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July child ponders on August children

It's the "result season" when each year we hear about the successes of our 18 year olds at A levels, and 16 year olds at GCSEs, with an inevitable (it seems) rise in pass rates and a cry of "they're getting too easy". I'm not going to jump into that particular controversy, but I will congratulate anyone who's just got their results on what they've achieved - if you put in hard work to get those results, then congratulations are in order.

But there's one subject that has come up - at least in the media I have been following - this year, in relation to how "August Children" are said to be disadvantaged. It works like this ... children in the UK start school, at the age of 5, in September - so that there are children who are nearly 6 with September and October birthdays, mixed in with children who have only just stopped saying "I am 4" with August and July birthdays. And that's a substantial gap that young in life.

Unless the system is radically changed (for example, to have three sets of classes each year throughout the school system, with September, January and May starts) there's nothing prescriptive that could be done. But I'm not sure that doing anything prescriptive is the right answer anyway - the system should be flexible enough to be tailorable for each individual child, with the professionals such as the teachers able to work with the parents [[as appropriate]] to get the best of each and every young person.

I heard parents talking of their 29th August child being immature for school, and of how being the little one in the class effected them all the way through their school career and beyond, but then feedback (via email and otherwise) to the programs from young people, some of whom are still pupils quite early in the system, saying how much they have personally gained from being the younger ones - how it has helped to make them more robust and more mature and being in a group that's slightly older has set them higher targets to go for and achieve. Exactly my point that the solution should not be a prescriptive one.

A declaration of interest here. I'm a July child, and still have a vague memory of utter confusion the first day I went to Crofton School. Whether I was just unprepared, or too young, or if it happens that first day for everyone like that I have no way of knowing. And I most certainly have school day memories very strongly coloured by being bullied. And yet on the other hand, my parents did make the most enormous sacrifices (Dad may well read this - THANK YOU) to ensure that I wasn't just another pea in the pod; being at the younger end, I could have been easily lead off the rails and I know that I could get easily bored which wouldn't have been exactly a recipe for highly concentrated success from that initial environment.

So I put my position as the "youngster of the class" - in the following environments at Dulwich and Sevenoaks - as a distinct advantage and challenge. For sure, there was break time bullying especially at Sevenoaks, but that in turn lead me towards other activities which were in themselves educational while others were kicking footballs around and indulging in something akin to tribal warfare. And it lead me to a hardened and perhaps fierce independence where I didn't rely on others.

I wasn't top of the class at either of the schools - but there must of been something that the teachers recognised - perhaps they saw me as "coasting along". I might describe my approach, if truth be know, as only and lazily doing what was needed on subjects that didn't interest me. So they put me through an accelerated stream where I took 3 years in 2 and ended up in following years in classes with a 2 year age spread, and sitting my 'A' levels while still just 16. I managed to get through all four, although not at the 'A' and 'A*' grades that are almost the norm these days [[hey - we are looking back 35 years!]] ... and that early school finish gave me the opportunity - and what a golden opportunity - to take a "gap" year before starting University, getting some real work experience under my belt. And that was such a good year too which has helped make me some things I'm proud to be today.

Do I have a conclusion? If this entry is anything more than a rambling, it's a plea to the bean counters and school system managers to treat each and every child based on their individual needs and circumstances. My own example shows how everyone IS different and it shouldn't be forgotten. And it also says a big "thank you" to those who looked at me as an individual and helped (sometimes having to push me quite hard!) me come out with what - I feel - is an experience that set me up well for life.
(written 2008-08-23, updated 2008-08-24)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2870] Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3592] Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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