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Private Tuition to Help Your Summer-Born Child

May 10, 2014

If your child is “summer-born” you could be forgiven for thinking he/she has been hampered educationally from day one, given the rash of reports bemoaning their relatively poor results:

2010 Summer-born children 'lag behind at school'

2011 Summer-born children 'less likely to attend top universities’

2012 Summer-born children 'struggling with maths'

2013 Summer-born pupils 'being stuck in lowest ability sets'

Of course this “month effect” is mainly due to the practice of organising children in schools by their age, a hangover from the Industrial Revolution that you’d think would have been engineered out of any modern system of education; they have had over 200 years to work on it after all.

In a lengthy and detailed Institute for Fiscal Studies report (don’t ask me why the IFS and not the DfE are doing this work) the author states "…there is a general consensus that the oldest in the year do better than their younger peers, and while the gap shrinks over time, it can persist through to GCSEs and have a long-lasting effect on employment opportunities."

Female Teenage Student Studying In Classroom With Teacher

This was 7 years ago and not a lot has changed; even as I write this [9th May 2014] the Telegraph are reporting that whilst government policy now allows parents to delay starting their summer-born children at school for a year, schools (which are not renowned for being flexible on anything) are then forcing these children straight into Year 1, thus spectacularly defeating the object.

In most of Europe they start formal schooling much later than in the UK, yet achieve better overall results - "In countries where they start a year older than the UK, the month effect is less marked and in countries where they start as late as seven, it completely washes out" states Dr David Whitebread, an Early Years Specialist at the University of Cambridge. Why the UK refuses to follow their example remains a mystery.

Apart from praying that our education system will receive a radical overhaul and become the envy of the world, what can you do as a parent to help your summer-born child achieve to the best of their ability?

First of all ignore all of the above doom and gloom – lies, damned lies and statistics! My July-25th-born child is doing fine and so will yours.

But since we have to live in the world where SATs and exams at specific times are a fact of life, private tuition can allow your child to bridge any gap between their ability and that of their older peers. As well as getting higher scores in tests and exams, it will also increase their confidence as they see they are the equals of their older classmates. And as yet another report explains, confident children do better: "A child that had a high ranking in maths early on, and was confident in it, was more likely to get good results in the subject later in their schooling."

So if you’re considering private maths or English tuition for your summer-born child we would say – start them early, as early success will build confidence for the future.

Kip McGrath in Brentwood offer tuition programmes right from pre-school, through SATs, 11 , and up to Year 13, so do come and see us at our tuition centre in Brentwood, or visit our website for more information.



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