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Separating twins in Reception - any experiences

(88 Posts)
schmee Sun 15-May-11 19:46:45

We have to decide fairly soon whether to split our DTS for Reception. If we do, they will stay with the same class groups until they go to senior school.

I wondered if anyone had any experiences either way?

Sinkingfeeling Sun 15-May-11 20:12:46

I think it depends on whether your twins have a more or less equal relationship or a relationship where one depends a lot on the other, or where they are co-dependent. For us, it wasn't possible for our twins to be separated in Reception, but we were quite glad when the school suggested separating them in year 1 (they're in year 3 now). They have much needed time away from the other one, and have been able to develop their own groups of friends (some of which overlap) more easily. They may end up in the same class at some point, as their school mixes things up every year, and that would be fine at this stage too, but when they were younger it did seem important that they had the chance to do their own thing, without everything being reported back to us by the other twin. The tamba website also has some useful research and perspectives on separating twins or keeping them together at school.

feelingpeckish Sun 15-May-11 20:24:55

Here is the latest research froM tamba

I've decided to keep mine together. they are non identical and get on very well, but can also play apart. one is more dependent than the other and i think it will be very disturbing for her to be separated. the other would manage. i think one said initially she wanted to separate but now says together. the other is adamanat together. the school said i could review in year one.

they are in the same nursery class as well and seemt o be fine playing together and branching out with other kids. they do not squabble over friends, and seem to have preferences (onely one friendhsip has impinged on their own).

everyone has opnions on this - but it really does depend on what your children are like.

schmee Sun 15-May-11 20:30:37

Thank you for this. The school are extremely keen that we separate but I'm not so sure. One is more confident socially (very popular) but I think he will struggle more not being around his brother. We are due a new baby during the summer holidays, and I really think this may be a step too far. The school won't necessarily mix up the classes again until they are 13 though. It just feels to early to do this, although I do think the less socially confident one might benefit from being allowed to make his own friends. On the otherhand he might just get completely left out...

piellabakewell Sun 15-May-11 20:50:22

I teach in a school with only one class per year group and I have identical twins in my Y1 class. This is the second time it has happened. These two are rowdy boys, the other set were very quiet girls. In both cases I have noticed that the children modify their behaviour when their twin is there. I also had a Reception class in another school with non-identical twin boys in the same class, who were together because they had been in the same nursery class although there were two Reception classes (they used to put all AM nursery in one class and all PM nursery in the other). They had different friends and didn't spend much time together.

I would recommend putting twins in separate classes, and some schools have this as a policy. I would always be willing to discuss it with the parents first though as they know the children best.

IndigoBell Mon 16-May-11 12:48:27

Seems very strange to say they won't ever mix up the classes.

Most schools rearrange classes as needed every year.....

SingingSands Mon 16-May-11 13:07:30

Indigo- my children's school keeps the same class throughout school, works very well.

IndigoBell Mon 16-May-11 13:16:31

works very well - except in this case, when the OP can't possibly know now what the right decision is........

And whatever the right decision is now when they are 4 might not stay the right decision till they're 11.

And in other cases where children need to be separated from bullies, or separated because of conflicting SN, or separated to make different friends, or......

TheClaw Mon 16-May-11 13:30:09

Whatever you choose will be ther wong decision lol!

My DT's were together in reception but then had the opportunity to be split going into Y1. It is a school with mixed classes and they would have been together every 2nd year I think.

However, I spoke with the reception teacher and she said they rarely bothered with each other and only came together to support one another if they were upset. So I chose for them to be together.

At times I have regretted this as one is more academic at the moment than the other and often they are playing with the same friends and I feel as if some space from each other would have been a good thing. (I have moved them into seperate bedrooms to give them some space but generally they play very well together).

I did consider a split next year but that would mean one of them moving into a class where their main friendship groups aren't.

There are twin boys in their year group who are identical and have been split so far. I do feel as if people have judged me as everyone has an opinion on what is best for twins but I know my children and hope to do the best for them.

You have to go with your gut instincts really and hope for the best!

TheClaw Mon 16-May-11 13:31:03

Wrong decision not Wong!

schmee Fri 20-May-11 19:00:32

Apologies for not responding - I've been away for a few days. Yes - I think you're right TheClaw, there isn't a right decision!!

mrz Fri 20-May-11 19:06:36

We have only once split up twins (non identical) but in Y1 not in reception, not permanently and as a joint decision.

schmee Fri 20-May-11 19:11:20

That's interesting mrz - so all the other twins you've had at your school have stayed together?

