Tuesday, 3 September 2013

My August born daughter

This post comes from the heart as we experience school life though the eyes of our daughter, who was born in August, and started year 4 this September. 
Picture One: New born
Amelie Fay Tulloch born 19.08.2005 – two weeks early

Picture Two: Just before first birthday
Amelie Tulloch 0n 18.08.2006
In an academic year group we sit students who were born on 1 September (Think second picture), next to students born on 31 August a year later (Think first picture): the relative immaturity of the younger students has an impact on learning, particularly in primary school.  

This system creates a penalty for the August born child, which research suggests is worse for girls, counter to teachers' natural assumptions. The impact diminishes at High School, but has been linked to choosing less academic pathways for KS5.

Being aware and being supportive of the students' relative immaturity within the year cohort is important – this might just be realising how progress at this level at this point in their lives is remarkable. It might involve positive grouping strategies, peer mentoring, subject mentoring or regular meetings with parents.  It might mean being particularly tuned in to that specific student and offering support or praise regularly. 

It’s worth knowing who your September born students are (Think second picture) and who your August born children are (Think first picture) as well as the relative youth of the rest of your class.  When the September born children arrived in our world, the August born childrens' mothers' were not even pregnant... not until 2-3 months later.

The relative immaturity of the August born child represents:

Reception        20% less life experience

Year 1              17% less life experience

Year 2              14% less life experience

Year 3              13% less life experience

Year 4              11% less life experience

Year 5              10% less life experience

Year 6              9% less life experience

My daughter (pictured) started year 4, 11 days after she was 8 years old, today.  I think she finds the social situations at school really stressful due to her relative immaturity; she has struggled to make positive friendships.  Academically, she is very bright and achieves above average, but I always wonder what she would have achieved if she was the eldest in the year group below.  

See research here: