summer-born children(154 Posts)
Children born in August, July or June, are nearly 1 year younger than autumn-born children in their class. There is evidence that they lag behind the older children not only academically, but also in sport, and are more likely to be diagnosed ADHD or to be excluded from school. Any parents of summer-born children who have encountered problems because of this? I believe that the authorities are not dealing with it at all.
I'd like to reassure you a bit. In the vast majority of schools, especially Good/Outstanding ones, the management teams and teachers will definitely be taking into account summer borns.
In all pupil progress meetings that I have been part of we dedicate time to monitoring their progress and if they are falling behind their peers then early interventions are put in place to narrow the gap. When I was literacy coordinator I would always ask colleagues for summer born data so we could accurately track them.
As you say, the evidence is there which is why we would always take it into account.
I agree with the previous poster. I'm a primary school governor and we are fully aware of this issue. When we are given progress and achievement data it is always split out to show the autumn / summer born children separately, and the younger children are given extra support as necessary.
I would rather my (Spring born) children are in a class where the age spread is only 12 months, than allowing some children to delay, and there be 15 months spread in ability across the class.
So we need to move to a more play based system for KS1, and less testing in Primary.
I'm a summer born baby who is now an adult and being summer born has not affected my education or career at all....
Someone has to be the youngest don’t they? I have two summer born children and with my eldest it never even occurred to me to be worried she would be too young for school. She went through the whole school system with no issues academically or socially and is now 14 and in year 10 and in the top sets for GCSEs doing really well. My other child has special needs - severe autism and learning disabilities so he wouldn’t have coped in mainstream anyway but I think generally “average” / “normal” children (hate those words but trying to get my point across!) do manage in school even if they are summer born.
It does make a difference in primary. Testing doesn't help as it reinforces belief systems - can/can't do.
My August born ds has just started secondary and is doing well. I think this is largely because he learnt to work hard to make up for the disadvantage of being summer born. He lagged behind all of ks1 and it came together in yr5.
Also there will usually only be a few autumn borns. It’s not like the entire class is one year older. Likely only a few months.
They should all start school a year later (imho)
I read in an article today (sorry didn't keep the link!) that summer born children are disadvantaged in the early years of primary school, but that this disappears a few years in.
I think you can only respond to and deal with it in context of your actual child. DB is summer-born and we lived in a country with the flexibility to hold him back, which is what my parents did. But DH was the youngest in his class and had no issues, he was almost always top of the class.
My ds is August born. He was also born at 34 weeks and has ASD. He has help at school but he copes and already works really hard, in a way I'm not sure he would if he was one of the older, more confident ones. He's in a class of 18 and there are 3 other August birthdays. As a pp said it's not like everyone is a year older.
The school knows the ages of the dc's they teach and adjust accordingly. At lest they have so far, he's only in yr1 atm.
I really don’t get how allowing people to hold their children back helps the situation. You are just making some other children the youngest in the year and passing on that disadvantage.
Schools work hard to level the playing field and I have not seen evidence of summer born children being “behind” in DD’s class. Certainly when I was a child it was not the case - I am a summer born and was always placed with the year above at my primary school (1.5 class intake).
In the current set up I would worry more about a high achiever not being stretched.
I know those first two posts were supposed to be reassuring, but what you've actually said there is 'don't worry, if your Summer born is behind, even if it is PURELY due to age, we will make sure they do less of the wider curriculum, or access less playtime or 'school community' time, so they can do more of the same work they are not quite developmentally ready for.
My DS is August born and, although quite able, his motor skills lagged behind in KS1 so his writing was slow to develop. I'm very glad his school didn't decide he had to be pulled out of playtime, or assembly, or topic lessons to work on this. It would have made him miserable and what he actually needed was a few months-worth more of myelin in his brain. No intervention was going to make that happen more quickly.
Personally I think the answer is to age-adjust all the statutory tests right up to A-Level. It wouldn't be difficult to do.
I agree Lowdoor, age adjusting is the way to go
There is a legitimate amount of research that demonstrates how we educate young children doesn't work especially
for the summer born.
There is also a legitimate amount of research that summer borns are disadvantaged. Read Outliers for a layman's version.
What to do about it? I don't know with our current education system. Delay formal learning until 7? Scrap ks1 testing in year 2 because it's a waste of time?
As a couple of PP have said, someone has got to be the youngest and there is always going to be a 12 month age difference, or more if children are defer their place.
I have a July born DD and yes it was easy to see the difference between her and the girls who were nearly a year older. The difference was more evident socially in my opinion, but then dd was quite a quiet girl. I think it was probably high school before these differences disappeared.
If the option to defer has been around then, would I have done it? Maybe because she seemed so young, but then again and someone else has said that then disadvantages other kids and there is no way of knowing if she would have done any differently.
DD is now a popular girl studying physics and uni.
All the anecdotes about successful August borns are not that helpful.
The data is there. Statistically summer borns do worse. Academically, emotionally, socially. They have higher rates of anxiety, lower self esteem, higher diagnoses of ADHD.
I appreciate schools are aware of the issue, but at a population level it remains an issue.
And while the gap does narrow it remains throughout school - fewer August borns go to university than spetember borns. Admittedly it's a tiny margin by 18. But it is still there.
My ds is an August born. In his class he is the youngest by 2 months. There have already been 3 6th birthday parties.
