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Any parents of summer borns in YR Y1 experiencing unfairness in access to curriculum?

(184 Posts)
BromCavMum Fri 15-Nov-13 20:45:29

I would like to know if there are other parents out there whose summer born children are in YR or Y1 or even Y2 and are struggling a bit or put at a disadvantage by the pace/level of the curriculum? My DD turned 5 at the end of August. She started school last January with a brilliant attitude toward learning and I have seen her attitude become more and more deflated over the last several months.

She picked up on reading quickly but was only assessed as 'emerging' in literacy for YR. Today, she had 2 quizzes in school (yes--2 in one day). A 10 word spelling test and a math test. She had 20 seconds to complete 7 different equations. She got 4 out of 7 and was disappointed in herself. Although these equations were supplied to us a week ahead it seems to me to be a tough test for a 5 year old. The school is big on testing and streaming. But at this age, when development is a huge variable is this wise? When most of these kids in her class were her age they were not doing math at all and were barely reading. I feel my daughter is expected to work twice as hard to be considered half as good.

If there are other parents out there who have experienced this type of what I consider bordering on discrimination I would truly like to hear your experiences and maybe we can pool some advice on how to approach the schools with this problem.

It is very hard to constantly read on the news how summer born children are 20% less likely to go to university, be well adjusted at school, etc. I think we parents need to discuss how to look out for our young children, because the British education system does not seem up to the task (or interested in the problem).

I eagerly await hearing from you.

vkyyu Wed 27-Nov-13 18:38:36

Many continue their studies in FE or take the subject/s again in adulthood and many managed to pass in the end.

redundant Wed 27-Nov-13 17:39:57

i hate all this academic pushiness and grading. I really could not give a stuff about what level my child achieves, but the system seems determined to make me care, because of the huge impact that has on how others treat them. I wish we could just value learning but i am obviously a little idealistic and naive!

stillenacht Wed 27-Nov-13 15:56:21

Unattainable, unrealistic targets continue through to secondaryhmm

Huitre Wed 27-Nov-13 15:06:21

Most people do get Cs or above. Something like 70% nationally get C or above, I think, in a subject like English. That's most people. However, if you are really suggesting that the lower half or two-thirds of the 30% who don't get those C grades could just work a bit harder and get a C, then you are really really optimistic (and that's being polite, I can think of other ways to describe it)!

averywoomummy Wed 27-Nov-13 13:42:39

I agree with vkyyu that most people would be able to achieve a C with support and hard work. Unfortunately the teachers often don't seem to believe this so it is often up to a parent have that faith and to fill in the gaps.

What I find so unfair for Summerborns is that it is as though they are being set up to fail from the start. Correct me if I'm wrong but as I see it even your EYFS profile is used to judge your ability and predict where you will be in the future i.e. EYFS sets targets for KS1 which sets targets for KS2 which then sets GSSE targets.

It seems ridiculous that a child of 16's ability is thought to be predicted from such a young age. In my DCs class 2/3 of the class are Autumn/Winter birthdays and as a summer born she is really struggling to keep up. This is not because she is slow or not as bright as them but simply because she is more immature and hasn't had an extra year to practice writing and reading. And yet she will be judged by exactly the same criteria as them. How can that be right??

Huitre Wed 27-Nov-13 13:13:15

It is perfectly possible to be 'normal' and below average academically.

vkyyu Wed 27-Nov-13 13:02:55

I hold a believe (faith) that every normal average child or person has the capability to reach at least an average standard in everything they want to do if they have the will to achieve. Though it may take one person more time or more setbacks than others.

Huitre Wed 27-Nov-13 12:39:08

That's not at all the same as "If the national average is 4b then every child’s target should be 4b or above."

For some children, a 4b IS ridiculously and unrealistically high. Not every child can get a GCSE C grade in every subject (if they could, those grades would essentially be worthless).

vkyyu Wed 27-Nov-13 12:05:12

Not ridiculously and unrealistically high but just may be one grade higher. A pupil's predicted grade may be a ks2 4c or gcse c if s/he progress according to his/her current behaviour. But set a target at ks2 4b or gcse b. There is a difference between "target" and "prediction" based on our current state. If you want them to achieve higher result you need to encourage them to aim higher.

tumbletumble Wed 27-Nov-13 11:10:01

The target should be high IMO (to prevent writing off late developing children at an early age), but should be known to the teacher only, not the child or parents, to prevent them feeling like a failure. And the teacher should not get into trouble if some children miss their targets - not all children are going to reach the average level, however well taught.

