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August-born kids 'do worse in GCSEs'

Around 10,000 teenagers fail to score five good GCSEs simply because they were born in the summer, new research suggests.

A study published by the Department for Education in England reveals the influence the month of birth has on educational achievement.

It shows that children born in August — the youngest in their school year — have lower average attainment throughout school than their classmates.

At five years old, September-born pupils — who are the oldest in their year — were almost twice as likely to achieve a good level of development as August-born pupils, the study found (a gap of 24 percentage points).

At age 11, the gap between autumn and summer-born pupils in achieving the expected level in their English and maths national curriculum tests was eight percentage points.

And at the age of 16, the gap between the proportions of autumn-born and summer-born pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grade C or above was six percentage points.

The report says: “To put this in context, 10,000 summer-born children per year fail to achieve this standard at GCSE, which influences their chances of progressing to A-levels and beyond, purely because they are the youngest pupils sitting the GCSE examinations due to the timing of their birth and the school year (approximately 90,000 autumn-born pupils fail to achieve the standard compared with 100,000 summer-born pupils).

The report also looked at the progress of summer-born children outside the classroom.

It found that summer-born children are better behaved, with lower rates of persistent absence and less suspensions and expulsions.

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