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Study shows summer babies at school disadvantage

02/11/2011 Joanna
Pupils born in the summer may need more help from their secondary teacher than those born closer to the start of the school year, a new study has suggested.

A report published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) indicates that students born in summer months are around 2.5 times as likely to achieve "below average" results as their September-born peers.

The study found that girls born in August have 5.5 percentage points less chance of achieving five A* to C grades in their GCSEs compared their September-born counterparts.

This statistic for boys is even higher, at 6.1 percentage points.

August children were also found to be less likely to attend a leading university and more likely to study vocational qualifications at college.

The study authors said that while it has long been known that children born earlier in the school year typically achieve better exam results than those later in the year, there are longer term effects that need to be considered.

"Educational attainment is known to have long-term consequences for a range of adult outcomes," the study says.

"There is a body of evidence that emphasises the significant effects that a whole range of skills and behaviours developed and exhibited during childhood may have on later outcomes."

Drawing on a range of evidence, the authoritative report found that August-born pupils are considerably more likely to be unhappy at school and are also at an increased risk of being bullied.

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the study reflects the fact that children born in August can be up to a full year younger than their peers when they begin their education.

A Department for Education spokesman said that parents can now choose to place their child in a reception class following their fourth birthday so that they are ready to start school, the BBC reported.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-800784402-ADNFCR
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