If he had deferred he would have increased the age range by 2 weeks! Can't see how that would be a problem.
Allowing parents to choose to defer easily would mean those who feel their children are ready when they have just turned 4 could send them, and those who don't wouldn't have to. Some summer borns will be fine. Not all are.
It's not an ideal solution. But it's the best we have at the moment.
Starting school later would be better.
But it's not something there is a particularly wide focus on. When the GCSE/A Level results come out they always comment on how boys and girls results differ. They don't mention the spread by birth month. And it's there. And significant.
I've always had to point out to teachers that my DD was an end of August baby. They had never bothered to check and were getting irritated that she was so immature.
DD found the beginning of year 1 and 2 difficult but exceeded expectations at the end of both years after making amazing progress in the last term. Her teachers said they had never seen that.
She's now is in year 4 and doing very, very well. Age no longer seems to be an issue.
I do feel that DD wasn't very well supported in KS1 and a lot of it had to do with teachers not knowing/caring about her young age. If we hadn't been so engaged, I feel she could have easily fallen behind.
Part of my job is doing developmental assessments (looking for delay, learning problems, ASD etc) I would say we see maybe 3/4 children who are born May-August. The schools refer these children because they are less able to cope. In my experience I would say this continues until yr 3 or 4
I'm not in the UK, so slightly different system here. But my birthday is in September, which made me 5 years 4 months when I started primary school. I had friends who were much younger. One of my best friends was April-born, meaning she started school at 4 years 9 months, and had others in our grade who started at 5 years 9 months.
It didn't affect anyone, as far as I'm aware. There was one June-born girl in our grade, who would've been 4.5 when she started, and she had definite issues, but I don't think that they could be attributed to her relatively young age.
As for my children, I have two winter-born and two summer-born. I have two in school at the moment; one from each season. Neither has had difficulty adjusting. Certainly, where we are, the overwhelming majority of children have birthdays in spring and summer, which means that the average age of the cohort is "young".
"Children born in August, July or June, are nearly 1 year younger than autumn-born children in their class."
Yes, but the class won't be made up exclusively of autumn born children. There wil, be a range of children with birthdays throughout the year, and a system that emphasises differentiation.
There are always going to be the youngest children in a group, whenever there are age regulations about who can join.
If you don't believe the authorities are dealing with it, cou,d you specify which country you are in (the UK home nations have differing systems and devolved responsibilities) and what you would like to see happen instead?
The data is there. Statistically summer borns do worse.
"Starting school later would be better. "
Its no surprise that summer borns are likely to do worse as they are younger. As another poster has already said there has to be someone who is younger. Starting school later will just mean someone else (the spring borns) are more likely to be disadvantaged. We'll then get parents of spring borns arguing they should have the right to delay.
DS was summer born but was ready for school and more than copes, but I appreciate other children (summer born or not) weren't so ready.
I think generally ( I know people always quote exceptions) but on average summer borns ( especially boys) are at a disadvantage and research shows that the gap hasn't closed even at GCSE. The reason is two fold, not just that they are younger and therefore are at a disadvantage as they have had almost a year less to be exposed to vocab etc/ for their brains to be ready to learn but also because early failure sets a pattern of thinking you are not good enough and it is very hard to overcome. In my opinion in the schools I've worked in teachers do not recognise it enough as, whilst date is prsented to governors etc , the reality is that in most schools it can be written off as 'oh they are summer born they will catch up' and many don't. Sadly teachers do not have the time/ resources and it is an issue that needs more thinking about from the powers that be. Standardising test scores etc is definitely a good idea like is done on many 11+ tests. That is quite an easy step to take, the issue of self-esteem being set early on is far more tricky.
Thanks to everyone who replied so quickly (this is my first ever post on mumsnet). Most people are saying: there is bound to be a spread of ages in every class, but the authorities are aware of it and know how to and are, dealing with the issue.
My experience does not bear this out. Anecdotal evidence from my yr-6 son's school indicates that most of the children on report for behavior, suffering dyslexia or ADHD, etc., are summer-born. Nearly all the boys winning sports trophies, captains, prefects, etc. are autumn-born. I contacted 2 well-known (selective) grammar schools in our area to ask for a breakdown of birthmonths of pupils, and both declined to help or reply. I have personally asked 2 heads of local selective schools how do they deal with this problem when marking entrance exams, and they replied that all test scores are "standardised". What the hell does that mean? And if it is working, why are they so cagey about showing the birth-month statistics of their pupils?
Are there any parents of selective-school children (which includes pupils at oversubscribed and popular state secondaries) who would be willing to request birth-month data from the heads or the governors of their child's school, and then share that information with me? No private data of any individual child is needed - just the number of children at the school whose birthdays fall in August, and in July, and so on, giving just 12 numbers for each school.
My daughter is a 31 August birthday. She was 9 hrs short of being in the next year and started school 4 days after her 4th birthday. She was ready and has never struggled academically however emotional she did struggle for a year or two.
She is now in yr 6 and in all top sets and is top of the class in English and reading. She has also represented the county and region in a sport so it is not always the way that summer borns struggle.
DS is born end of July and If I could have deferred him I would have as he didn't seem ready but he really surprised me. He ended up leaving reception on the top reading band in his class and developed a real love for school and learning.
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