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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.

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.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 30-Mar-13 09:36:32

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.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 31-Mar-13 13:45:41

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.

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