Summer-borns 'suffer at school'

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Summer-born children who start school at the age of four may suffer serious stress and anxiety that could damage their educational prospects, claims a new report.

Birthdate Effects: A Review of the Literature from 1990-on, published bythe Cambridge Assessment, part of Cambridge University, says thatdevelopmental psychology suggests that children between the ages of fourand five may not be ready for formal schooling.

It says factors such as leaving familiar surroundings, facing separationfrom parents and adapting to new routines could help to explain whychildren born in summer perform less well overall in exams than thoseborn in autumn or winter.

Data from 13 local education authorities providing GCSE resultsundertaken in 1990 to 1994 shows that summer-borns achieved the lowestresults in ten LEAs. The review says the birthdate effect is weaker incountries where formal schooling begins at a later age.

Tim Oates, group director of assessment research and development atCambridge Assessment, called for urgent research into how to remedy thebirthdate effect.

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