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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Double trouble: finding schools for your twins

Choosing schools for twins is twice as complicated. So if you have multiple births in your family, check out our tips below.

1. Firstly, you need to decide whether you’d like your children educated in the same school or not. 

If you keep them together… the children may prefer it, and it will be easier for you to do the school run, manage homework and coordinate social arrangements etc. 

If you separate them… it could promote their individuality and discourage competition (but it might be a logistical nightmare!)

2. If they’re at the same school, do you want them in the same class? 

Maria, a mum of eight-year-old non-identical twins, says separating them has been very beneficial. “They used to be competitive in the classroom, and it was difficult as my daughter was more accomplished than my son”, she says. “But now they can develop at their own pace, and have established their own friends and identities”. 

Separation won’t be an option at some of the smaller schools, where there’s only one class per year.

3. Visit as many schools as you can, and discuss your situation. 

You’ll find that their approaches to twins, and other multiple births, are as individual as your children are!

4. To assess whether you’re likely to get into a school, use

You should also call the school to discuss your situation and their policy on admitting multiple births. 

Your position in a nutshell...

The law changed in 2012, and there's now a 'one in, all in' situation for twins and multiple births applying for community and voluntary controlled schools. Schools can exceed their published admission number (PAN) if one child gets a place, and the other ones don't - so all of them can be admitted, even if it takes the class over their 30-child limit. This applies for infant schools (for the first time) and other primary and secondary schools following the Council's rules. The rule doesn't apply to children who are admitted via a random ballot or through a selective process (used for some secondary schools). Schools that manage their own admissions may have slightly different policies, as although they now have more flexibility to exceed the PAN, they don't have to, and the decision must be taken with regard to the capacity of the school and the impact on other children. You should discuss your position with the individual headteachers before applying. Good luck!
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