Children born in the summer months are at a social handicap when they start school.
According to a study by the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE), the youngest students in school year groups are less likely to have friends than their peers.
Some 24% of children born in July and August start reception knowing no one, compared to 22% of those born in September and October, says the report.
Summer-born children are less likely to attend a school-run nursery compared to peers – so they are likely to move from a different nursery when starting reception year.
The report concluded ministers should increase access to school nurseries for summer-born children.
“This may include more active and earlier information and signposting, and reviewing admissions processes with a specific focus on ensuring equal access for all,” the report said.
Summer-born children aren’t just thought to suffer socially.
It’s long been a popular belief that summer-born babies are at an academic disadvantage compared to their peers – some of whom might be almost a year older.
There is also some evidence that autumn-born children, the oldest in their year, have a sporting advantage compared to the younger members of their class, according to a study by the Centre for Sports and Exercise Science at Essex University.
Serena Williams, for example, was born in September while Diego Maradona and Anthony Joshua are both October babies.
A number of parents feel strongly enough about this to put their child in the “younger” year group.
Under the current system, parents of children born between 1 April and 31 August can defer their children’s starting year, so that they are the eldest in the year rather than the youngest.
Some 2,243 families requested for their children to defer the school starting year in 2018, according to the results of a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC.
On the other hand, some parents might consider enrolling summer babies in school earlier an advantage, allowing them to avoid paying additional childcare.