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Summer born children-disadvantage?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by lauraeve, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. I'm a 3rd Year Childhood Studies student and I'm currently working on my dissertation on summer born children in the Reception class and whether or not they are at a disadvantage, considering there may be a gap of nearly a year between the youngest and oldest child in the class.
    Do any Reception teachers here have any views/opinions on the matter? In what way do you think they would be at a disadvantage, if at all, and in what developmental areas.
    Thanks for any help

  2. I'm a 3rd Year Childhood Studies student and I'm currently working on my dissertation on summer born children in the Reception class and whether or not they are at a disadvantage, considering there may be a gap of nearly a year between the youngest and oldest child in the class.
    Do any Reception teachers here have any views/opinions on the matter? In what way do you think they would be at a disadvantage, if at all, and in what developmental areas.
    Thanks for any help

  3. hi, i too am planning to do my dissy on summer borns next year. as a parent of an autumn and summer term born children, and an experienced educational practioner (over 15 years) i believe most (not all) summer borns are definately disadvantaged when it comes to sat's. summer borns tend to miss out by as much as 2 terms. eyfs baseline assessment and even obs of children should show differences developmentally, cognitivally, limited social experiences and understanding, physically, motor skills, fine and gross. there are quite a lot of papers published around the subject. hope this helps somewhat and good luck
  4. My eldest daughter is 10 and in year 6. She is an August 28th baby and I have a huge chip on my shoulder!!
    Yes she is/was definately at a disadvantage. She is now doing ok academically, but her social/emotional skills and her levels of concentration are lower than her peers.
    She was not ready to sit and listen when she started reception.
    I will be interested to see how the Foundation phase/stage effects summer babies in the future.
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I've taught many extremely able and mature August born children just as I've taught many less able and immature children with September birthdays.
    Traditionally summer born children will have spent much less time in school than their autumn born peers and still been compared accademically.
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Both my children have summer birthdays and in addition my son was born 4 weeks prem and neither experienced any problems in reception (pre EYFS)
  7. My son was born in late august but he was so ready for nursery. He is year 5 now and in top groups all the way.
  8. Hettys

    Hettys New commenter

    one could argue that they are at an advantage. They start school earlier so they have more opportunities than say a September born child. Particularly now that Reception is much like nursery in it's child-initiated approach to learning. There should be less sitting down/formal learning so they shouldn't struggle in that respect. My son is October born and his cousin August. My son was very miffed that his cousin went to school a whole year earlier. They were very much on a level developmentally but his cousin learned to read and write a lot younger than my son because he went to school earlier.
  9. Hettys

    Hettys New commenter

    I should add that in my area alll the children start school in the September so they all have a full year in Reception
  10. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    I'm not sure how many LAs still do staggered entry to reception. Having experienced both 3 points of entry and a single point (what we do now) I think the latter works really well. The biggest difference I have seen is in the summer born children many of whom, for example, are reading on a level with their older peers. Of course, some are not ready, but EYFS has much more flexibility in terms of being able to teach them at their own level.
  11. meatschool

    meatschool New commenter

    My son is august born and the disadvantage didnt show up until A level.

    In my year 1 classes I think it is disposition that counts for more than age. Of course a few months can make a huge difference the younger you are. A year (like my son) ought to make a big difference- but for some children it doesnt seem to academically, for some it doesnt seem to socially. for some it does.
    In my current class I have a roly poly youngest boy and a working hard and focused younger girl (both July born). Do you think gender makes a difference? My son was tuned into adults and used to playing quietly to some extent- so maybe that helped him to settle into school.
    (Though he could rampage around the house with friends too.)
    I think calendar age is not as important as 'maturity' and disposition and 'readiness' for school.
  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    It all depends what you mean by disadvantage.
    Certainly in general, (of course there are exceptions, but I'm using here a proper statistical study) the younger the child in the year group, the lower their grades, right the way through school. I worked in a huge local authority and collation of all the GCSE results still showed even at that stage a significant difference in performance between the children who were old in the year and those who were younger in the year. I'm afraid I can't remember the difference, but it was a certain number of GCSE points per month of birth.
    That's why IQ tests, 11+ tests etc are all age standardised. Of course we can all come up with examples of younger children who get better sats levels than older children, but that's not the point, I'm saying that on average it does make a difference.

  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Is it because they are younger or because they have spent less time in school? Most summer born children spend 2 terms less in school than their autumn born peers.
  14. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Msz, I'm not sure without detailed and correct analysis of the data by your authority at age 16 you would really know whether age made a difference. It might be that at your school you are somehow managing to iron out the differences in age - with something that must equate to more practice at whatever it is for the average summer born than for the average autumn born. But the LA as a whole might not be managing it for the population of children as a whole.
    It must be a mix of things - up to two terms less of school could be a disadvantage for children born in the summer in schools that still do a split intake. But really age just must make a difference - this is why IQ tests are standardised by age - you just wouldn't expect the average 6 year old to be able to get the same raw score in an IQ test as the average 7 year old, 8 year old etc etc , so if IQ has some kind of impact on school results, age must do so too.
  15. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Well yes it would be possible for some summer born children children to achieve higher results (that aren't age standardised) than some autumn born peers.
    And you could just happen to have a class where all the summer borns perform better than all the autumn borns. But this does not mean that for the school population as a whole that the "average" summer born performs better than the "average" autumn born. It's just that one class in a school is not going to be a true cross-section of the whole school population.
    You need huge numbers to see what is really happening with the data - not one class, one school, one area, year. You need at least a whole local authority area, year on year, several years.
    And the fact is, in general autumn borns do better than summer borns, even at GCSE there is still a statistically significant effect. And there are loads of schools and LA areas that have been taking all children in to reception in September for many many years. It's not new in many areas.
    But taking a summer-born child into school two terms earlier does not magically improve their education - only if it's better than the alternative available at nursery, pre-school, childminder, or at home.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So all NC tests (SATs GCSEs A Levels)
    just as being born in the summer doesn't automatically doom you to a life of accademic disadvantage...

  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sorry I missed degrees off the list of tests that aren't age standardised.
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I believe (as the mother of two summer borns) unless you can isolate date of birth from the many other factors it isn't possible to say which factor has the greatest influence on future achievement. It's very easy to say they are younger so they will be disadvantaged.
  19. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I agree with you. It's important to make a distinction between individual children and the school population as a whole. If you look at an individual summer-born child you can never jump to the conclusion that they might do do as well as an autumn born. Clearly that could easily be a wrong conclusion to which to jump.
    But if you look at a large school population as a whole you could reasonably draw this conclusion about the summer borns as a whole versus the autumn borns as a whole.
  20. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Teaching maths in secondary, the thing that has struck me, when looking at set-lists with dates of birth on, is that although the bottom sets have shown significant biases towards summer birthdays, there hasn't been a noticeable bias in the top sets.
    That suggests that maybe the abler kids do well regardless of birth month, but those who are less able are further disadvantaged by being summer birthdays. If I were in a position to do the research, I'd be looking at the distribution of outcomes for summer-born/autumn-born, rather than just the average level.


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