parents...
I'd love to see a study looking at this effect in young adults especially now everyone has had 3 terms in reception from 4+ rathe than the staggered entry we had when I was a kid (these young adults are early 20s now at least)
and as Sparklingbrook mentioned ...
Don't forget parents it's " our fault" for having summer borns that they can't legally go to all those 18th birthday parties, or drink at the prom, or get a summer job in a bar...
We are MEAN AND CRUEL !!
Honestly that's when DD1 was actually bothered by being a summer born.
don't forget though that the oldest in the year can suffer emotionally/psychologically from the assumption that they will be more mature, more grown up, more sensible, more able, quicker to pick things up etc. I know my daughter has been told by other children that she is the oldest so she should be able to do better than them and they are level with her so ner ner ne ner ner kind of thing (I have heard them) now presumably they got that from parents but it knocks her confidence terribly and I have to keep explaining that she can't expect to be top of everything just because her birthday happens to be in September.
yep Theas that will be all my fault in 4 year's time.
my august born year 6 is in top sets for everything. where he sometimes has issues is the emotional side of things. he has had times when he has found the hurly burly of the playground too much for him and he was thought of as 'sensitive' by the teachers for a while but really it was immaturity.
Lucky you Discretion. I tried teaching DD1 letters but she wasn't interested. It took the teachers 6 months to get her to even try writing. She.just.wasn't.ready!!!
I agree Suzie, it was blind luck that mine happened to be ready for it. Less lucky that they weren't ready to be reliably dry until they'd turned 5.
Periwinkle, I agree entirely with your post.
DS is a September born and often the older children do have this added pressure not only from other children but from teachers too!
Saying that he's doing extremely well but I don't think that this is all down to him being an Autumn born, he's just very bright (biased) - tongue in cheek emoticon.
The statistics that younger children in a class are disadvantaged holds true in other countries and educational cultures. This is why the Germans give parents the option of children starting education aged 7 or 8 years.
my July born year 7 got levels 5 & 6 in the SATS.
I think the difference is he didn't start school until he was 7 so he was never asked as a 4 year old to keep up with children who were nearly a whole year older. Therefore he never got used to struggling and failing.
My august 31st twins had caught up by year two
Taffeta what's the justification being given for ending the 11 plus age adjustment in your area? I thought the adjustment was a very long standing practice. Has there been any recent evidence to suggest it's not necessary? I'm not aware of any, but would be interesting to know why they've taken that decision!
Feeling much happier now the general consensus seems to be Year 2. That's not far off
I'm a summer born myself. I don't believe the year 2 thing, I was average when I started but got progressively cleverer right up to a levels where I achieved nearly the same results as my ultra-cvlever November born brother.
My DC's school mixed the reception classes by age. A three class intake so my May born DD was in a class of purely April to August birthdays. I was originally against it since I thought they were making assumptions about what older class could do vs middle vs younger class but actually it worked well and they were able to differentiate academically within the classes (as other posters have said, some summer borns are academically ahead whilst some sept borns struggle on certain aspects). Classes stayed the same for reception and year 1 and then all the children were mixed up into new classes in year 2, in which intent is to have a balance of age, gender, ability, personalities etc.
OP, please do not feel that help with reading in Yr 1 is in any way an issue.
I think the national average for learning to read is in fact 6. Not something you would learn from readong posts on MN, though!
DS is a summer born child, I thought he would be an early reader as he was an early talker, but no, wasn't really a confident reader until Yr 2. There is a stage where they suddenly 'get it'.
I think there is a huge variation between children and being summer-born may show itself in different ways.
DD is summer-born, but has always been fine academically and socially. DS is spring-born and wasn't ready for formal stuff till he was about 7.
I agree, there is usually a stage where they just get it. usually around the end of Y2/Y3
As a mum of a three week old, this thread has also reassured me too. The IFS report makes grim reading.
I always thought it was around the age of 8, remember reading it but not sure where.
I am not sure it has a huge bearing, the birthday thing though.
DS is November and DD July and DD has always been far ahead of her peers academically but behind socially whereas DS is about right in terms of academics but is far ahead in terms of social skills.
Socioeconomics come into it not just what time of year they are born.
I have two summer dcs. While I accept that summer born can hold them back in early years I also value them as individuals. There will be some things they are more advanced and something they more behind than others. Other children may have different family or health issues that may set them back in life. I just accept I have to support them according to their current levels of abilities and interest. My 10 yrs dc only got 2cs at Ks1 those years ago but now in year 6 my dc1 is approaching level 5. My dc2 could hardly read or spell and reluctant to speak any words by the end of reception. But by the end of year 2 dc2's reading and spelling age were nearly nine years old and talking nonstop all day. Just keep going with them with appropriate supports the young one can catch up.
Only a few days ago I heard that my dc2' autumn born friend is currently reading two stages ahead of my dc but there are over nine months age gap between them. So by the time my dc2 get to the same age dc2 is very likely to be reading at least the same stage of books. However my dc2 seemed not doing as well in the school reading record. But in reality I believe dc2 is doing just as well if you take account of the true age difference.
