Are summer babies really at a disadvantage?

My summer baby

For me, a summer birthday meant parties in the garden and a small pause between the next avalanche of presents. It always seemed like a good deal to me, but a recent report claims summer babies are at a disadvantage. Leaving me thinking perhaps a birthday party indoors is a small price to pay for an academic and sporting edge.

With my two summer babies still adjusting to school I was intrigued to read more about the report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.The twinlings’ school definitely acknowledges the differences in ability across the year – the younger ones are in a smaller group reducing the pressures of keeping up with the older ones. And even if that doesn’t help the twinlings it definitely eases my anxieties.

The report claims children with summer birthdays are more likely to be regarded as below average, less confident and feel less in control of their own lives – a disadvantage that is forecast to last a lifetime. Cheery prospects.

The biggest differences are of course between August and September born children. A small relief then that the twinlings have July birthdays, except they were actually due in August and were four weeks early, so does that, according to this report, make them even more disadvantaged?

One comment on the BBC website that made me chuckle, was along the lines of ‘duh, I thought everyone knew’, from a very smug person who’d managed to plan their children’s births early in the academic year to give them a headstart. As well as wanting to point out to the poster that nature isn’t always on our side, it made me reconsider my summer party theory as a case of misplaced priorities – especially as it’s always raining in July.

So I decided to see how this has panned out in reality. David Cameron, I found, is an October birthday, arguably he’s had a few other advantages alongside his month of birth. But I found both Barack Obama and Usain Bolt have August birthdays. So it’s not all bad news for those born in August if these two are anything to go by.

And as for my two summer babies, only time will tell.


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Filed under Achievement, Education

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