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Educational achievement to age 11 years in children born at late preterm and early term gestations


Objective To investigate the effects of being born late preterm (LPT, 34–36 weeks’ gestation) or early term (37–38 weeks) on children’s educational achievement between ages 5 and 11 years.

Design A series of observational studies of longitudinal linked health and education data.

Setting The Born-in-Bradford (BiB) birth cohort study, which recruited mothers during pregnancy between 2007 and 2011.

Participants The participants are children born between 2007 and 2011. Children with missing data, looked-after-children, multiple births and births post-term were excluded. The sample size varies by age according to amount of missing data, from 7860 children at age 5 years to 2386 at age 11 years (8031 at age 6 years and 5560 at age 7 years).

Main outcome measures Binary variables of whether a child reached the ‘expected’ level of overall educational achievement across subjects at the ages of 5, 6, 7 and 11 years. The achievement levels are measured using standardised teacher assessments and national tests.

Results Compared with full-term births (39–41 weeks), there were significantly increased adjusted odds of children born LPT, but not early term, of failing to achieve expected levels of overall educational achievement at ages 5 years (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.72,95% CI 1.34 to 2.21) and 7 years (aOR 1.46, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.97) but not at age 11 years (aOR 1.51, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.30). Being born LPT still had statistically significant effects on writing and mathematics at age 11 years.

Conclusions There is a strong association between LPT and education at age 5 years, which remains strong and statistically significant through age 11 years for mathematics but not for other key subjects.

  • child health services
  • child development
  • paediatrics
  • infant development

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. All the data we have used are available on request from the Born-in-Bradford (BiB) longitudinal cohort study. Access to these data is available on request via the following link: We do not have permission to republish independently the data shared with us to conduct our study, as per the conditions of the data sharing agreement we signed with BiB in order to be granted access to their data.

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