On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

26th July 2013 at 01:00

This week: royal baby pessimists

So the young prince has finally been born. A strapping lad at 8lb 6oz, he faces a golden future of opening public buildings and donning tribal dress on foreign visits. He will never want for food or warmth, and if he takes part in the required number of official photoshoots, adoration is guaranteed.

But what is this? Some commentators are already starting to raise concerns that the royal baby could be at an educational disadvantage because he is summer-born. Statistically, they have pointed out, he is less likely to do well at school. In short, they suggest, this prince for the Twitter generation has a greater chance of becoming an upper-class twit. Treason!

These worriers deserve to go straight to the naughty step for their doom- mongering. Despite research showing that children who are young for their school year do less well, this is based only on national averages. Family background, parental involvement and the mother's level of education all have a bigger influence than birth month.

So worry not: with Wills and Kate in charge, the little princeling stands every chance of being an academic high-flyer. Just like his uncle Harry. After all, two of the biggest figures in UK education today - England's education secretary Michael Gove and chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw - were both born in August.

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