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