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Are July born children at a disadvantage at school?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by Artdoodle, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. Artdoodle

    Artdoodle New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping to get some advice from you especially from any Primary School teachers. My son is seven and born at the end of July. A year and a half ago we moved from Scotland to England (where they start formal education a year later) and my daughter who is very bright needed some extra tuition to catch up on some of the work she had missed; she then did really well in her SAT tests and is fine at High School.

    Last year my son seemed to be doing well with good reports and lots of rewards for effort and work. He has moved into Year 3/4 with a new teacher and things have gone downhill. We haven't had much contact from the school so assumed everything was ok and then they rang and spoke to my husband. They have concerns particularly about his writing (he is very good at Maths and excellent verbally) and also his social development as he often gets angry and upset and is unable to calm down.

    I am a HOD in a large secondary school and am at work a lot where as my Husband is stays at home. We have now received a letter saying that they are referring him to the SEN department. There is nothing specific in the letter and it is very vague, I am obviously unable to get an appointment until January where I will be able to meet with the SENCO but not with my child's teacher ( as he takes them swimming the only morning the SENCO is in) I would really prefer to meet with both in order to get the bigger picture.

    I have spoken to my son and he says that the older kids are constantly making comments and he comes back regularly from school with bangs, bruises and other accidents. (this could be perfectly innocent as he is very clumsy) So I am rather worried and am concerned that as one of the youngest in Year 3 he is having a tough time. He took his circuit board in the other week to show and tell and came back saying that all the other kids had learnt about that already, I think this will really effect his self-esteem if we can't get a handle on it.

    So what should I do? Are there any particular questions I need to ask? I really don't want him labelled if it is simply partially due to his age and the fact that we have moved education systems. I am happy to do anything we need to in order to improve the situation for him.

    Many thanks for reading!
     
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no they are not, above the age of about 7 it makes absolutly no difference, and very little difference before that. There is a lot of hype about summer borns, but the only area that is is truly significant is in sport
     
  3. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    My elder daughter is a July birthday and in the days when she started school it was a 3 times a year intake..... so after Easter our her ( a late Easter) as I recall just a week of mornings or just afternoons..... Whit - 2 weeks off galloped up and then after Whit it was all working on summer fair and sports day; hardly worth calling it school in fact! I was pretty frustrated especially after the 'open evening' the year before with the Head telling prospective parents how disadvantaged the 'summer children' were with some of them not catching up til 2nd year junior ! Luckily she was a bright girl and having had a teacher for a mother was well up to speed.
    However when given a date for child no 2..... Aug 30th!!! when it came to that last day on August I sat back with feet up and in fact only moved twice (to go to the loo ! ) She was finally induced on Sept 10th!! Plus by the time she was due to go to school that had changed the starting police so summer babies started in the January - so all round much fairer.
    I have seen kids in secondary school with August birthdays and a good few of them could have done with another year in school !
    I feel that if parents agree and the child can cope then they should start in the September no matter which month the birthday falls or failing that then a January start.
    I started school aged just over 4. My cousin born 10 days after me in May started over a year later after he was 5 not really fair eh?
    What about the children for whom school provides about the only stability? The longer some children are left with very inadequate parents does not seem a good idea to me. Of course before all this dreadful government intervention primary and infant schools used to do quite some nurturing and often made up for poor parenting. That hardly happens now and what do we have..... innumerable children with all sorts of issues/problems etc.....
     
    TheoGriff likes this.
  4. enyliram

    enyliram New commenter

    I am in two minds about this. I have moved from Northern Ireland to England just a few months ago, and my son changed from being the eldest to being one of the youngest in his class (he is 8, and just started Year 4), and although it is fine so far, he has been struggling with some of the maths (which he normally loves). I don't think this was because of his age though, but rather because his former school had a more traditional curriculum where maths skills would build upon each other, rather than introducing number facts altogether as it seems to be the case in his new school. Last year, he was receiving weekly support as an EAL pupil and benefited from it. I was asked if I agreed to the support being put in place, and I did. His teacher was also incredibly supportive and would push him to always do the best he could, and he had started to take responsibility for his homework and even enjoying it...

    Although it may not be his age in itself, the move, the changes, and possibly not really good relationships with other children may have affected him. The year before last year, my son had a terrible year in part due to some kind of bullying by one other kid in particular (who, I can see, didn't realise what he was doing). It was affecting his mood and his school work. Things started to change when this boy moved abroad, and when he got a new teacher.

    As for your appointment with the SENCO, I would ask abut the nature of the referral. Has your child already been assessed? And if so, what are their conclusions? I would ask whether they believe this support is temporary or permanent: as far as I understand SEN is not always a label, but can be a way for children who are struggling to get adequate support, and if they are flagging something more serious, it is also worth knowing.
     
    TheoGriff likes this.
  5. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    I disagree, Corvus. Our primary school statistics include government statistics which always showed autumn born national averages were higher than spring born which were higher than summer born. I’ve seen GCSE and university statistics showing the same thing though they said the gap was very small by then. I’ve known many summer born children do very well and autumn born children who struggle but the statistics overall show it does matter. I’m with Helen on this. My September born offspring was absolutely not coming in August!

    Very sensible comments from enyliram. Please don’t see being part of SEN as a label but try to establish whether they think he is having temporary difficulties or otherwise. The Senco should have the overall picture and knowledge and the class teacher will have discussed it with them.
     
