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Early school attainment in late-preterm infants
  1. Philip J Peacock1,
  2. John Henderson1,
  3. David Odd2,
  4. Alan Emond1
  1. 1School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Neonatal Unit, Southmead Hospital, Southmead Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr P J Peacock, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK; phil.peacock{at}


Aim To investigate whether infants born late-preterm have poorer school attainment compared to those born at term.

Methods This study used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Key stage one (KS1) school assessment results were obtained from local education authorities. Logistic regression models were used to investigate the effect of gestation, that is, late-preterm (32–36 weeks) versus term (37–41 weeks), on success in KS1 teacher assessments. Regression models were adjusted for potential confounders, including maternal education and markers of socioeconomic status.

Results There were 12 089 term infants and 734 late-preterm infants. 71% of late-preterm children were successful in KS1 assessments compared to 79% of those born at term (OR 0.64 (95% CI 0.53 to 0.78); p<0.001). This difference persisted on adjusting for potential confounders (OR 0.74 (95% CI 0.59 to 0.92); p=0.007).

Conclusions Children born late-preterm are less likely to be successful in early school assessments than those born at term. This group of vulnerable children warrants closer surveillance for early identification of potential educational failure.

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  • Funding The UK Medical Research Council (grant ref: 74882), the Wellcome Trust (grant ref: 076467) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. This publication is the work of the authors and PJP will serve as guarantor for the contents of this paper. No separate funding was obtained for this analysis. PJP is supported by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Academic Clinical Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The ALSPAC Law and Ethics Committee and the Local Research Ethics Committees approved this study.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.