Summer babies face difficult times at school

Children born in the summer months July & August are at a substantial academic disadvantage throughout their education  says a report from Claire Crawford co-author of the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

The study states that in junior school (Start of Key Stage 2) children born in August are more than three times as likely to be perform below average educationally than September born children.The report states that children born in August are  20% less likely to attend a top university.

The IFS also says that this has an economic consequence on  children born in the summner (July or August) and it will have consequences lasting through to their working lives and career.

The researchers report shows a sharp difference in outcomes between the youngest children in a year group when compared to  the oldest born in September for example.

The report states that August born seven year olds are on average three times more likely to be regarded as below average from their teachers in reading, writing and arithmatic. The researchers said they are also 2.5 times more likely to be unhappy at school, are ikely to have lower confidence and less likely to feel they control their own destiny and are at an increased risk of being bullied.

The trend even continues in to secondary schools and university. With August born teenagers 20% more likely to be in vocational rather than academic study after school than their September born colleagues.

This accident of birth can have far-reaching economic significance, says the IFS, as underachievement in qualifications at school will be likely to reduce employment opportunities in adulthood.

This research funded by the Nuffield Foundation is intended as a step towards finding the best way of tackling the disadvantages of being the youngest in a year group.

The rules for starting school mean that when a child reaches compulsory school age at the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday.

However it is usual to start school in the September after a child’s fourth birthday, which means that August babies would only just have reached the age of four when they enter the reception class.

It is not really surprising as August born children can be almost a year younger than their September-born classmates and face a disadvantage throughout their school life purely down to their age.