Solutions to Summer Born SEN Discussed in Schools Week Article

SB picIn a Schools Week article this weekend, Stephen Gorard, professor of public policy at Durham University, says we must Stop labelling summer-born pupils as SEN!

He makes some excellent points, but on the subject of “age-standardisation of all results”, we disagree.

This is the comment I posted beneath the article:

Unfortunately what may start out as SEN misdiagnosis can often materialise into actual problems in summer born children.

See: Investigation of SEN misdiagnosis should include DfE’s role in ‘Correct but Avoidable’ diagnosis of Summer Born children

There is also a significant cost involved with avoidable SEN.
See: Money Talks: Could the publication of SEN costs FINALLY mean Fairness for Summer Born Admissions?

I agree with Stephen Gorard that allowing summer born children to begin school at compulsory school age* will not solve “all the problems” related to SEN or indeed the education system as a whole, but it is far preferable than “age standardisation of all results”.

The latter is not what parents want, and does not consider the fact that by the time some summer born children sit their exams, they are genuinely less proficient in the subjects they are being tested in than they would have been if they were allowed to begin school at age 5 instead of age 4; and adjusting their marks won’t change that fact.

The Summer Born Campaign is adamant that simply adjusting children’s scores in order to ‘pass’ them through to the next stage of their education/life is not the right answer to this problem; it doesn’t help colleges, universities or employers, and it certainly doesn’t help the child who may have had a negative experience of education for years.

Canada allows flexibility in terms of school starting age for the youngest in year, and parts of Florida also utilise grade retention for children who are not ready to move on to the next level of their primary education. A combination of these two things would help ensure all children have better results in the short and long term rather than simply adjusting their scores when they don’t.

Finally, age adjustments are used for entry exams to many grammar schools, yet there remains a disproportionately lower number of summer born children who are successful.”
 

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One Response to Solutions to Summer Born SEN Discussed in Schools Week Article

  1. N Samuels says:

    He was writing similar articles back in 2014. I cannot find any mention of this in the 2017 BERA programme having spent some substantial time this morning looking! And also on the ESRC site – nothing there either. I do wonder how current this research actually is. I was trying to look at the base research to see what was being examined, scope, participants etc.

    Like

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