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Ages of the children in each series:

Series Jake Ben Karen
1 Year 7, age 11 Year 3, age 7 Year 1, age 5
2 Year 8, age 12 Year 4, age 8

Year 2, age 6

3 Year 9, age 13 Year 5, age 9 Year 3, age 7
4 Year 11, age 15 Year 7, age 11 Year 5, age 9
5 Year 13, age 17 Year 9, age 13 Year 7, age 11

This is because in series 1, Jake is starting year 7. In series 4, Jake is in year 11, Ben is in year 7 and Karen is nine, mening she is either in year 4 or 5. In series 5, Jake is 17 and in year 13 as he is filling out his university applications, Ben is likely to be in year 9 and he got the lead part in the lower school productin, and Karen has just started year 7. From this, we can tell that series 4-5 is a two year gap.