Summer-born children are more likely to fail their exams, be victimised by bullies and have special needs
GraemePaton, Education Editor Telegraph
Summer-born children ‘lag behind at school’. Summer-born children are more likely to struggle at school and face bullying. In an analysis that lays bare the negative effects of an August birthday, researchers said younger children were considerably behind by the age of five and many struggled to catch up throughout compulsory education. The report found that summer-born children were more likely to be bullied and have registered learning difficulties than older classmates. They are also less likely to take academic A-levels in the sixth-form or go to university. The disclosure – in a study by the Department for Education – comes amid a debate over the best way to educate summer-born children. Last year, Ed Balls, the former Schools Secretary, recommended that all children should start school aged four – instead of five – to give them longer to master the basics. But academics have warned that summer-born children are being pushed into compulsory education before they are ready – and the school starting age should actually be pushed back to six or seven to allow them to develop naturally. According to the latest study, children born in August – the youngest of their school year – have lower than average results throughout compulsory education. At five years old, September-born pupils were almost twice as likely to reach the expected levels of basic development as August-born pupils. At the age of 11, those born in the autumn were also much more likely to hit national targets in the three-Rs. Currently, around half of all children leave school aged 16 with five decent GCSEs, including English and maths. But the number of summer-born children hitting the target was found to be around six percentage points down on those with birthdays in September. The report said: “To put this in context, 10,000 summer-born children per year fail to achieve this standard at GCSE, which influences their chances of progressing to A-levels and beyond, purely because they are the youngest pupils sitting the GCSE examinations due to the timing of their birth and the school year.” It said approximately 90,000 autumn-born pupils failed to achieve the standard compared with 100,000 of those born in the summer. The report also looked at the progress of summer-born children outside the classroom. It found they were better behaved, with lower rates of persistent absence and less suspensions and expulsions. But citing two national surveys, the report said these pupils also had a slightly higher risk of being bullied.
Parentsoutloud believe that many parents know this to be true and comments on Parentsoutloud confirm this. It is criminal and in fact cruel to these small children to be put in this environment and then tested and deemed to fail. When Parliament return Parentsoutloud intend to lobby Michael Gove on this and ask he looks seriously at the reports finding and stops this bad practice.