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Twins starting primary school

(27 Posts)
KembleTwins Fri 18-Sep-09 23:00:46

I've put this on Primary Education too, but am hoping for better advice than "don't expect them to get into your first choice" which seems to be the best anyone can offer...

My DTs will be starting school in Sept 2010. Last year, one mum from our twins group ended up with one twin in her 1st choice school and the other being allocated a place at the 2nd choice school. Obviously this is ludicrous. The outcome was that she had to put them both into the 2nd choice school. Of course, it should never have arisen -they should have been put together no matter what.

Does anyone have any good advice as to how to deal with the application process to ensure that they are dealt with together. I am tempted to staple forms together and write TWINS all over them, but don't think that will go down well.

merryandmad Sat 19-Sep-09 22:28:12

There is a part of the form which asks any if there are any siblings already at particular school. I would put it in there.

My dd1 has just started reception, my dd2 had a place at the nursery next door (a sure start childrens centre- so they are not linked) I put that she had a place there. She got into our 1st choice school- so it could of helped. Incidently I also know another set of twins who this happened to- this was senior school though. They both got into the 1st choice after their dad called the Education authority.

Clary Sat 19-Sep-09 22:32:54

Kemble, sorry, I posted rather flippantly on yr other thread.

To be fair, you did get some better and in fact good advice - on the lines of - it would be very unusual for twins to not get places at the same school because the criteria would apply similarly to them both (assuming no SN) - ie they live the same distance from the school (if there are no siblings, this will be the main criterion).

If you know someone who was offered 2 different schools, I agree she must have been very unlucky and one twin must have been the 30th (or 60th, whatever) child on the intake list, and the other twin the 31st.

Seems v unlikely tho. Where are you? Is the school you favour likely to be oversubscribed - and if so are you in catchment?

KembleTwins Sun 20-Sep-09 12:07:39

We have four primaries fairly local. Unfortunately, the two closest are the two which perform worst and have the least favourable reputations of the four. There are people nearby whose children do go to the further away schools, and they would be most likely to be my first and second choice schools. However, both are pretty oversubscribed, and since we won't get anywhere with the usual criteria (not SN, don't have siblings and so on) I don't know how we'd get on with one child, let alone two. My worry, really, is that if the LEA deal with applications in a random order, how do I even ensure that the forms are dealt with at the same time - what if it's not a case that twin 1 was child number 30 for first choice school and twin 2 is number 31, but that twin 1 is child number 18, dealt with by person X, and twin 2 is child number 46, dealt with my person Y. I worry that the connection will not even be made - I can't put down the sibling thing as I don't know which form will be dealt with first (IYSWIM)It's really starting to get to me! All the posts on my other thread went along the lines of "don't bother to put the school that you want - choose a school you're likely to get into", which is a bit disheartening!

glamourbadger Sun 20-Sep-09 15:13:17

Check with the school's admissions policy. The school we are hoping to get our twins into in Sept 2010 has a multiples policy, where if one is offered a place the other will automatically be offered, even if it bumps the next child off the list.

I've haven't applied to school before so can't give any advice, however I do intend to flag up they are twins on the form - it can only help surely!

potplant Sun 20-Sep-09 15:13:51

I put a note on both forms in the siblings section. That way it doesn't matter which order they are processed.

I also worried about this and fortunately we got our DTs into our first choice school.

kathryn2804 Sun 20-Sep-09 15:14:03

I put that mine were twins on the 'other siblings' part of the form. However we were lucky because our nearest school was our first choice.

Tamba has been getting involved fairly regularly with cases like your friend's so if the worst does happen, it would be worth contacting them.

Clary Sun 20-Sep-09 21:44:21

kemble, if one twin gets in the other one will unless they are, as I say, no 30 and 31; places are not assigned according to the order they are dealt with, but (in the case of over-subscription) according to the school's criteria which wil most likely be distance from the school.

Giving one twin a place because their form was picked up 16th, and then not the other one, btu someone further away, would surely be impossible. Honestly.

I would try to find out what sort of numbers they are expecting at the further away schools - they will know from nursery school numbers etc - and see if it a big or small year to give you an idea of whether or not they are likely to get in.

Lots of kids do get their first-choice schools. It's not something that never happens.

