Published on 1 Nov 2011 Sections ,

August children less likely to succeed academically

Children born at the end of summer are less likely to attend a leading university and more likely to study practical courses than their September-born peers, research suggests.

August children less likely to succeed academically, research suggests (Getty)

A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has revealed “gaps” between children born at the start of the academic year and those born at the end.

Drawing on data from existing studies, researchers examined pupils’ educational achievement and wellbeing as well as the perceptions held by parents and teachers of the pupils’ abilities.

The findings show children born in August are just over seven percentage points more likely to be studying for vocational qualifications than academic ones, such as A-levels, than those born in September.

August-born youngsters are also just over two percentage points less likely to go to university at age 19, and 1.5 percentage points (20 per cent) less likely to attend a Russell Group university.

Lower earnings

The study raises concerns that those born in summer may be making, or forced to make, choices that mean they will earn less than their peers later in life.

It says: “They are also slightly less likely to attend a Russell Group institution, (a group of high-status, research-intensive universities, whose degrees tend to earn graduates higher average wages than degrees from other institutions) again suggesting that a child’s month of birth might have consequences that last beyond formal education and into adulthood.”

Pupils born in September also performed slightly better in school tests, the report suggested, although the gaps in tests close as youngsters grow up.

Perception of the differing talents of children could also play a part, the study suggested. Teachers are more likely to consider summer-born children to be below average in their schoolwork, it says.

Data from one survey looking at seven-year-olds shows that teachers are two-and-a-half times more likely to rate August-borns as below average in maths.

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