Headteacher Suggests Pregnancy Plan to Solve Summer Born Problem

vide-4x3-red-belly2In 2013, the Good Schools Guide advised parents to avoid getting pregnant between July and November, and this week headteacher Steve Woodhouse has given summer born pregnancy advice too.

Mr. Woodhouse emphasises how he has only very recently learned just how educationally disadvantaged summer born children can be, statistically, and his first instinct is to suggest that test results should take month of birth into account (an approach the Summer Born Campaign disagrees with completely, not least because academic attainment and achieving a league table veneer of improved results do not address the key issues).

But failing that, he says, better timing on the parents’ part might be a good solution:

I didn’t ever expect to be giving pregnancy advice in my headteacher column; this certainly is a first!

…The data tells us that September and October are very good months in which to be born. If you track back nine months from then, and consider that January and February are usually very cold, you might just have an ideal plan.

In fairness, Mr. Woodhouse is likely trying to make light of a serious matter, and there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t be open to other suggestions too.

But what I find fascinating is this:

He refers to a fear that is often raised during discussions about Reception class entry at CSAge… and that is the opening of a “floodgate” if all children are allowed to do it.

And we know that the DfE is keen to ensure that ‘not all’ summer born children take up the option (even though based on what happens in other countries, such as Scotland, Canada and the U.S., it’s unlikely that everyone would).

Yet no one minds too much if more children are born in the autumn months (if the above pregnancy advice is heeded)?

The system could cope with a surge in September to February-born children (it would simply have to), but it simply can’t cope with higher numbers of summer born children entering school at CSAge…. Why?

‘The Computer Says No…’

(…as many parents are finding out as they begin their applications for September 2017 CSAge entry this month; most still have to apply on paper instead of online because their child’s ‘year of birth’ is incompatible with the website form).

  • Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull
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13 Responses to Headteacher Suggests Pregnancy Plan to Solve Summer Born Problem

  1. Natalie says:

    I really have heard it all now! To suggest a pregnancy can be timed to not have a summerborn is ludicrous and what about the babies that come early? Instead of wasting time saying silly things like this why not sort the system out so that summerborn are not disadvantaged?

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  2. Rebecca Molloy says:

    It’s a great ideas to plan your pregnancy so that’s you can maximise any advantages you require whether that be being oldest in class or perfect age gap or most convenient time of year for your employer… However unfortunately most women’s body’s don’t work that way and many do plan but then baby comes early. Through trail and error I found out I can only conceive and carry to term if I get pregnant during December. This resulted in two children one born three weeks early in August and one born around due date in September.

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  3. fat head says:

    Well, if I’d only known that earlier. Come on! As if it’s that easy to plan pregnancies!!!!. After two miscarriages I will happily accept any successful pregnancy, I should not then have to worry that my child may struggle throughout school as they are forced to start at such a young age. Parents voices should be heard, the code needs to be changed!

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  4. jeanette says:

    So one of he solutions is to change when a child is born. Well that is helpful to me and my premature summer born twins.

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  5. Alex says:

    What a stupid suggestion! Even if there was a good reason to try and time pregnancies (which this issue is NOT!) – even for a couple without fertility issues pregnancies can’t be planned like that. It can take easily up to a year to fall pregnant, for a fertile couple trying to conceive naturally, and that’s within the normal range! Add to that premature births, miscarriages and fertility issues, which are nature’s way and painful enough for parents. The suggestion in this article is an insult to the human race! Parents are not robots. Get your school starting age and related policies right because THIS is where the problem lies.

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  6. Jennifer Blake says:

    Once we again we are penalising the children instead if addressing the unfairness of the system. FIX the system and this sort of thing goes away.
    Never mind the fact that due dates are more of a suggestion to some babies!

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  7. Michelle Maclean says:

    This has really hit a nerve with me as with many I’m sure, yes thanks for the insensitive advice but after two years of desperately ttc and endless tests and being on the waiting list for fertility treatment I would’ve loved to be able to *plan the month* my child was born in but honestly we were just overjoyed we had even created the little life we so longed for after so much heartache and now all we ever want is what’s best for him. Teachers and admissions boards need to accept that most parents do want what’s best for their children, we don’t want to “hold them back a year” or somehow play the system to get two shots at the school of our choice, we just know our children and their capabilities and want them to have every opportunity to reach their full potential.

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  8. Louise says:

    My husband and I were not educated in England so didn’t realise about this totally ridiculous inflexible system. Then again, after a miscarriage we weren’t thinking about school starting age. Please can the Government just change the Code as they said would over a year ago.

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  9. Kelly says:

    After 5 miscarriages we didn’t have the luxury of perfect timing. We were like most people, grateful to have a healthy baby that just happened to arrive in July. Furthermore only 55% of pregnancies in the UK are ‘planned’. And might I add that while lots of autumn born children might benefit the education system it would put an even greater strain on the NHS and midwives who already deal with increased birth rates during September/October. Rather then penalise children born in the summer why not amend the system to easily allow parents to make decisions regarding when it’s best for their child to start reception.

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  10. Dan Jeffs says:

    Apart from the stupidity of the man in suggesting that it’s all so easy to
    plan, I feel that it’s all a bit of a moot point anyway. In my experience, very few parents feel able to take advantage of the later starting age for summer born children even if they might like to, as most parents would like to stop paying several hundred pounds childcare as soon as possible as get them to (free!) school!
    I was born in late July and have a Phd in Physics. Not all children suffer from being born in the summer. And I had fabulous sunny outdoor birthday parties.

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  11. This does not take into account how complicated lives are for families – work, fertility, relationships, prematurity and endless other issues make this a totally ridiculous suggestion. Would be much better to end the disadvantage to simmer borns – the onto group unable to access reception at CSA without a major battle.

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  12. Rachael Cranton says:

    You can’t plan pregnancy like that as someone who had fertility treatments grateful for to get pregnant in any month. However, very sad at the early loss of childhood my twins will probably face because they were born in the wrong month.

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  13. Pingback: Born Too Late? Why Summer Born Children are Struggling at School

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