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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:09 pm 
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I noticed that the forum is a little quiet these days and thought maybe I'd start a discussion if anyone else is willing to participate and share their experience.

Apologies in advance for my long post.

I was wondering :

Do you think that even with the standardised system , that summer born babies are disadvantaged in any way in grammar school exams that are based purely in english and maths?

I think that they are and that adding a score of 3 marks for being born between May and August is not enough.

I feel that the maturity that is needed to express themselves or understand the language used clearly is not fully developed.
I can only speak from my own experience and am noticing that things that ds friends were interested in especially reading and comprehension, he is just beginning and I stress just beginning to master.
Previously he was careless in his work ( no matter how much I explained the importance) and is only now beginning to be more interested in the things that I'm offering him in preperation for the Sutton part 2 paper.

His exposure to reading is much less than say someone born in Sept or Oct who is in his academic year, and is only picking up those books now and having a better understanding of the plot.

I'd be really curious to know what the statistics would be for the months children were born in that passed the exams at these schools.

Is it a myth in my mind that I would believe there to be a higher proportion of children born in the autumn or winter?....

And yes some kids are especially bright and born in the summer , but why does a summer child have to be the bright prodigy to win a place , when an average autumn baby would just cruise straight in.


On saying all of this , I'm happy to contradict myself and accept that the 3 marks given in verbal and nonverbal exams is sufficient..as I believe these subjects actually test the childs abilty to parrot fashion memorise with logic and reason .

I think the american education system is alittle fairer to all the children in the same class.
I think (not 100% sure) that all the children born in the same year, ie 2001, are placed in the same academic year.. so that the average eduation level taught is aimed at the summer babies, so that a January born child in 2001 for eg, is 5-6 months ahead of its peers and a December born child in 2001, is only 5-6 month behind its peers..

In England ,we find that an August born child is always 10-11 months behind the academic level taught in class and autumn born babies tend to do better, settle in better and cope better with any new concept offered to them.

Am I right? I'm not sure , can anyone else offer any other opinion.. I am not in the teaching field so I may be wrong.

Just interested!!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:22 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
Read Outliers by Max Gladwell for an interesting analysis on summer babies.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Browser wrote:
I think the american education system is alittle fairer to all the children in the same class. I think (not 100% sure) that all the children born in the same year, ie 2001, are placed in the same academic year.. so that the average eduation level taught is aimed at the summer babies, so that a January born child in 2001 for eg, is 5-6 months ahead of its peers and a December born child in 2001, is only 5-6 month behind its peers..



So if in England, we start to aim at Feb-Mar born children, it would be same as the American system.

I think that another idea would be to allow July-August born to start a year later and Sep-Oct born to start a year earlier, if parents want to.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:55 pm 
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You are always going to have a cut off though? If you change from Sept 1 -Aug 31st to Jan1 -Dec 31st, some children are going to be a year older than the others, you've just shifted the dates.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Hi Browser,

My 1st DS was supposed to be a June baby but was born 4 weeks early. Although he's always been one of the youngest in his class at primary, he's always worked above his level and started at our local superselective grammar this September.

My second DS is an October born and so far not sure if he's grammar school material. I really think it comes down to the child.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:13 pm 
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I've always wondered if the standardisation is month or date based. In other words, would a DC born on 1st June be given the same number of extra marks as a DC born on 30th June? A month's difference can be enormous!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:16 pm 
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Both my DS's were born in the summer one late July the other mid August, so only 2 weeks between their birthdays. I would have agreed with the OP's statement if I only had the eldest one. He has always struggled, his speech, motor skills and emotional development has always been behind his peers. He did not pass the 11 plus in our area and I think another year would have made all the difference. However his younger brother has thrived, he has always been up there with the rest of his peers, he spoke early, could ride a bike at 3, read early, and has always been considered bright. So I am not so sure that summer births are really so disadvantaged by the system. If they are bright they will make up for any difference. It is the ones who are perhaps a bit slower and need a bit more nurturing like my eldest where it makes the difference, but that could be for all children.

Also where I live in North London average autumn born children would not get into any of our grammar schools the competition as in Surrey is fierce.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:21 pm 
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That bring us to another thought. Are second born smarter than the first borns? I have seen many second borns lern quickly as they have a role model inthe shape of their elder siblings. Is that true?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:37 pm 
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Not sure if second borns are brighter or not, in my case I think my 1st DS was brighter however children develop at different speeds. Having said that my 1st DS was a late talker but my 2nd started talking at 8 months.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:56 pm 
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I guess there's never going to be THE PERFECT SOLUTION, and someone will suffer if that is the appropriate word somewhere.

My ds is deemed average in his class, thankfully not bottom of the pile, but I've always tried to broaden his knowledge with extra curricular things, but because he never showed an interest in reading , I never pushed him as much. On hindsight , I see this was a big mistake.

Thankfully though, I see now that he is showing more interest. And his teachers critique has always been in story writing, he apparently hasn't developed a mature thought process to convey what he is trying to get across, so his stories always appear immature..

This is his downfall.

And this is why I was questioning the summer child disadvantage.
I think if he had fallen into the following academic year, then by the time he sat the 11+ he would have been right on track..



cakemummy wrote:
Hi Browser,

My 1st DS was supposed to be a June baby but was born 4 weeks early. Although he's always been one of the youngest in his class at primary, he's always worked above his level and started at our local superselective grammar this September.

My second DS is an October born and so far not sure if he's grammar school material. I really think it comes down to the child.


Sorry cakemummy to use your words as an example but the other thing I'm interested in,and I ask this broadly to everyone is, if your child has passed the 11+ was it because you were only tested in verbal and non verbal exam?

The reason why I ask is, my ds did relatively well in these papers.

It just feels unfair to me , that a child may feel that he/she was not grammar school capable if he was to sit an exam solely on english and maths or even the opposite, which is why I suppose some parents may have been disappointed when their daughters didn't make it to the second stage in Tiffin Girls.


There's another reason I sought to ask this is that on the weekend , I thought to test ds2 (autumn born)with some of the sats papers available online. He is in year2 and will be doing sats in May 2013.My intention being that if he's weak in a certain area I should start work with him gradually.
All summer to date was all about ds1 and the 11+, with ds2 spending loads of time in the garden,with cousins or watching lots of tv and not picking up a single book.
He has surprised me with his results and cruised through the papers.

So in my opinion, I would think he (ds2) fairs better because of his birth month. :?:


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