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Indeed having read your post I wondered if they were suspecting dyslexia or dyspraxia, where you mention 'concerns particularly about his writing (he is very good at Maths and excellent verbally' and 'he comes back regularly from school with bangs, bruises and other accidents. (this could be perfectly innocent as he is very clumsy', so see what the SEN recommendations are first.

    Having two summer born boys, yes I do think it can make a difference.
     
  7. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I think that by 7 the difference should be evening out. Go and listen to the SENCO and take it from there. Not easy but try and be grateful they have picked something up and presumably have a plan. Go in prepared to listen. You're bound to feel defensive but try and take their view on board first. When you've had time to think about what they are saying you can go back and talk more. The ball is roling, make the most of the impetus for your son.
     
  8. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I'm august born, never an issue to me personally
     
  9. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    I too have seen the statistical research that shows the correlation between the month of birth and the attainment in schools and have no reason to doubt it's accuracy but that is very much the 'big' picture, there are so many other influences on the individual.

    My brother was born in the first week of September so by rights should have been the oldest in his year group but due to some mix up or other he went to school a year early, was allowed to progress to secondary along with his year group but did HAVE to stay in the 6th form when the rest of his classmates were able to go out to work...he got a similar degree to myself and certainly earns more than me (we both leaned towards Computer Science/IT but he went into the private sector whilst I taught).
     
    TheoGriff and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    In my experience it makes a big difference, especially with boys.
    Excellent advice from Sunday.
    I wish you and your son all the best.
     
  11. Artdoodle

    Artdoodle New commenter

    Hi,

    Thank you all for the advice and kind words. Enliyram I feel you may have hit the nail on the head as on reflection I think the move has effected him more than I realised and it has definitely had a knock on effect on his academic progress. I will go in with an open mind and will try not to be defensive, if he needs extra support we aew keen for him to get it. He is extremely bright loving boy and has a great memory but seems quite young socially.

    He gets very obsessive about things and is quite argumentative and has to have the last word. I have talked with my hubby about this as we have had concerns about his ability to cope with emotions. To be honest it wouldn't be a surprise if he turns out to be on the autistic spectrum. Anyway I will try not to overthink the situation. Thanks again for the feedback, wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
     
  12. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Recent research shows that there is still an effect at GCSE, of about a ten percent difference between the oldest and the youngest in the year.

    Your son sounds a lot like my third. He was a June birthday, very able, particularly at maths, terrible handwriting, emotionally immature and definitely on the spectrum though we never had him tested because there didn't seem much point. He found parts of school hard. He couldn't be persuaded that there was any point in studying subjects he wasn't interested in. He didn't learn anything in maths until a long way through high school because he used to read his older brothers' textbooks for pleasure. He came good at A level, when he only had to study the things he was interested in, and ended up going to Cambridge so don't despair!
     
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    From the sound of your second post, you agree with what the school are saying and are concerned about the same things. Therefore the meeting should be about agreeing a way to help and support and seeing what they advise. You mention the possibility of Asperger, other posters have mentioned the possibility of dyspraxia/dyslexia. Add all of these into moving schools/school systems/house and being very young...it's no wonder he is struggling!

    Yes, being a July/August birthday makes a massive difference right through primary, especially for those for whom emotions are a tricky thing to master. Being a very young year 3 in a year 3/4 class will means some pupils are two years older than he is...of course they will be more mature and know more academically.

    The year less to play and learn before starting school also makes a huge difference...yes it evens out a little by the end of primary and even more by the end of secondary, but in year 3/4 it will still be noticeable.
     
  14. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    That is complete nonsense.

    There is more of a correlation between height and results than there is between month of birth and results.

    or even more with distance apart that parents were born, if you want to look at the most up to date research

    The further apart your parents were born, the better your academic achievements. Any generation, any part of the world
     
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Do you think your own statement there may be a bit 'sweeping'?

    I've certainly noticed in my career that often summer born children do seem to be at a disadvantage when taking public exams, as they're often at least 6 months younger at point of testing. That can make a real difference with some children.

    However as with any human 'research' there are so many variables and one could probably 'prove' whatever you wanted by manipulation of the sample / questions etc.
     
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    exactly. No one seriously thinks a 3% difference in age at GCSE is going to have the slightest bearing.

    The differences in natural intellectual will be over 30%,as in 10x greater,, as will the differences in attendance, in sleeping hours, diet, discipline with revision, parental support, access to revision material, motivation,aptitude, interest, space...........

    month of birth will have no affect after infant school. and very little then ( a maximum of 14% aged 7). I've even come cross mum's trying to use being summer born as an excuse for failing a degree.....its ridiculous. Another totally invalid statistic flashed around in schools and used for an excuse by parents.
     
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    A 'just turned 7' year old is around 24% younger than a 'just turned 9' year old. This is huge for the OP's son in his composite class.

    I have recently taught year 3 for several years and the difference between the oldest and youngest in terms of maturity and academic attainment is still very marked, as is the difference of both between boys and girls. For the OP's child, being a boy in a class with girls almost two years older will make a very noticeable difference.
     
  18. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

  19. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Those are interesting, sparklepig. Even says that September born children are 20% more likely to go to higher education than August born. The effect does indeed continue for the group as a whole.

    Yes, other factors will also have an effect and often a greater effect but the difference is there.
     
  20. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    that is just complete nonsense!
     

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