But if that school is not your catchment area one (I assume yours is not) then, y'know, twins or not, you may be disappointed. Have you looked at your catchment area school? Test performance and reputation are not the be-all and end-all (IMO).

KembleTwins Mon 21-Sep-09 09:27:47

Have just spoken to LEA, to be told that there is no guarantee at all that the twins will be offered a place in the same school. There is nothing I can do to even try to ensure it happens - forms are dealt with alphabetically, for over-subscribed schools, so I will just have to suck it up. Great. Am off to change their names to Aardvark and Aarianne.

Clary Mon 21-Sep-09 11:07:29

So a place in an over-subscribed school will be given to a child called Annabell Adamson before one called Zoe Zambezi – regardless of the fact that Zoe lives nearer the school? hmm

I find that very hard to believe, sorry. I really think yr chances with 2 are pretty much as good as with one, tho of course as you say, you might be disappointed with one.

savoycabbage Mon 21-Sep-09 11:09:37

They can't do it alphabetically! That would be ridiculous. You must have spoke to a baffoon if they said that.

KembleTwins Mon 21-Sep-09 11:39:17

I think I did speak to a buffoon. She did say that, after the other things have been taken in account (siblings, SN, looked-after children), it is dealt with alphabetically. Not only was she was a buffoon, but she was an "I don't give a shit, and I'm not going to help you" buffoon. I have referred the matter to the local paper.

potplant Mon 21-Sep-09 12:43:58

She must mean that they are processed alphabetically rather than prioritised alphabetically. The same criteria applies to every LEA and every school - they don't make their own rules up.

Even if they are dealt with alphabetically then your two will be together as presumably have the same surname.

You are more likely to get into the school closest to you so unless that is your first choice as others have said you may be disapointed.

KembleTwins Mon 21-Sep-09 12:46:47

I think our closest may be OK - still to check details. It does piss me off though - siblings are given priority, but twins are exempt from that. The majority of advice seems to be to not expect to get into my first choice school unless that is also the closest, which seems unfair. So much for parental choice...

Tortington Mon 21-Sep-09 12:47:40

i would write all over form tbh

many moons ago when on benefits some thick as a donkeys donger jobsworth sent back my application becuase two of my children had the same birthday.

stupid arse.

i would write all over the form and maybe staple together.

i was in the situation where my eldest son was n one school and i was out of the catchment aea when i had the twions and they were denied - i appealed on the grounds of not being able to be at two schools at the same time

wen before a panel

and won

potplant Mon 21-Sep-09 14:04:24

If you live in an area of over subscribed primary schools then you don't get much choice, whether you have a singleton or twins.

I have a friend who lives about 2 doors down from the school whose DD didn't get in, because they have a small intake.

I would have said it is very unlikely but as you persnally know someone it has happened to then I can understand you're worry.

Clary Mon 21-Sep-09 14:24:01

Kemble, I agree that of course twins should go to the same school (SN issues aside).

But I don’t see why the siblings thing is relevant – that rule is generally in place to avoid parents having to go to two different schools when they already have a child (ie an older child) at the school.

What the LEA should do is offer your children a place each at the same school. I hope they do.

I guess the point about first choice / closest school etc applies whether you have one child, twins, triplets etc. Our school takes children out of catchment, and so do lots of others, but the number can vary (or vanish altogether) if there are a lot of catchment area children in a particular year.

I think you need to check how many out of area children were taken on in yr favoured schools in each of the last 5 years (this info should be in the LEA literature about applying for schools – it is in ours) and make a decision based on that, and any info you can find out about yr DDs’ year (via nurseries etc). If you put out of area schools first and not yr local school, you may well get offered another school altogether. So I guess you need to weigh it all up.

kathryn2804 Mon 21-Sep-09 16:18:38

Tamba are trying to lobby the government to have some sort of sibling rule for multiple births. It is stupid! Hopefully they'll coem to their senses soon!

KembleTwins Mon 21-Sep-09 17:18:31

Clary - your comment

"But I don’t see why the siblings thing is relevant – that rule is generally in place to avoid parents having to go to two different schools when they already have a child (ie an older child) at the school" made me hmm Can you not see that is my point exactly. There is provision in place to avoid parents having to take children of different ages to different schools, but nothing in place preventing parents from potentially having to take two children of the SAME AGE to different schools.

