Younger, summer-born children lag behind older classmates and struggle to properly catch up throughout compulsory education, a think tank study has found, writes Graeme Paton at the Telegraph.
Researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have also found that despite being given additional help by parents, those born in August are 20 per cent more likely to take vocational qualifications at college and a fifth less likely to attend an elite Russell Group university than those with September birthdays.
Ellen Greaves, IFS research economist and the report’s author, said:
“It is clear that the consequences of the month in which you were born extend beyond educational attainment… We find evidence that, particularly at younger ages, summer-born children are more likely to report being unhappy at school and to have experienced bullying than autumn-born children.”
The report was based on an analysis of three major studies that track children from birth through their education and into early adulthood. It compared children born in September – at the start of the academic year – to those with birthdays in August to gauge the effect that this had on a range of issues relating to education and personal wellbeing, writes Paton.
Interesting, the report also found that as parents seek to compensate for disadvantages their children face at school, August-born children were, on average, given a “richer home learning environment” than other pupils.
Claire Crawford, one of the authors of the study, said August-born children may “end up doing worse than September-born children throughout their working lives, simply because of the month in which they were born”, writes Jessica Shepherd at the Guardian.
“Studying for academic qualifications, attending a Russell Group university, and believing that you have control over your own life are all associated with a greater chance of being in work and having higher wages later in life,” she said.
A previous study by the IFS, published in 2007, showed August-born children were significantly less likely to be academically successful than their September-born classmates.
The latest study comes amid a continuing debate over the best way to educate summer-born children.
The Government insist parents should be given greater control over when children are enrolled in primary education – starting them part-time or later in the reception year to make sure they are “school ready”.