Eglu Fri 20-May-11 19:18:16

In lots of schools you wouldn't have a choice as there would only be one class per year. I don't agree with schools insisting that DTs are seperated.

mrz Fri 20-May-11 19:42:29

The reason this particular set of twins were separated was that one did everything for his sister while she happily expected him to do so. Interestingly when they were separated she found another boy to take over the role whenever possible. We have never encountered problems with other twins although we currently have a set of identical twins who refer to themselves as "the twins" as do other members of their family and both answer to each others name.

schmee Fri 20-May-11 20:21:44

It's interesting.. Mine are close but I don't think unhealthily so, although they have got a bit more twinny recently. The main problems are that one tends to opt out of sporty stuff as his twin is generally much quicker and that he tends to want to dominate friendships. But they will still do PE together and share a playground, so I'm not sure that separating them is going to help.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 20-May-11 20:28:21

There was a lady with identical boy twins who started in reception at the same time as my DD. She asked the school to separate them, but the school would not. This caused her and them many problems. Since that time it has been the school's policy to separate twins.

TheVisitor Fri 20-May-11 20:46:30

I think you go with your gut instinct on this. My triplets started school together and stayed together until Year 5, when DD was split from the boys. The boys eventually got split up for Year 7 and on the whole, it's worked really well for us.

mumofboy Fri 20-May-11 20:48:52

We always split up twins at our school, and we never mix up classes!
What would be your reasons for wanting them together?

schmee Fri 20-May-11 21:23:39

Why do you always split up twins mumofboy? I suppose I'm not 100% sure of what the benefits are for the children.

Reasons for wanting them together - the research says that it can traumatise twins if you separate them (especially too early), they are generally great together - they play really nicely at home, they don't want to separate. Also, I'm having a baby in a couple of months time so I'm foreseeing a slightly rocky time ahead anyway and I'm not sure I want them to go through a major change.

Also, I'm worried that they won't settle into friendship groups in their new classes if they are seeking each other out in the playground.

mrz Fri 20-May-11 21:29:21

Have taught classes containing a fair number of twins over the years I can't see any reason why they should be separated as a matter of course. It's never been an issue

EvilTwins Fri 20-May-11 21:53:39

I would be livid if a school had a "policy" of always splitting twins, and would, in fact, withdraw my DTDs from any school that brought such a policy in. Twins, like any other children, are individuals, and schools should not have policies for dealing with all sets of twins in the same way.

My DTDs are ID, and it would have been inconceivable to me AND to them to be split when they started reception. They are in no way dependent on each other, and on parents' evening, their teacher said that they do separate things and don't tend to stick with each other, but are always aware of where the other is. I have a friend with twins in the same school, and they have been split, because her DS, whilst at nursery, had become very dependent on his sister, and wouldn't do anything for himself. However, in both cases, it was up to us as parents. I spoke to the headteacher, and he made it very clear that their "policy" was to do what the parents wanted them to do. TBH, I find it odd that any school would have a rigid "we split twins" policy.

There is plenty of research to suggest that splitting twins, especially against their will and at a very early age can be very traumatic, and there is absolutely no evidence that it benefits anyone other than a teacher who might find it tricky to tell ID twins apart.

feelingpeckish Fri 20-May-11 22:19:28

Absolutely second what eviltwins say. When I looked round schools I was put off by anyone who said they had a policy to separate. On what grounds? twins aren't a wierd special breed of being - they are coincidental siblings and some do well together and some do well apart. The school I chose decided in conjunction with the parents whether to split or not. which seemed to me the most intelligent approach to take.

BendyBob Fri 20-May-11 22:34:41

We split our B/G twins up from the start at school. The school let us decide.

It's been a complete success and the right choice. We knew that at some stage they'd be split for some reason further down the line. We also wanted them to have their own 'arena' at school - a class each where they wouldn't be seen as part of a pair, be directly compared or feel in direct competition with each other on a daily basis.

They have a very close relationship which is personel to them, but are both happy and confident to be apart and have their own friends. It's good to hear them chatting about 'well, in my class we do x,y,z..' and 'My teacher says this..'

I like them to think of themselves (and to be treated) as individuals. Many people often don't even realise the are twins. That's ok. As I say the special bond they have is between them and theirs alone.

The only downside has been for me...I've had to get aquainted with two class loads of friends and their birthdays can be big affairs. If one of their class is doing something different to the other ie a trip out, it can be tricky, but no more than anyone else who has children doing things in different classes. I'm very very glad we split them.

kissingfrogs Sat 21-May-11 01:00:03

I'm a twin who was split up from my sister in school.

I was the quieter one and yes, I put on a brave face and pretended I was having a great time being "individual". The reality was that it was the worst thing you could have done to me - already shy, I always felt lost and lonely until break time when I could seek out my other half. I would have had a much easier time in school and worked harder if I'd had the comfort and support of having my sister/best friend in the same room.

Even now, as aging adults, we need to be together and are at our best and strongest when side by side. It's a twin thing.

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