My dd is in Yr 5 and late August born. She too is average.
Being late summer born has had some negative impact which I think may have been aviodable if I had really be aware of what was happening.
When dd started school, she was the youngest in the school (by several months as luck would have it). She was also cute, blonde and fluffy. This resulted in her being the "class baby", a role which she only grew out of when she left the school. It meant that if she couldn't do something, she simpered and someone else did it for her.
Associated with this, was a general lack of expectation, which again stayed with her. Both her and her brother (15 months older) started school with the same base line level of learning. With ds the expectations were that he would pick up a certain amount in a certain time. With dd, those expectations were adjusted downwards because of her age and there never seemed to be a time when they were refocused.
I agree with the others who suggest that these threads can lull parents of late summer children into a false sense of security. Of course it is not a problem for some children, but it quite clearly is for others and an awareness of that can help mitigate some of the potential problems.
I think the lack or low expectations from teachers and adults can be more a issue especially when children were separated into top middle and bottom groups from as young as age 5 or 6. As the kids only think they are good or bad at the subject/s according to the group they are allocated into. The kids don't understand the importance of their age differences. For while I had to keep going to dc1's teachers to ask to have dc1 transferred into middle group as dc was not being challenged enough in the bottom group. Since she become more confident in the subject. More damaging effect that had on her was the fact that dc believed she cannot be any good at the subject no matter how hard she try.
Goosey - how can we mitigate some of the potential problems then?
I am planning to start ds3 early at nursery - at 2, so he gets 2 full years before starting school. I also plan to attend a variety of toddler groups to build up his social skills and confidence. Likewise, I will try to get him recognising letters and phonics before starting school too. I hope that having two older brothers, ds3 will be used to interacting with children older than himself.
My biggest concern is that both ds1 and ds2 were speech delayed, so ds3 might be too.
I would appreciate anyone thoughts on how to try to counterbalance the summer effect! Thanks
And also, how do we tally up explaining to children that there will be a difference as their friends are older than them, against the need to not create low expectations?
I have a child in secondary who is about youngest in the year. It has had long term effects (I believe) because he's never had that boost of being "good" at things compared with his classmates.
Expectations through primary were low, he started off behind and and stayed there (as far as school was concerned.) Mild dyslexia has been a confounding factor too.
I did take my eye off the ball and he was in a lower reading group in upper primary than was warranted. (He kept telling me this but I thought he was over-confident as we'd worked hard to keep his self-belief up!)
Keep tabs on things is my only advice.
It depends on the individual child, physically, emotionally, and academically. My Y6 August born DD2 is the youngest in her year, she looks about 7 - she certainly wears 7 year old clothes which are a bit big for her. But emotionally she is old beyond her years, she does a lot of performing and that helps I think. Academically she has always been one of the top 2 or 3 in her year since the day she started in reception. It probably helps that she is my 3rd child.
I imagine myself being in my dcs' shoes say I go to school everyday. And everyday I am told I belong to the bottom pile of my year group from age 5 or 6. How would I feel about myself by the end of year 6? We don't have third class on trains any more so why in our schools.
I read somewhere that the average age to archive Ks1 - 2bs is 7 & a half yr. Now I look back although my dc1 only got 2cs at Ks1 bearing in mind at the time she was not even 7yr old. So in fact dc1 didn't do too bad as comparing to those who got 2as or more but are over 9 -11 months older.
I am not a competitive mum but I do my best to make sure my children don't stay in bottom groups. My concern is the long term damages that may have on their self believe and attitudes to learning.
" brettgirl2 Sun 15-Sep-13 18:46:49
I'm a summer born myself. I don't believe the year 2 thing, I was average when I started but got progressively cleverer right up to a levels where I achieved nearly the same results as my ultra-cvlever November born brother"
Yup, I recognise this.
My September born brother in the year above was always, always the clever one. I was the August born in the year below - almost 2 years younger than him but only an academic year behind him.
He was always the clever one, I was always the afterthought. He kicked my arse at GCSE (though I had respectable results)
But by the time A levels rolled around my brother did very well, and the following year I did even better (i.e. top grades across the board).
I have 2 summer borns.
I'm not worried.
I have no clear answers how to mitigate the lack of expectations and the feeling that summer born children can get that they are just not as good as their peers at stuff (and once this is ingrained it is not easy).
For dd, I bang on at teachers that they must expect more of her and if she does not achieve as they expect - tell her. She is highly motivated in many ways and if she knows she should do better, she will. Monitor peoples' expectations - especially early on. They make such a difference.
Maths was a subject dd really struggled with and in the end, I got a tutor for her. Not to push her to ever greater things but to give her the confidence in a safe environment that she could do it and to allow her time and space to get her head around what she didn't understand.
I am not saying that this happens to all August borns, but I think it does happen to many. It may depend on a child's personality. Dd is naturally quiet - as a toddler, she was the type to hide behind my legs. Therefore when she went to school she presented as shy and awkward. She allowed the low expectations of her to persist by not volunteering more whereas more outgoing children would not.
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