Separating twins into different classes at school – my boys are over half way through their first year of foundation, but did I make the right decision to separate them?
If you have twins that are starting primary school, what are you planning to do? Keep them in the same class, or separate them into different classes? If you have a choice, of course!
It’s a huge decision and such a big deal whether to keep your twins together at school or let them branch out on their own.
But after 8 months of them being at school, I can categorically say that we made the right decision for us to put them into separate classrooms.
Why I’m glad I separated my twins at school
If you’ve ever looked online for this topic or even talked to other parents of twins, you’ll find EVERYONE has an opinion on it. Even people who don’t have twins themselves – which is always REALLY BLOODY useful (unless they are a teacher)!
And of course everyone thinks that what THEY have chosen to do is the RIGHT way. Well, I’m here to say that is utter crap. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether or not to put your twins into different classrooms.
Only the right way for THEM and for YOU. Who cares what everyone else does, says, or thinks anyway? These are your children and as a parent of twins, you know them best.
With that in mind, I can safely say that my husband and I are 100% glad we decided to separate ours. Because it has worked, and will hopefully continue to work for THEM.
In the same way that the parents of another pair of twins – identical twins in their year group, no doubt think that keeping their girls together has been the right decision for THEM. And the four sets of twins that have been kept together in my eldest’s year. I could go on.
But I think you get my point! Not entirely sure some people on my facebook page quite understand it at times though. I once had a woman pretty much tell me I was ruining their lives by separating them. You can imagine how well that went down…
If you’re reading this whilst in the decision-making process, you’ll know there is a lot to think about. I’ve written both these blogposts on the subject before which are worth a read:
Over the past few months I’ve been asked a lot by twin parents whether I feel we made the right decision and how my boys are getting on.
Now it’s time to update you all.
Our school is a two-form entry, and we were extremely lucky that the head teacher let the final decision as to what we wanted to do be completely ours. I know not all schools are as open to this, and a lot of parents end up fighting school officials to get what they want. I’ve heard schools aren’t allowed to have a ‘twins policy’ so if you’re not happy with what is happening, the Twins Trust is good at guiding you with a template of a formal letter or for further research.
So the bottom line is, they are getting on fine. In fact more than fine – really, really well.
As you know (or can tell by the pics if you’re new here) my boys are not identical, they are fraternal twins. And because I have an older son too, the twin ‘bond’ in our house is not a strong one! It’s more like three’s a crowd and two pick on one in various constantly-changing scenarios. Strangely it is never the twins picking on the singleton though, like you’d maybe expect.
Therefore I was never worried that they wouldn’t be able to cope without each other. And I was right, they don’t seem to mind one little bit. I think the words ‘don’t give a shit’ may have been mentioned before. (Obviously not by them!)
My twins were just not bothered
From the word go, they went into their separate classes with different teachers and didn’t bat an eyelid. And since that very first day, they have simply just got on with it.
Like most foundations there is a lot of ‘free-flow’ learning where the classes can mix. And this played a large part in deciding whether to keep the twins together or separate them. I knew that if they wanted to, they could find each other at least 80% of the day.
But according to the teachers, they don’t automatically team up at every given opportunity. I’m sure that’s not to say they never do, but they have very different interests (hell, it’s even like they’re DIFFERENT PEOPLE), and therefore migrate towards the various areas and classmates who are doing the same as them.
Twin Two would be outside building something with a group of kids, whilst Twin One is inside colouring, drawing and painting with some others. Much like they are at home, and how we were told they were at pre-school.
They can still play together at playtimes
From what I can gather at the start last year they would find each other in the playground to play together in a group with others, but they also found their older brother who is in Year 2. And for this year only they’re all on the same playground together so can do that. Next year when my eldest moves to juniors, they won’t be able to.
But as time has gone on, they seem to be playing less and less with each other, and more with new friends in their year. Not necessarily from their own classes though, just whoever they fancy playing with that day!
They seem to have made some of their own friends individually, and some together. Neither has a best best friend at school yet. And more recently I’ve heard a few times that Twin One has asked Twin Two to play with him in the playground and has basically been told to sod off. I told you the twin bond wasn’t strong with my pair!
As parents of multiples it’s nice to know that they have each other if they need it. Although by the sounds of things, they don’t particularly like helping each other out!
In the classroom
When it comes to being in the classroom and learning, I never wanted one to outshine the other, or one to tell tales on the other. And as it turns out so far, one is a lot more academic than the other. We have a classic example of one is the brains and one is the brawn. Again, it’s like they are actually different human beings. Who’d have thought it?
There has been a period where they were in the same phonics group, but they’re currently back to being in separate ones. There are odd times when the reading homework they are assigned is in a different format because of their different groups, so they tend to question that at home.
Why does one have an actual reading book, whilst the other has ‘ditty’ sheets of paper to read? Or one has to do a phonics quiz on the iPad and the other doesn’t. And if it gets out of hand, I let them both do all of it if they want to. Not sure the teachers would advise that, but hey, they’re not refereeing a fight over who gets to read ‘the dog is on the log’ versus ‘the bug is in the pot’.
