Summer-born children twice as likely to miss early years benchmark

Gap between oldest and youngest pupils in class revealed by new data

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Almost two-fifths of summer-born pupils fail to reach the government’s benchmark at the end of Reception, compared with one-fifth of autumn-born children.

Department for Education statistics released today show how different children perform in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile assessment.

To reach a good level of development, children must have reached the expected level in 12 of the 17 areas in which they are assessed, including being able to count to 20, read simple sentences and take turns when playing.

Overall, the proportion of four- and five-year-olds who were judged as having a good level of development at the end of Reception rose to 70.7 per cent this year from 69.3 per cent in 2016.

'Let younger children defer for a year'

But the new data reveals the gap between children who are only just, or are still, four years old when the assessment is carried out – and their older classmates who have turned 5 soon after starting school.

There have been calls from parents of summer-born children for them to be allowed to keep their children off school for a year – beginning in Reception just after they turn 5.

The calls have been backed by Nick Gibb, the schools standards minister, who has said that the government intends to change the admission rules to prevent summer-born children going straight into Year 1 if they defer. But the changes to the admissions code have yet to be published.

The tables published today also reveal that only slightly more than half (56 per cent) of children eligible for free school meals reach a good level of development – compared with 73 per cent of other pupils.

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