In theory, parents have the ability to choose - I know in practice, this isn't always the case as there are many rules about how over-subscribed schools fill up places once they've covered siblings, SN and looked-after children. BUT what's making me angry is the fact that my LEA cannot reassure me that my children will be placed in the same school. To be honest, the advice telling me to disregard what would have been my first choice school and go for the local is quite disheartening - that's not the way it's supposed to work.

whoingodsnameami Mon 21-Sep-09 17:29:39

As you suggested in your op, I did ifact staple the forms together for my dts.grin

lou031205 Mon 21-Sep-09 19:04:26

KembleTwins, get the written admissions policy for your area. Ours states:

"Multiple Births
If the last pupil to be offered a place within the school’s published admission number (PAN) is a
multiple birth or same cohort sibling, any further siblings will be admitted, if the parents so
wish, even though this may raise the intake number above the school’s PAN. The PAN will remain
unchanged so that no other pupil will be admitted until a place becomes available within the PAN."

So the scenario you worry about simply couldn't happen.

curiositykilled Mon 21-Sep-09 20:39:41

Kemble I'm sorry to see you are worrying about this so much. I think it is unlikely your girls will be separated. I can't tell how likely they'll be to get into your chosen school because it very much depends on the area you live.

Don't you have to choose three schools in priority order? I would choose your favourite school first, and use the other two choices as the 'sensible alternative' type that you will be likely to get into and still like.

I think it is a good idea to spend some time visiting all the schools on your short list and thinking about how your DTs might fit in. If any of your chosen schools are voluntary aided then the governers will choose who attends so it is worth making yourself known to the school. Clary has given some good advice about finding out whether it is likely your dts will get the school you like best and what the criteria is.

I think clary just meant that the current policy about siblings is not relevant to multiples because it is about siblings in the school already. I get the impression she believes there should be an entirely new section and rule about multiples like you, I and anybody sensible believes.

KembleTwins Mon 21-Sep-09 21:25:22

Thanks all. I do think the policy should be changed, and I know that TAMBA is campaigning for this, but that so far there has been no implimentation of their suggestions. DH and I have had a good chat about it, and we're going to visit our local schools sooner rather than later - as a teacher myself, I know that Ofsted reports are not the be-all and end-all.

lou - I did check, but our LEA hasn't got a policy of that kind. At my Dad's suggestion, I'm going to write to the CEO and ask for reassurance that mine, and other cases like it, will be dealt with sympathetically.

Clary Mon 21-Sep-09 22:14:37

But Kemble, the situation you suggest is extremely unlikely as repeated posters have suggested.

The only way it could happen is if your children were no 30 and no 31 on the admissions. Otherwise they would both be offered a place (as they live in the same house) or neither of them.

My point about siblings is that within different years the ability of a school to take children outside catchment may vary. For example, my DS2 is in a very small year at his school where we would take anyone who applied. But if a child got in to that year but then their younger sibling was in a full year (eg the following year, where we had a waiting list an dappeals - bizarre I know but it was a big year across the city for some reason) then yes, the sibling rule is needed to prevent the two schools nightmare.

Neither of your children is in a school yet; I am sure they will be allocated the same one. I am also really sorry you are worrying so much about this. I am sure there is no need. I wonder how often this is actually an issue. I know of half a dozen sets of twins all in the same school. smile

I think the more pressing problem is that you may not get your children into your first choice of school and I would again urge you to consider the local schools. Local school is always a good idea for lots of reasons smile

But by all means apply for your first choice - I just would check out how likely you are to get in (see my previous post). There is a highly regarded single-form entry school in my city, about 3 miles from us, the catchment is tiny and there would beno pont whatever applying from where I live (not that I would have anyway) as you just wouldn't get in.

Actually, unike your last post suggests, most schools AFAIK (certainly LA controlled ones) follow the basic rule of catchment and then distance from the school in deciding places.

(sorry about long post)

Clary Mon 21-Sep-09 22:19:36

yy I do indeed think twins should go to the same school. I think the multiple births policy in Lou's LA is an excellent plan.

Sorry Kemble, only just saw you are a teacher. In which case a lot of what I've waffled on about will be well known to you. Please don't worry so much about this. Pick a school you like first then two others you would be happy with 2nd and 3rd is good advice from curiosity.

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