Should I send my twin girls to different secondary schools?

(27 Posts)
twinlou Sun 03-Feb-13 11:28:58

I'm in a huge dilemma as to whether to send my twins to different secondary schools - one is a private single sex and one a mixed private both of an equal standard. I would prefer them to be together but my heart says that in order to stop the endless comparisons (one is very competitive which I think holds the other one back) even down to who has done the best homework, who gets on best with certain friends etc. I don't want one to miss out on being in a mixed school but I feel that she (the non-competitive one) might be better off at a single sex school - but...will she be jealous of the other one being in a mixed environment, will she miss out???? Has anyone been in this situation or can advise me as I'm very very confused and don't want to make the wrong decision.

Madmog Thu 21-Feb-13 09:43:34

Are they of very similar ability, ie likely to be in all the same ability sets? If not, you may not have too much to worry about. My daughter goes to a large comprehensive and has just been put into her final sets. She has 30 lessons a week and there is only one girl who is in 26 of them, most of the other girls she comes across are in about four lessons. My daughter is in the top sets except for PE and she has a friend in most of the top sets in the other band but even so a lot of their homework is different, I guess they will be doing certain topics at different times. If the secondary school is large and has different bands, you could always put a request in for them to be in different ones explaining your reasons why. My daughter was able to request two friends she'd like in her tutor group, so I guess most schools will be flexible if they know in advance.

In the early days there is so much to think about and happening, you will probably find they haven't got much time to think about who is doing what and with whom. When things calm down you may well find that friendships are forming elsewhere anyway. Different tutor groups and lessons will give them different opportunities. For example, my daughter's tutor group is the only one in her house group. Her house group wanted some Y7s to take part in a house languages entertainment and competition, so it was very much limited to a handful of girls. They had to practice every day for three weeks so were only mixing with the girls taking part.

I'm waffling as usual, but hopefully there is something useful here.

Mandy21 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:48:31

I agree with the previous posters that as a twin (with a twin sister) I'd have hated being at a different school to my sister. We were both quite sporty so we'd have been playing netball / hockey etc against one another - would have only increased the competitiveness. I also think that inevitably as you've identified, as they get older, interested in boys etc, if one has plenty of friends (who are boys, rather than boyfriends) and the other is at a singe sex school, then that will lead to one potentially feeling inferior and less "cool" somehow. We were pretty much together the whole time - same class, then streamed into the same set, chose the same options (until A level) but we developed our own set of friends and found our own paths. We chatted about homework, school, shared that experience and its strengthened the bond we have 20+ years on.

I have twins myself now (boy/girl though) and chances are they'll go to separate secondary schools (as the majority of schools are single sex here). I definitely think they'd prefer to be together though if there was any possibility of that.

GW297 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:15:14

Plenty of people do this. Lots of people send their boy/girl twins to single sex schools. I think it's good to send siblings to different school if there are schools to which they would be better suited. At their age they should definitely have some sort of a say in it. The biggest issue I think would be different parents' evening, concerts etc. Maybe try speaking to someone who did this to discuss any concerns you may have? If you like both schools equally and you could imagine your children being happy there, I'd say go for it! Not an easy decision to make though - best of luck!

JenaiMorris Sat 16-Feb-13 11:59:54

Ds's comprehensive is quite large so there are two halves of it, like big houses I suppose. Tutor groups a,b,c and d, then e,f,g and h if that makes sense.

The two halves barely mix outside of break, although they will more once they start GCSE.

Unless you had children there already you probably wouldn't realise that there are two populations; talk to the schools you're interested in case they have similar set ups.

GoingBackToSchool Fri 15-Feb-13 17:18:27

As a twin (with a twin sister), I would have hated being at a seperate school to my sister! I am the 'less able' out of the two of us (DS is now at Oxford Uni!) and although, at times, there were comparisons between us, it really was not that bad.
Once the staff started to know us better, there were not comparisons. We were considered two seperate people - our Spanish teacher in Y11 didn't even realise we were twins until half way through the year (despite being sat in alphabetical order next to each other!!)
I would suggest that they get put in different tutor groups, but definitely not different schools smile

mammmamia Fri 08-Feb-13 12:49:59

bevelino - how old are your triplets? Am considering sending my b/g twins to seperate pre preps and wondering how others have handled it. I started a thread on this a few weeks ago - will try and link so you can reply on there if you are able.
Apologies for thread hijack OP. it's tough isn't it? Mine are only 3 and I'm already having to make this decision. I do agree with other posters though about one going to a mixed school and the other not. Perhaps encourage them to have a pool of common friends outside of school that includes boys and girls?

