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Twins in different secondary schools?

(33 Posts)
listenwithmother Wed 23-Oct-13 01:07:09

We have twin dds who are due to start secondary school next year. They haven't been in the same class at Primary since Reception and have separate, though sometimes slightly overlapping, groups of friends. They have a good relationship at home and have never been very dependent on the other twin. Our dilemma is that they are both keen on different secondary schools. DD2 is into sport in a big way and wants to go to our catchment secondary school which is a maths and science specialist school, with good results (for our area) and fairly good sports facilities. It's the one most of the other children from their primary will go to - not within walking or cycling distance, but there's a school bus to take them directly there. It's an over subscribed school, but she would probably get a place there as it's our catchment school. DD1 is quite into sports, but very into art, languages (not that she's had much opportunity to learn much yet!) and creative writing. She much prefers a different school, which is single-sex, a language specialist school and has results almost as good as our catchment school. It's not over-subscribed at the moment, and she would probably get a place there, based on last year's intake, but it would mean a 45-min journey to get there by bus and train.

We've visited both schools several times, and would be happy with either option, but the girls are both very clear about which schools they prefer. Would it be a nightmare to have two children of the same age in different schools? I'm slightly worried about different inset days, parents' evening clashing etc, but more worried about DD1 having to make quite a long journey every day. Would we be crazy to overlook our catchment, high-performing school for DD1 but choose it for DD2? Any words of advice would be very welcome.

SoonToBeSix Fri 25-Oct-13 03:44:43

My dd travels for 45-60 mins to get to school tbh I thought that was normal , she has never complained. She has been getting herself up at 6.30 everyday since she was 11.

mummytime Fri 25-Oct-13 06:05:17

My DC when they walked had about an hours walk to their senior school. 45 minutes is a pretty normal commute to me. (My eldest now has 1 to 1 1/2 hour commute to his new school, which he choose to move to because it truly does specialise in his area, but he is older.)
A lot of children in my town travel quite long distances to the private schools each day, and lots of those at Senior school travel by Train.

I would talk to both girls, and make the one who wants to do the commute aware of all the disadvantages. I would also listen to exactly what they are making their choices on.

bigTillyMint Fri 25-Oct-13 08:44:25

listenwithmother, it is very unlikely that your DD would do more than 2 languages at GCSE, infact many schools limit them to one. Also check whether you can choose languages studied/you are assigned to them which happens in many schools. What are the languages? She may find that French and Spanish are her favourites/best choice anyway.

Retroformica Mon 28-Oct-13 05:36:47

If be concerned about the 45 min trip each way and the school being single sex with lesser results.

Send them both to the catchment school for ease. Potentially could be a nightmare co-ordonating two separate schools.

At the end of the day you as parent have to make the final choice and it needs to fit in with your family life.

Lastly could you agree to send the DD to a creative club of some sort to make her feel better about the local option?

BackforGood Tue 29-Oct-13 15:23:24

I don't think a 45min journey is a lot, at secondary school.
Last year I had dc at 3 different schools and it was never a problem for me.
I don't have twins myself, but have cousins who would have much preferred not to have gone to the same school, and know of one set of twins and one of triplets who have recently gone to sep. schools and all are flourishing. I think it's important to let them be the individuals they are, and not insist one goes to a school that wouldn't be the first choice for them if they were the only one you were choosing for.

Swanhilda Wed 30-Oct-13 22:35:55

My b/g twins go to different schools and I find it quite tiring as no advantages to sharing uniform, teachers, admin matters, social functions. However, they do both enjoy their schools so that is something.

I don't think dd (who attends more distant school) had bargained on quite how exhausting the travel would be though. I am almost considering moving her to another less sought after girls's school which is nearer. Her schoo is meant to be a specialist language college and all this means is that they offer Chinese as well as Spanish and French but not choice in the matter (groups picked in advance) and if you do well in your first year 7 language you can do another in year 8. Dd of course drew Chinese straw so if she is bad at that, no choice to go on to another language at all hmm

I would just send them to different schools for now, and you have the advantage of sibling entry card if one or other is unhappy. I think of it as a a wonderful way to truly compare the delights and perils of secondary from a parental standpoint. Ie: I can now see that the homework from x school really is too much as y manages to get same Gsce results on less homework wink Also interesting to have different topics and projects being taught, although obviously same NC.

But hard work for me! But that is twins for you. I wonder whether we do it on purpose, beat ourselves up on needing to nurture the individual when we have twins, whereas siblings tend to not be offered the luxury of choice.

Swanhilda Wed 30-Oct-13 22:43:48

The other thing is that 11 year olds, being only 11, don't really understand quite how big secondaries are, and they assume they will be in shadow of the twin, whereas in reality in any secondary, you might not even bump into your twin except occasionally. Dd definitely didn't want to bump into ds2 (her twin) but perhaps if they had gone to same mixed secondary (they are currently in single sex schools) they wouldn't have seen much of each other anyway. So that is a factor, don't be over sensitive on your children's behalf, because how they IMAGINE Secondary is not necessarily how secondary will actually be. Often children will fasten on the special traits of one school or another when in reality most schools offer the same resources, although in superficially different forms. I remember Ds1 (my eldest) saying he wanted to go to Z secondary because there were "trips to Barcelona". Now every school offers trips - it was just that school had made a point of mentioning foreign travel on the Open Day, whereas another school had sold its bunsen burners to the visitors wink Ds1 genuinely thought he would only get the chance to use bunsen burners in a fifth school. SO DON'T LISTEN TOO HARD TO YOUR CHILDREN. You have a better overview than them.

festered Mon 04-Nov-13 01:41:11

Also worth thinking about is that a 45 min journey may seem a big deal to you and a lot of people, for some people it wouldn't bother them at all-I know you'll have had a chat with your DD about that, if she's not bothered about it then I think It's workable.Do stress to her that it may not be a case of it being easy to change schools if it begins to bother her, especially if her twin has it easy.
Obviously It's easier to have them both at the same school, but acting in the best interests of both is the best option, just ensure they're both happy with their choices having thought about the travel, being apart etc.

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