Summer born children struggle at school

The study surveyed more than 7,000 children in reception classes in Surrey. Summer-born children were perceived by teachers to have lower levels of language ability and have more instances of behaviour problems. The authors said “our results question whether many of the youngest children in the classroom have the language skills to meet the demands of the curriculum, to integrate socially with older peers and to regulate their own emotions and behaviours.”

Professor Courtenay Norbury, of the university’s psychology department noted that "there is a constant dilemma for parents over whether to delay sending them to school" as year groups are set for children born between 1 September and 31 August, creating a situation where some children can be almost a year older than their peers. Although there have been suggestions that it might be better to start school at a later age in the UK, Professor Norbury said the study suggested that "starting school young may be less of a problem if the curriculum is more in line with children's developmental levels, and more emphasis is placed on developing children's oral language skills".

A Department for Education spokesperson said:“Our reforms are raising the quality of early years education and childcare, and by doubling the childcare entitlement for working parents we are helping to ensure more children are ready to make the transition to school.”

Read more