Startail Fri 08-Feb-13 02:10:40

That must be a logistical nightmare.
One at primary and one at secondary did my head in.

Paperwork, events clashing and different inset days.

bevelino Thu 07-Feb-13 21:52:02

I have triplets all at different schools and it was the best thing we have ever done. School is a big part of their lives and they love being treated as individuals without anyone comparing them to their siblings, which so often happens with twins and triplets.

RedVW Tue 05-Feb-13 10:33:12

I have twin boys who attended same primary (same class as only one form intake), same middle school (different class at their request) and now the same senior school (again, different class at their request). Although their needs are different, they are fierecely competitive with one another but at the same time don't want to be compared. I have found that in a large secondary school both their needs are met, they are not compared but treated as individuals. In my opinion, the benefits of going to the same school far outweigh any drawbacks. They are following same curriculum at a similar time so can ask each other questions, they get a similar amount of homework, they have loads of friends - their own from their own classes plus each others, they wear each others school uniform as they wear same trousers, same shirts, jumpers, ties and PE kit, I pick them up from the same place at the same time, when snowing they both share the same journey and I haven't got to worry how to get them home individually, if one is not sure of a procedure at the school, the other one confirms it, if one loses a note from school (frequently) which needs signing and sending back, I photocopy the one that has reached me, sign it and send it back in, both have the same opportunities to go on the same trips etc.

The downsides are few but one is parents evening - trying to get round 15-18 teachers in one night rather than 7 or 8 but the teachers know we have two in the same year and tend to be flexible with us.

They are both happy at their school and although some might find that logistical reasons like getting the boys to school should not be used to justify going to the same school, it is one of many pieces of the jigsaw towards a good family life.

The most difficult thing for us has been waiting for results of two grammar school exams - if one had passed and the other hadn't, or one had passed for the school 11 miles to the south of where we live and the other had passed for the other GS which is 11 miles to the north, what would we have done? Fortunately we didn't have to make any difficult decisions as they both ended up at same school.

My boys are at school with a boy whose twin brother did not get into the school and is at another school. Have no idea how each are doing or what they are thinking but people do manage whether they are at the same school or not. Another set of twins (boy/girl) who are in Upper Sixth now went to different schools because of boy passing for GS and girl not. Both been very happy and have both achieved similar academic success.

Your choice. Just thought I would share my experience with you.

Startail Mon 04-Feb-13 22:07:12

DDs Best friend is a twin (her second best friend is her non identical sister).

They go to the same school, but are in different forms and DD says this was their choice and they are very happy with it even several years later.

My totally different DDs have also chosen to go to the same school, they like the shared experiences and common currency to talk about.

Without, it I think they would have drifted apart. As it is they rub along amazingly well

annach Sun 03-Feb-13 19:59:28

I have twins. We're looking at secondaries and would definitely consider different schools. It felt odd at first but the more we thought about it, the more we realised how different they are, and their needs are, so we're trying to find the right school for the child, rather than the children, plural. They seem really happy at the idea.

blossomhillontapplease Sun 03-Feb-13 19:15:36

At some schools (not sure about independant though) they split the year group into two and have different timetables. This may work as they wouldnt be likely to have lessons together at all and less likely to know how each other are getting on. Maybe you could enquire at each of the schools to see if this possible. Have you explained the situation to both schools to see if there is anything they could suggest?

My friend has twins and they compete with everything but she has one of each......she discribes it as constantly playing referee grin Although they do argue etc they are always looking out for each other. They too are in different forms and its has taken some of the competitiveness out of the equation as they have now found they ave different friends and interests.smile

Have you applied for both schools for both of them, and have they sat exams and done interviews for them?

When will you get the acceptance/rejection from the schools?

seeker Sun 03-Feb-13 17:49:20

So you are saying that one of your sisters in law went to a fantastic school and one went to an average one? And you're calling her a misery guts for being just a tad resentful?

Trills Sun 03-Feb-13 17:49:16

Sending two children to two different schools sounds like a lot of hassle that you don't actually need to go through. They may have different holidays, different inset days, different times that they need to be places, different special uniform shops, different rules on what is allowed and what is not.

