Keeping My Twins Together at School

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, following on from my other post about my wishes to keep my twins in the same class at school.

After making the decision to at least keep my twins together in the same class for reception, considering they do have the odds stacked against them in terms of being the youngest and being premature, therefore falling into the wrong school year, I knew I would have some convincing to do.

I’d already had a conversation about this with the Head Mistress of my childrens’ primary school who told me in no uncertain terms that they have a strict separating twins policy in place which she hoped I would comply with. I then (after careful consideration and research) called to arrange a meeting to discuss our decision of wanting to keep them together and was waiting to hear back when said meeting would take place.

What would I do if she was adamant about separating my boys against my wishes? This is something I felt so strongly about because as I’ve mentioned in aforementioned posts, my boys are painfully shy and very young. It’s something myself and my OH have talked endlessly about and researched comprehensively.

From this research, I know keeping twins together is NOT detrimental to them in any way. In fact, it’s beneficial. As parents we must make an informed decision on what’s right for OUR children. Of course, there may be valid reasons to separate twins but for us this definitely wasn’t what we wanted. (Please read the highlighted post above about our reasons for wanting them kept together). I would like to add something else to those reasons, even though this isn’t something I took particularly seriously as it’s not a proven fact (yet) but it IS interesting….

There have been findings that twins who are separated from an early age i.e reception, can sometimes find themselves losing their special bond and even end up not getting along at all. Separation can encourage rivalry and jealousy as the twins make new and different friends, taking them in different directions. This intrigues me as a few mums of twins at our school I spoke to (and it’s only a few mind you) have told me their twins are very different and don’t get along very well……. they believed it was right to separate their twins, but could they be thinking this way because they were given no choice? Their twins may have been different and got along well had they been kept together, who knows? But tellingly, most of these Mums DID want their twins in the same class but weren’t allowed. They chose to go along with the school’s policies.

But I wasn’t going to.

I set about trying to put together a case to bring in front of the Head Mistress.

I already had plenty of ammunition (so to speak) confirming that most twins, at least in the very early stages of education, benefit from being together.

I knew it wasn’t a government policy to separate twins or even a local authority policy, it was a school policy set by the Head and based on a personal opinion. I knew this was something that our Head Mistress took seriously as no twins had been kept together, ever in the school.

I’ve learned that the idea of separating twins to help encourage their ‘individuality’ (which is the primary reason for separation, although I’m sure things like ease for the teachers and twins doubling up as a unified force are among others) is a little old fashioned now. It’s something that around twenty years ago education bigwigs decided was a must because they believed that twins who remained together through school became dependent on each other and wouldn’t develop properly as individuals. We now know this is nonsense.

From writing my first post on summer born babies I had a comment left by a lovely writer/blogger who works in education for the early years. She left me a link to a report which shows some government guidelines on what is important for children in their early education. It’s a very long report but the absolute overriding factor that I found in it is that the school must, above all else, ensure the childs’ individual needs are met and that they are HAPPY. Reception is all about transition and about giving the child as positive an experience as is possible so that education is ultimately an enjoyable process.

This was like music to my ears and a little bit of cold hard fact that I could use should I need to. It was also proof that the childs’ happiness at this very young age should trump everything else. My thoughts entirely. I knew my twins would be desperately unhappy being forced apart, they would possibly crumble and it’s cruel as far as I’m concerned.

twins together at school

My gorgeous, happy together boys

I then had a conversation with another mum about this, who unbeknownst to me was married to one of the governors of the infants and who she called for me to have a ‘quick word’ with.

I told him I was worried about the meeting in case Head Mistress categorically said no. My conversation with him gave me some much needed confidence. He told me that after listening to my case he could see no reason why Head Mistress should deny me my wishes. He advised me to simply tell her exactly what I told him. He mentioned that as a rule the school would not want to upset or cause a poor relationship with parents and considering this was a simple request based on two little boys who will be happier together in school at this early stage of their lives, it wasn’t in their best interests to block my decision.

He said that if her answer was still a no then I should write to the Chair of Governors, who could then look at my case. He didn’t think it would come to that though because of the nature of the request and my strong feelings about it as well as all of the evidence I was collating to support my case.

I didn’t want to get off to a bad start with Head Mistress though, I’ve had two other children go through the infants and I didn’t want my twins time there to be tarred with ill feeling.