It's a very tricky balance!

Huitre Wed 27-Nov-13 11:00:02

Why will there be more chance to fall further below? Do you think an unrealistic target is likely to make people work harder? I don't think a target that is unachievable seems like a good idea at all. If your target is unachievable no matter what you do, there is no reason to work hard.

vkyyu Wed 27-Nov-13 10:08:13

If the national average is 4b then every child’s target should be 4b or above.

"But that's nuts. The very nature of an average is that some people will fall below it."

If you give a lower target to start with then there will be more a chance to fall even further below!?

stillenacht Tue 26-Nov-13 23:02:47

My DS was 3b/c in yr 6... Despite lovely village primary, very affluent area, teachers as parents. Had he been in yr 5 and got 3b/c it wouldn't have been that much of a worry.

redundant Tue 26-Nov-13 21:49:34

oh god Snowmobility that sort of story just fills me with dread. So sad and wrong that children have to have their confidence knocked in this way.

I suppose the only positive is that publicity has shoved it to the fore as An Issue nowadays, so hopefully teachers and schools are more aware and able to handle it better. Maybe.

Reassuringly our primary seems refreshingly un-pushy and un-focused on academic learning so far, but maybe that's because my daughter who is currently there is very mature and winter-born so no pushing required.

Snowbility Tue 26-Nov-13 21:17:47

I think had I known the struggles we faced with a summer boy, who had issues too, mostly around being incredibly immature, we'd have gone private and delayed primary by a year.
I knew at the time that he was not ready for school but wasn't aware that we could delay by going private.

Yes we supported him and did extra work with him but that was hard on him, being socially immature was hard on him, not being able to listen and concentrate and the teacher getting frustrated with him, was hard on him. Being labelled as a dolly day dreamer by the teacher was hard on him.

He's catching up now (year 6) and I can see him gaining confidence and maturity but he would have enjoyed school so much more, fitted in so much easier had he just been a year older.

Snowbility Tue 26-Nov-13 21:09:56

I thought the level 4b was no longer thought of as average but rather as minimum attainment required.

stillenacht Tue 26-Nov-13 20:38:05

My DS (14) is late August born. It was a problem for him all the way through primary. So much so that we remortgaged our house and have put him into private secondary, in the year below. He is currently in year 9, still not top of the year group (there are many other reasons for this-dyslexia and his DB's disability have all impacted on him) but he is a far more confident boy now. I wish we could have done this in the state system.

Huitre Tue 26-Nov-13 20:06:48

If the national average is 4b then every child’s target should be 4b or above.

But that's nuts. The very nature of an average is that some people will fall below it.

vkyyu Tue 26-Nov-13 14:23:16

IME with two summer borns I accept to work extra hard to support them and encourage them to work hard to combat or make up for being younger. That s life. Everyone has some forms of personal issues one thing or another. However what I really disagree is that the school/s conveniently pigeonholed children into low, middle, top abilities right from the start of their academic journeys. Common sense tells how damage that is to develop a little voice in one's mind everyday "you, ..lower ability child!" repetitively every day from the age of 5 or 7 or 9. Everyone else around you is also aware of that “you re a lower ability child!”. Isn’t it a form of child abuse? I even know of some parents encourage their dcs only to associate with children who intend to take 11+ or in the top or middle sets.
IMO what blocks curriculum accesses is not being summer borns or slow/average starts regardless of birth months but the low expectations of the lower ability groups or classes.
Another issue I have is the setting targets for pupils. If a child obtained ks1 2c then his/er target will 4c in yr6. I thought all the tests are used to measure where a child is so we know how much s/he has to work to reach the national target. Never did I know the school would use the result to set target for yr6. If the national average is 4b then every child’s target should be 4b or above. If a gcse pass is c then no child should be expected have a target that is less than c.

redundant Tue 26-Nov-13 11:38:01

Yes, my understanding is as per CecilyP - not that I'm a statistician, but that would be my common sense view of it.

This is pertinent to me as my end of July 2 year old (born by CS, possibly a month before he would have appeared naturally) is physically very immature (2nd centile height) and emotionally, plus has a speech delay. I am very worried how he will cope, but am preparing to do the best I can to support him within the confines of the imperfect system, as I think delaying entry till he is 5 will have its own issues. I have an older child at the school already, and he does therefore have some advantages under his belt, in that the environment is familiar etc. I might feel differently if he was my first born.