If they tend to compare each other then you know that each of them will see the choice of school as "proof" that you like the other better.

DeepRedBetty Sun 03-Feb-13 17:45:18

Re the SILs, I do think the one who resents it forty years later is the sort of person who blames everybody else and everything else for her own self inflicted miseries, so I wouldn't read too much into it. I understand from MIL that both sat Common Entrance, but miseryguts SIL failed and nice SIL passed, and took a scholarship too. Would it have been fair to make nice SIL go to a non-selective school to support her sister, when she'd been offered 50% off the fees for a top rated girl's boarding school?

twinlou Sun 03-Feb-13 17:36:13

Thanks guys for all your messages - it's really interesting to hear from people outside as it feels like such a big decision that we really don't want to get wrong. The girls will be going into yr 7 in September. At the moment they are happy either way, but I don't want it to backfire when they are in their teens. The problem is that they like both schools equally. They have always been in separate classes but this has not helped the friendship issues and the competitiveness with homework, sports etc. Oh dear, such a dilemma!

What year are they in now?

My old neighbor sent her two twins dds to two different private schools. It was not a conscious choice though, they were not accepted to the same schools!
They both applied, and sat exams with a handful of private secondaries, but were accepted to different ones.

She said she was actually quite pleased, as in hindsight the girls ended up on the school that suited them best.

alwayssomething Sun 03-Feb-13 15:34:45

If each twin has her heart set on a different school then I think it would be fine to send them to different schools, but otherwise there does seem to be a risk that the competitive twin will set about trying to convince her sister that competitive twin's school is the better school, which might lead to less competitive twin feeling short-changed even if the reality is that both schools are equally good. Could you discuss the issue with the prospective schools to find out how feasible it would be to ensure that the girls are taught separately for all classes? I guess this is likely to depend in part on the size of the school.

DeepRedBetty Sun 03-Feb-13 15:07:25

Mine are non identical and have just turned 14, so are in yr 9. I'm very happy to have them at the same school but in retrospect I wish I'd asked for them to be put in different forms. They wanted to be together at first, but now the less mature, 'ditzyer' one is beginning to struggle, as they have been set differently and are choosing different subjects, and she can no longer rely on her more organised sister to have a copy of the homework that she's forgotten etc.

My SILs are non identical and were sent to different schools, and one of them still resents it - forty years later!

Have you asked them? Preferably individually?

LucyLight Sun 03-Feb-13 14:56:18

I am a twin (non-identical) and we were compared constantly and I feel that we never really came into our own until we were adults.
On the up side we got on well and were a great support to each other and on the down side we were compared and therefore compared ourselves as well - if everyone else does it you tend to do it too. However we were in the same form and took the same O'levels. I would suggest different forms in the same school and then you might get the best of both and start talking to them about how the comparison thing doesn't help - it is about their own progress - we are all diffferent and develop at different rates.(I'm sure you do already).
Choosing different schools might not necessarily solve the issue - just give them something else to compare. Talk to them about how they can be there for each other to help them both succeed.

My daughter who is very bright compares herself to her very bright friend so you don't necessarily need to be twins to do this. Also talk to the school about how you want it to be.

BTW - I get on really well with my twin now - we are completely different and have chosen different paths and she is the person I would turn to if I needed something. Friends come and go and your twin is always there.

13Iggis Sun 03-Feb-13 13:59:18

What does their primary say about it? You could request they were in different classes for most subjects at secondary. What do they want?
I've taught lots of twins, hardly ever in the same class though. I wonder if their attitudes toward eachother could be improved, rather than separating them.

Happymum22 Sun 03-Feb-13 13:54:58

I'd definitely consider separate schools, it does sound a good solution to improve the competitiveness and their happiness. However, I'd ensure the girls' school has good links with a boys' school otherwise down the line your more competitive girl may start having boyfriends etc which is seen as 'cool' by teen girls, while the other has no contact with boys and as a teenage girl may feel very rubbish and inferior about that.
And as tiggy said, make sure both are involved in the decision and see what they say they want.

tiggytape Sun 03-Feb-13 11:41:12

What would they both prefer. Half the battle is a child being happy. If one feels short changed, even if on paper it is the best option for them, it might not work out so well. If however they are both happy with the prospective schools you have in mind for them, then I don't think it is a bad thing for them to go to separate schools at all.

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