September children spring forward, August children fall back

A new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that, relative to children born in September, children born in August, on average:

  • score substantially lower in national achievement tests and other measures of cognitive skills;
  • are more likely to study for vocational qualifications if they stay on in post-compulsory education;
  • are less likely to attend a Russell Group (high-status) university at age 19;
  • have lower confidence in their academic ability and are less likely to believe that they control their own destiny as teenagers.

While a future study plans to identify the causes of these findings, schools may be keen to consider practical ways to address these issues. For example, they may consider reviewing the extent to which curriculum provision is developmentally appropriate for the youngest children in the first terms of schooling; how summer borns are supported in meaningfully interacting with their older peers, as equals, in classroom and playtime activities, and the role that social-emotional learning might play in enhancing achievement.

Source: Does when you are born matter? The impact of month of birth on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills in England (2011), Institute for Fiscal Studies


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