New research from the University of Warwick has found out that children who started school late are at a higher risk of poor academic performance.
Many parents of children who were born prematurely or those born in the summer months usually start school a year later, for fear of their parents that the child might not be mature enough to start school. An earlier study also suggested that premature children would benefit from starting school a year later than those who were born at full-term.
A recent paper published in the Journal of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology contradicted this, however, by arguing that starting school a year later does not in fact lead to better performance but to poorer performance as the child grows older.
The researchers studied 1,000 children, of which 472 were born prematurely, looking at their grades and comparing results from standardized tests in math, reading, writing and attention skills.
Dr. Julia Jaekel, a co-author of the study, said “Many parents demand that preterm children should be held back particularly if they were born in the summer. This is also supported by many charities supporting parents with preterm children.”
“However, we found missing one year of learning opportunities was associated with poorer average performance in standardized tests at 8 years of age for both pre-term and full-term children. Future research is needed to determine the long-term effect of delayed school entry on academic achievement, but our results certainly give parents and educational providers food for thought,” she added.
Sources: Feb. 19, 2015. "Delaying children's school entry linked to poor academic performance". eurekaalert.com Undated. "Kids Who Start School Later May Perform Worse Academically Long Term". parenting.com