Do I keep my twins in the same class at school?

So, considering I’m having issues about my very young twins starting reception in September, I have decided, after much research into all the pro’s and con’s, to keep them together in the same class. For support and their own happiness/wellbeing.

But there is a problem. The Head Mistress.

Their school is a three form entry (just expanded from two forms) and apparently they have a policy to separate all twins. Head Mistress said that twins are better off separated and this is what happens at this school. When I questioned the generalisation, she told me in no uncertain terms that they (the teachers) have years of experience which makes them know best.

I begged to differ.

I pointed out that what works for one set of twins might not necessarily work for another. Each set of twins should be looked at individually. I mentioned also that if it were a one form entry school then twins would be together anyway and there wouldn’t be an issue. She then got a little defensive and implied that maybe I should’ve looked into putting them into a school with only one form!!! The cheek… so nice of her to say that…. Both my older children have gone through this school but maybe I should send my twins to a different one just because I want to keep them together? Ridiculous. Incidentally, no where on the prospectus does it mention the policy of splitting up twins!

To be fair, she did go on to try to explain why they separate twins e.g – being treated as individuals by the teachers and fellow classmates, avoiding competition with each other, preventing children in the class preferring one twin to the other etc…. and yes they are all valid points but they are just scenarios. It was all very one sided, those are things that could happen, but equally they may not. What about the positives of keeping them together? My boys WANT to be together. They get on extremely well. They are not competitive at all, if one does something fantastic the other one loves it! They don’t fight (they have their moments obvioiusly), they are quiet and well behaved (most of the time) – and it’s what they know. I really can’t see any negatives.

And let’s not forget the most important issue here, my boys are very, VERY young in the year group. Born prematurely so ended up having an August birthday instead of a late September one. Technically in the wrong school year if you look at it like that. They haven’t really made friends at nursery yet, which is down to their social skills not being fully developed and their extreme shyness. I don’t want to be forcing them apart in September after six weeks of being at home into classes where they might not know anyone.

I can’t imagine how difficult that would be. I know my boys, they would miss each other, but it’s not just that, keeping them together would make settling in easier for them and everyone else for that matter. It wouldn’t be doing anyone any favours to separate them; the teachers included, who would probably spend half the morning trying to calm them down and settle them in.

And what damaging affect will forced separation at such a young age have on my boys? The element of stress it could bring to their lives, making their early educational experience so unhappy they can’t learn and achieve. Splitting up twins has been known, in some cases, to have long term affects which could lead to withdrawal and depression.

It’s not necessary. If they were older in the year group and were much stronger and more confident then I may just be swayed into going along with the school policies simply because Head Mistress is making me feel I don’t have a choice, but as it stands they are not. These are two tiny boys who I believe would benefit hugely from that support they get from each other.

I came away from the meeting feeling a little bullied and confused. I said I would go home and discuss with my OH (who couldn’t make the meeting due to work commitments) then get back to her but I knew in my heart I hadn’t changed my mind.

I started to look into this whole subject more earnestly.

Tamba (the Twins And Multiple Birth Association) have documentation that states keeping twins together at school is actually beneficial for them at this stage. I had substantial conversations with them a few months ago which resulted in them advising me they would be willing to back me up 100% in this.

My local education authority also informed me that this decision should be left to the parents, although they don’t normally get involved and like to leave it to the school to make the decisions, but I was pleased to know the LEA wouldn’t enforce the school policy on this.

I have been on many forums and read many articles/reports and no where does it say keeping twins together at this very young age is detrimental. Of course there will be cases that buck the trend as all sets of twins are different. If you have twins with very different personalities it might be in their best interests to be in separate classes, they may fight a lot, or one is very needy, or one is a bully etc – it really should be up to the parents to look at their children and decide what’s best. All parents on the forums who opted to keep twins together said they were all doing brilliantly. There were some parents who split them initially then found the children missed their twin so they then asked for them to be put back together which resulted in happier kids!!

Then there were the vice versa cases where twins being in separate classes were also doing well. The thing to remember here is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. There really is no right or wrong, just what works best for a particular sets of twins and the choice should be ours, as parents. We know our children best.

twins

The dynamics between twins, especially identicals as mine are, is very complex and unique. It’s not something other people can understand. Separating them and ‘forcing’ them to become ‘individuals’ too soon isn’t necessary and it’s almost like saying their special relationship is something to be ashamed of. Ensuring they develop their individuality is an issue parents can help with at home later, in their own time but as twins grow they usually do this themselves anyway.

I called Head Mistress to let her know we’d made the decision to keep our boys together. She wasn’t available and wasn’t going to be for a few days so I left the message with her receptionist.

It’s been a couple of days now and I haven’t heard anything. I wonder if this is good or bad?

I will let you all know the outcome! Fingers crossed!

You can read the follow up to this post here.

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