When twins start school, should they be separated? We take a look at the options available.
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You have sanctioned the sleepless nights of infancy balancing two high chairs, two car seats with just one pair of hands. Now it’s time to embrace the next challenge in your twins’ lives, that being, starting school. Both socially and academically it is important that twins are able to flourish individually and at their own pace. There is question as to whether they should be placed in the same classroom or in different classrooms? Should they perhaps attend different schools completely? Here are some tips:
The honest truth is that there is no right answer and it really depends on their individual nature. All sets of twins are different. Some are opposite genders and others are non-identical. But variety of course, is the exciting part and adds to the nature of it all.
- Nursery and Pre-prep level: Twins should attend the same school and learn to progress together since it would seem unnatural to separate at this early stage. There is no harm in placing your twins in the same classroom. They are likely support of one another and through this explore their differences.
- Prep level: It might be an idea to ask if they can be placed in separate classes to ensure a healthy relationship and avoid any potential classroom competitiveness. It will also give them opportunity to make their own friends alongside a shared mixture.
- Secondary School: This could be the first opportunity to test the twin separation? However, if they are best friends and enjoy attending the same school it is best for them to remain that way.
Many private schools across the country hold different sets of twins and enjoy the variety. King’s Ely in Cambridgeshire welcomes twins with open arms, boasting seventeen sets of twins across the school from Sixth Form to Nursery. Among them, the most headline-grabbing award surely goes to one family comprising two sets of twins, with four daughters currently in Years Seven and Eight. When they first joined King’s Ely back in September 2010, the school opened up a special little dormitory to accommodate the four girls so that they could all be together, given that they were so young. Now each has spread their wings and each has their own set of friends; all three have grown in confidence. King’s Ely prefers to place twins in separate classrooms to allow and encourage them to develop their own identity.
Downe House School in Berkshire similarly holds many sets of twins. Emily Glover, who used to attend Fulham prep School with her twin brother Harvey, has recently moved to Downe House to begin her own independence. Emily declares that although it was hard at first, she very much values the individual benefits of attending a different secondary school to her brother. She positively affirms that she can phone him regularly and he often attends her sporting matches at weekends. When asked if their friendship has changed she said it felt exactly the same and if anything it has become stronger. She writes Harvey letters and he will send back presents in return. Emily has discovered new liberation and is really enjoying new sporting opportunities such as lacrosse and tennis. The benefit of having a separate school life means that when they are reunited they really make the most of each other’s company.
There is no right method and it is imperative to make a rational but also intuitive decision. You know your child better than anyone else and their own individual nature. It is important to include them in the decision and perhaps seek further advice from their teachers. Each twin’s personal ability regarding academia, sport and social will impact this decision too. As they grow and develop, so will their needs, and these choices are likely to change and eventually adjust along the way.