I just wanted her to take careful consideration in her decision about MY twins who are very young in the school year and painfully shy. I wanted her to make allowances and not categorise them, or generalise by saying all twins are fine eventually with being separated!  I wanted her to know that I didn’t disrespect her policy and if it worked for others then great but I didn’t think it would work for us. I wanted to ask for a discretionary decision based solely on MY little boys and the difficulties they have faced and would still face. And if it didn’t work out somewhere down the line then I’d be prepared to discuss and review the situation at that time.

In the end, I needn’t have worried so much. Head Mistress had decided to take the decision out of her own hands and pass the matter on to another teacher, who was Head of the Foundation Years.

I knew this teacher, she taught my eldest in Reception and when we sat down together in the classroom we just talked.

When she finally (slightly reluctantly) said I could keep them together if that’s what we wanted I felt such a surge of happiness and relief!

I’m sure that her decision was based on some of the evidence I had collected but more so I think it was based on the fact that they, as a school, were aware of the difficulties in settling the boys into the school Nursery; how stressful it had been for both them and us. They probably knew that being the cause of so much potential upset on all parts just wasn’t worth it.

Of course there were conditions that she discussed with me. For example, it was their absolute duty to ensure my twins were treated as individuals by teachers and their fellow students; that it was also their (the teachers) duty, especially in reception, to set the children up for their educational life with the right skills and mindset, which meant encouraging them to think for themselves and make their own decisions.

It seemed as though she had already given our situation a lot of thought and this meant the world to me after worrying about it for so long.

I left the meeting feeling ecstatic. It was done. I looked at my boys in all their innocence – they had no idea of the stress I had gone through or lengths I was prepared to go to – and I knew I’d done the right thing. For them.

They are lovely little boys and they get along so well with each other. Being together is all they know, it’s what they are accustomed to and, for now at least, they will continue to share the same environment and experiences.

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Comments

  1. I’m so pleased for you. I was with you every step of the way reading this & felt your fierce protection and willingness to go into battle for them.

  2. brilliant news – well done for sticking to your guns!

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Yay go me!! It’s a shame that parents still don’t have a choice in a lot of schools… this really needs rectifying! X

  3. I agree that as mums we know what’s best for our offspring and for my twin daughters that was separate reception classes. They were September babies, eager to start school and also fiercely independent!

    It’s not a case of one rule suits all though – so well done for standing up for what’s right for your sons.

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Thank you! We have another set of twins in the nursery with mine and their parents chose to separate them!! We just have to do what we think will work best! X

  4. I am so relieved for you that you got the result you wanted. I really don’t get why they would want them separated. I know plenty of people with twins and they are in the same class. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  5. I’m so glad you had such a happy result. As a twin who had only three years in school with my twin before we were separated by rules I absolutely agree with the need to put twins together. We concentrated better on our work when we got to sit together, I remember it so well. We were always holding hands with each other and our chosen best friends so there was never a problem with including new friendships. We learnt to swim together and got to act in school plays with our class. All that changed with rules and we were very unstable in our next two years at school. In our last year of primary school we were actually finally listened to when asked to be in class together. It was hard to be separated as we genuinely just worried about each other and wanted to be there for each other. Sorry lots of MSG but brought back a lot. Xxx lovely lovely post

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Thank you do much for leaving your message. Reading it made me so happy and so glad I made this decision! It’s so interesting hearing how grown up twins feel, my dad’s a twin and he was always together with his sister and couldn’t have imagined being separated. I’m pleased the school put you back together with your twin. Such a lovely story, thank you xx

  6. I’m glad you managed to get everything settled and are happy with the outcome. I was lucky enough to have schools that let the children decide. whether they stay together or not. For reception the decision was mine but every year after that they’ve been asked, now they’re 13 they still share the same form group but have lots of lessons apart where they are in different groups.

    I found that most of the time they made their own apart time, through clubs and interests, and no teacher has ever spoken to me about them as anything other than individuals.

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Hiya, I think that’s great that you were given the choice all through school. What a great Head teacher you must’ve had. It’s encouraging too that your twins have been happy together and yet still find their own way. That’s all I want for my boys. And actually mine are also happy to do things separately sometimes, they do like different things which is great!
      Thanks for stopping by x

  7. Hello,

    I am studying for my BA hons in early years and I am currently doing a dissertation on this exact topic! I have formed a questionnaire (which still needs a few tweaks) for both parents, teachers and twins to get an overall view on school placement for twins! When I have my questionnaire available online I would love it if you and your twins would be willing to participate? Let me know and I’ll post the link once it is available.

    Many thanks,

    Tania

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