Premature babies do worse at secondary school: Babies born before 32 weeks are a QUARTER less likely to get five GCSEs, study finds
- Being born before 34 weeks could double the risk of doing poorly in primary school
- However, this risk decreased for all preterm infants except the earliest preterm infants to middle school
- Oxford experts looked at health and education data from 7,000 English children
Premature babies do worse in high school, study suggests.
An Oxford University study found that those who gave birth before 32 weeks of pregnancy were a quarter less likely to get five GCSEs than their peers.
Previous research has shown that youngsters born before 37 weeks achieve worse grades in primary school, but this was thought to disappear as they mature.
Premature babies are at greater risk of learning problems because they are born before their brains are fully developed.
The earlier a child is born, the greater the risk of these problems occurring, which can continue to affect their development as they grow.
Oxford researchers analyzed data from more than 7,000 British babies, 2,000 of whom were born earlier than normal.
They found that those born before 32 weeks were 26 percent less likely to pass five GSCEs compared to those born after 39 weeks, which is considered a term pregnancy.
They were also up to 106 percent more likely to fail the expected grade in English and maths at primary school.
Even babies born just a few weeks early had a 21 percent higher risk of poorer grades in elementary school.
Babies who were born prematurely could benefit from extra support at nursery to ensure they are not left behind when they start school.
Babies born before 37 weeks have an increased chance of developing learning problems during adolescence which can affect their schooling (picture)
This graph shows the increased risk of children born prematurely not achieving the expected English and maths scores at the end of primary school. The vertical black bar represents the expected outcomes of a term baby, with the horizontal black line to the right of the bar indicating an increased risk of poor performance. The length of the line represents the range of results, with the diamond indicating the mean. The relative risk score for each category of premature babies is shown on the right. It shows that all those born prematurely were at increased risk of underachieving in primary school.
This graph shows the same results at the end of high school. These results show that the risk of not achieving expected academic outcomes was significantly reduced for all preterm infants (born before 32 weeks) except the earliest preterm infants.
A study suggests that kindergarten children with the best vocabularies do better in school
Teaching your preschoolers a few extra words can set them up for lifelong academic success, a study suggests.
A study of almost 900 four-year-olds found that children with larger vocabularies engaged more with teachers and other children when they started education later.
The researchers tested the youngsters’ abilities in the fall and then checked them when they started school the following spring.
The researchers say their findings show how even small differences in a child’s early years can have a big impact on their chances of academic success.
They also hope the findings will help teachers identify children with smaller vocabularies when they start school to get more learning support.
The authors also noted that children who learned to control impulsive behavior before starting school also performed better in the classroom
In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers examined health and education records from about 7,000 children born in England between 2000 and 2021.
Of these, about 400 were born at 34-36 weeks, 80 between 32-33 weeks and another 80 before 32 weeks.
There were also 1,500 early-term babies born after 37 weeks but not before full gestation between 39 and 41 weeks.
At the end of primary school, almost 18 per cent of children did not achieve the national expected level in English and maths for children their age.
The analysis showed that children in the moderate and very preterm groups were twice as likely (113% and 106% respectively) to not receive these scores compared to their full-term peers.
Those born late preterm had an 18 percent higher chance, and those born earlier had a 21 percent increased risk.
By the end of middle school, the increased risks disappeared for all but those born before 32 weeks.
“These children may benefit from pre-school screening for cognitive and learning difficulties to provide additional support from the start of school,” the authors wrote.
Around eight in every 100 births in the UK are premature, compared to 10 in 100 in the US.
Medical advances in the last decade have rapidly increased the survival rate of premature babies, who can suffer from various diseases due to being born before they are fully developed in the womb.
The survival rate for babies born even at 24 weeks is now about 60 percent.
However, this drops to just 10 percent for babies born at 22 weeks and almost zero for babies born before.
A baby born at 32 weeks has about a 95% chance of survival