My view is coloured as well by the very negative experiences both my brothers (end of July and August birthdays) had at school. Both very bright - one extremely so - but both absolutely failed to thrive and it very much had an affect on them all the way into their adult lives.

CecilyP Mon 25-Nov-13 22:37:54

Madasabox, obviously individual children are not all the same except for their month of birth. However, I am assuming a large enough sample size to encompass all varieties of other experiences, (as one would expect from a research project for a PhD in psychology) and therefore they do not have to adjust for other factors.

Madasabox Mon 25-Nov-13 21:35:56

The reason you do not have to adjust for any other factors is that all other factors apply in equal measure to children regardless of the month they are born. So, in fact, the only variable is the month of birth.

Really in equal effect across the groups chosen? A child is identical to another except for his month of birth?? You have Tom and Harry from separate families, both born to parents with IQs of 138+, university educated, father working in high paid job, but spends lots of time with his child at weekends, mother has given up high flying career to stay at home with child. Parents have spent 5 hours per week each since Tom and Harry were two years old working on Tom and Harry's letters, numbers, problem solving, fine motor skills and attention. Tom and Harry both benefit from having an older sister whose lessons/progress they have absorbed. She is exactly 4 years older than them. They both have identical physical abilities in terms of running, climbing, dressing themselves etc. They both can concentrate on a single toy for 25 minutes at a stretch and both have had exactly 9 months of nursery pre-school at a pushy yet supportive nursery before entering Reception.


Alternatively you have the same scenario as above but swap parental IQ for 120+; or both parents work in rewarding low paid jobs; or dad never made it to university although he is clever, he succeeded through hard work and force of personality which he has passed on to his children, or mum works full time, but is massively focused on her children, or mum doesn't work, but spends all her time watching TV and ignoring her kids, or the kids don't have an older sibling, but are the eldest of 4 so get little parental time or alternatively still get lots or they lag behind physically or they have glue ear and so can't hear sounds properly although they are perfectly clever; or they were not potty trained until 3.7, or they find it difficult to focus on one toy; or they find larger groups intimidating or alternatively stimulating; or they didn't get a chance to go to pre-school as they moved into the area half way through the year when all the pre-schools were full or alternatively they have been in full time nursery since 6 months.

The studies really adjust for all of those factors absolutely perfectly? The impact of all of those factors have been the subject of other extensive studies about how important they are for a child's attainment?

X2mum Mon 25-Nov-13 21:21:05

I have two summer born kids and I think that they are at a massive disadvantage! My yr3 is only catching up now but seems so little compared to her friends. My yr 1 is end of August and really struggling. His school test the whole time and he only gets 6 spellings a week rather than 12 if he doesn't get 6/6 his teacher calls me in about his work. I get called in every day about his work too and they don't seem to understand that most of his friends are turning 6 when he has just turned 5! It's a very high pressured school where one day he is at the top of the class and another day at the bottom - I call it immaturity! I really thought that the school would understand the problems sumner babies face but my school is not that interested and more interested in results which to be honest I should had realised when I sent my kids to a selective independent prep school!

CecilyP Mon 25-Nov-13 20:56:42

that there are many other factors to consider ie socio-economic grouping, parental IQ, parental help, years in nursery prior to education, personality of the child, maturity etc etc and having read the statistical studies on summer born effect, it looks to be quite difficult to adjust for all of these factors, all of which have an influence.

The reason you do not have to adjust for any other factors is that all other factors apply in equal measure to children regardless of the month they are born. So, in fact, the only variable is the month of birth.

Madasabox Mon 25-Nov-13 20:24:54

Interestingly on these threads you don't get many parents popping up with "well my child is autumn born but is towards the bottom of his class". There don't seem many people willing to recognise that there are in some cases children who just have more or less ability regardless of birth date. I don't disagree there is a statistical summer born effect, but what I take from this thread is that a lot of that dates from the time when those born in the summer had fewer terms of schooling and that since the system changed we haven't had sufficient time to analyse what the effect is. mrz is making the point (quite patiently I think) that there are many other factors to consider ie socio-economic grouping, parental IQ, parental help, years in nursery prior to education, personality of the child, maturity etc etc and having read the statistical studies on summer born effect, it looks to be quite difficult to adjust for all of these factors, all of which have an influence. Saying "oh my child is summer born, therefore struggles more etc" seems a little defeatist to me. Recognise there is an effect, work to combat it yes, don't perpetuate the view. If a child is constantly given the impression that he will do less well than his peers because of his age, he will in all probability try less hard and accept a lower standard of attainment.

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