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School Age Twins

Twins at School

•Should you keep your twins together at school?
•Would separate classes be better for them?
•What about separate schools?

There are lots of choices facing parents of school age twins. Sometimes the choices are made for you, maybe the school of your choice only has one class per year, (or even one class for infants and another for juniors) solving the dilemma about whether or not to separate twins at school.

School Policy
Some schools have a blanket “one-size-fits-all” twins and multiples policy of either separating twins or keeping them together. If your preferred school has this policy and you don’t agree with it, it is worth booking an appointment to see the head to discuss your twins individual needs. This will give the school opportunity to state why they think their policy is a good idea. It may be that they are willing to negotiate or to offer your twins a trial run of being together/ separate to see how they get on.

It is a good idea to ensure you give your twins enough time to adapt and settle in, so see if they can give it around half a term. I have heard of a case of twins who were separated at school and who hated it for the first few weeks, but got used to it after half a term and when they were later put back in the same class moaned a bucketful as they were more than happy separate!
Sometimes the school is absolutely right, and you find that actually their system works really well even if it wouldn’t have been what you would have picked yourself.

If the school of your choice has more than one class per year group and no particular twins policy the choice whether to keep them together or to separate them is entirely up to you.
When you do have a choice careful consideration should be given as to what would suit the needs of your particular twins. My twins were put in separate classes from Reception (age 4) to year 5 (age 10) which worked well for them. Their school had a system where they were together for some lessons like Numeracy and Literacy and separate the rest of the day. So this was a good compromise. However, your twins have their own individual needs and personalities, and only you know what is likely to suit them best. This could be either putting them in separate classes or keeping them together.

A workable compromise
If you decide you want them to be together but have some time working independently you could speak to their teacher and suggest that they work on different tables or in different groups. This allows them to have some separate time working with other children independently of their twin but with the comfort of knowing that their twin is still within earshot. This can also be a solution in the smaller schools where they have to be in the same class due to the size of the school.

The benefits of having them in separate classes.
Having them in separate classes can mean that each child gets to make their own individual friends and be self-reliant. It also means that they don’t have the opportunity to keep comparing their own progress to that of their twin. However it can lead to only one twin being invited to a birthday party or home for tea which is a mixed blessing, although it can be nice to spend some quality time with just one twin. Often an invite is offered to the other twin once the host parent realizes that you have twins.

The Benefits of Keeping them together.
Keeping twins together can be a comfort for them. It can come in useful as a point of reference especially as they get older and homework is issued. It also means parents evening is less of a nightmare as you have less teachers to see! At the end of the day which ever way you choose should work out really well, and if you find after half a term or more that it isn’t and everyone is unhappy there really is no shame going into school and having a conversation about how to improve the situation.

My twins are very dependent on each other, should I keep them together?
Twins do need to be able to be independent of each other by the time they leave school, they need to be able to stand up for themselves, to work as individuals, to form friendships with others and spend periods of time apart. Obviously it would be a big shock to the system to separate twins who are this used to relying on each other. A kinder solution would be to slowly build up the amount of time they work independently, both in the classroom and at home. Working for short periods in separate groups gradually increasing the amount of time spent separately can help this. They need to feel safe but take tiny steps towards independence.

I want to separate my twins at some point, but when is best?
This depends on your individual twins. Some parents have put their twins in the same class at school for their Reception year then separated them for Year 1 onwards.
Others have had them together up till Juniors then separated them.
My twins were separated in Reception and survived even though I was often told I was a big meanie for doing it so soon. I figured that the sooner I did it the better as what they’d never known they’d never miss! But this isn’t the right answer for everyone’s twins. Y
ou will probably know when is right for your twins, if it happens at all. Some twins stay together throughout their school years and are just fine. Some twins go to separate SCHOOLS and cope just fine, although this seems to be less of a logistical nightmare when they go to High School (age 11+) and can either walk independently to school or take the bus!

One twin is so much brighter than his twin, what should I do?
A good teacher should be able to set work at the correct level for each twin, so this shouldn’t be a problem. It may mean them working on different tables at primary school or being in different sets at high school but with sensitive handling there should be no reason why each twin can’t reach his or her potential.

If it means that one of your twins is clever enough to pass an 11+ exam to get into a traditional Grammar School and the other one isn’t, you have a dilemma. I have heard of twins where only one has got in to Grammar school, and the parents were faced with a tough dilemma as to whether to send the ”clever” one to Grammar and the other one to a regular high school or to send them both to regular high school. Talking this through with both twins separately is a must and only you can come out with a workable solution.

Filling in Application forms for Twin School Admissions.
There should be a section on the application form to state any reasons you want your children to go to that particular school, it is worth mentioning in this section that you have twins (stating the other twins full name) and you want them in the same school (unless you would prefer they were separate) If you have sent your twins to school outside your normal school catchment area because you want your twins in separate classes it would be worth mentioning here too.

If you don’t get your twins into the school you prefer or only one gets into your first choice you have the right to appeal. State clearly your reasons for choosing the school and reiterate that you need both twins in the same school for logistical reasons (unless the two schools are next door to each other and dropping off and picking up are not going to cause too many problems.) Good Luck!

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