I mean, seriously!
Separating them has increased Twin Two’s confidence
One of the main things we’ve noticed is how much Twin Two’s confidence has grown since starting school. Who knows if this is just an age thing, being at school now, or being given the chance to be ‘him’ without a brother hanging around at all times. But it’s been brilliant to see. And the teachers have told us it’s worked really well and that we’ve made the right decision separating them.
I was originally nervous about how I’d feel watching them go into separate classroom doors (albeit 2 metres apart!), and even on the first day it was nowhere near as bad as I’d anticipated. Now it doesn’t even register. And at the end of the day I stand on the decking in between the two doors and the boys come out to me.
Back in September I thought dealing with more than one teacher and teaching style was going to be a pain. But it has been totally fine. As I’ve written before, it’s no different to having three different aged children at the school. Although as predicted, I still get confused over which twin has which class name. Not which class, I’ve got that nailed in terms of the teachers – but the classes have different names, both beginning with A which I just cannot get in my head. I’ve had to write it in my phone to constantly refer to it when needed. But that’s just me!
Does separating twins into different classes at school cause problems with birthday parties?
People ask me how I’ve got on with birthday parties. And the answer is exactly that. We’ve just got on with it. There have been a few parties where one has been invited and not the other because they’ve been for the whole class. And on the first occasion that caused tears for a few minutes when the invite came home. But then a week later an invite came home in the book bag for the other twin, and it was all fine again.
A lot of parents don’t know they are twins (I reckon half the kids don’t either to be honest!) and why would they? They don’t look alike. I’ve had some invite one and not the other, and then later when someone has told them (not me, I might add) they’ve extended the invite to the other one. But none of this seems to bother either my boys or I. It was always going to be the most noticeable thing for them of being in separate classes – the parties. But considering foundation parties are pretty much EVERY. BLOODY. WEEKEND they soon get over it. (I, on the other hand, need to rob a bank to pay for double the amount of birthday presents required).
It’s all about the sweets (or lack of them!)
The only thing they don’t like is when one comes home from the party with a bag of sweets that the other obviously doesn’t have. (It’s all about the sweet cone, not the actual party, OBVS), but they have learned to share a couple of sherbet flying saucers with each other, big brother included. And then it’s all fine again.
I have their birthday party coming up next month – on the same weekend as I also have my eldest’s party. Because that was GREAT planning on our part – three birthdays within three days.
Obviously there is no way I’m inviting 60 kids to it. I’m not an ABSOLUTE MANIAC. We’re having it at a local trampoline park where the limit is 30. So I basically sat down with them together and asked who they wanted to invite. The majority of names they came up with together, oblivious of which class those kids were in. It ended up a little uneven as Twin One was equally as adamant about who he didn’t want to invite, as he was about who he did. (That’s my boy). And then Twin Two just plucked random names out of thin air when I said he’d invited mostly girls and did he want a few more boys on the list. Hilarious.
I’m sure I’ll have offended some young new-to-school mum by not inviting their child. But there’s not much I can do about that, is there? I’ve got the perfect answer, if I actually thought I needed one. I have double the kids. But mainly my answer is – it’s tough.
Do they get on better now they’re in separate classes?
You may have read that I had a pipe dream that by separating them, the twins would get on better at home rather than spending 80% of their time fighting.
At first this didn’t happen at all, and they fought just as much as they did before. And don’t get me wrong, they are still absolutely vicious to each other on an hourly basis. But in the last few months, I’ve actually noticed that when it is just the two of them they are nicer and kinder, and actually play together better. That’s only when big brother isn’t around though. When he’s there my house pretty much resembles Hunger Games. I told you, three’s a crowd.
What the studies say about separating twins at school
Apparently current educational research studies have found in the UK that on average separating twins into different classes had no substantial positive or negative effect on twins’ academic achievement, cognitive ability (whatever that means) and motivation.
I’ll let you know in a few years if I think that’s true or not when it comes to the effects of classroom separation (if there are any!) as we’ve already told the school we want to keep them separate when they shake up the classes next year.
I hope those of you who are nervous about the decision have found this helpful. (Me being helpful doesn’t happen very often). Whatever you decide to do, it’ll be right for your twins and your family. And if it doesn’t work, then try to change it!
Good luck – let me know what you decide.
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? Why not hang around and read a few more whilst you’re here. Read my first post about separating twins at school here and another one Why I’ve decided to separate my twins into different classes here. Or I’ve got 10 Tips To Prepare Your Child For The Start Of School and Getting Your Four Year Old Ready To Start School. You might also find this tongue-in-cheek one funny, 10 Things I’ve Learnt In My First Term As A School Mum or find out how I felt when my youngest kids started school.
If you want to read some more of my usual kind of stuff, head over to my Mum Life section. You’ll find all things parenting with an honest, cheeky (and sweary) twist. If you still want more, head to my Travel Section for UK holiday inspiration and days out.
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