For parents, the first few years of a child’s life fly by and before you know it you have to start thinking about schools. There are many reasons to choose one school over another. Location is a big factor, but you also might want a school which consistently achieves good results year after year. However, another factor for choosing a school for your child is if you already have a son or daughter there. It’s more practical and makes pick up and drop off a lot easier. In this article, let’s look at whether siblings should be in the same school.
Should siblings be in the same school?
There are many things to consider. Usually siblings do go to the same school though, as it’s more convenient for the parents. However, it might not always be the right option. Here are some of the pros and cons of siblings attending the same school:
- Convenient and practical. Everyone is busy these days, particularly those with a young family. Having two or more children at different schools just creates more of a headache on the school run in the morning and afternoon. If all the children attend the same school it makes the logistics a lot easier.
- Siblings can support each other. If siblings get on well with each other, they can support each other while they’re at school. This can be very useful if one sibling is more introverted than the other and may need some help from time to time.
- A better relationship with the school. By having more than one child at the same school, you’ll get to know the teachers better as you’ll be in contact with them more often.
- Private school discount. If your first child is already attending a fee paying school, they may give a discount on the fees for the second.
- Priority place. For state schools in the UK, if you already have one child at a school, you are on the priority list for any other siblings attending in future years. This can be very useful if a certain school is in high demand with too many applicants per place.
- School focus. Although some schools pride themselves on being good in all areas; academic, arts and sport, many specialise in just one of these areas. If your oldest sibling is a talented artist, it makes sense to send them to a school which is a strong in this area. For the younger sibling though, it might not be a good idea.
- Being overshadowed by the other sibling. It’s tempting for teachers to compare siblings if they teach both of them. This can create a feeling of inadequacy in one sibling if the other is a high-achieving academic who scores top marks in every subject.
- Lack of independence. While it’s good that siblings can support each other, it’s possible one might rely too much on the other which hinders their development and friendships. This can happen more with twins. In some cases, siblings who aren’t that close can have some advantages!
Should siblings (or twins) be in the same class?
Being in the same school is one thing, but what about the same class, which can happen if you have twins. Some of the advantages of doing this are similar to what I’ve outlined above.
Firstly, it’s even more convenient having both your children in the same class. They both have the same teacher so communication is easier, and they will have the same assignments to do at home which makes things easier for you. The siblings can even work together on a lot of tasks.
Secondly, it can bring out a competitive edge in your siblings, which isn’t a bad thing providing it doesn’t go too far. They can put more effort into various tasks to try and outdo each other.
You have to watch academic performance carefully though because if one sibling is consistently getting worse marks than the other while being in the same class, they can become despondent and less confident. As a parent, it’s important you praise their efforts and recognise the areas where they are strong. One sibling might be better academically, but the other might be more sporty or artistic. In these cases, separate classes might be better.
There is no concrete answer as to whether siblings/twins should be in the same class. It’s just best to monitor things carefully. Twins share a special bond and although it might make sense to put them together, they might develop better in separate classes where they can gain more individuality and have their own circle of friends.
This study highlights this conflict. While many experts believe twins will thrive and do better when they are in separate classes, the majority of parents and even some teachers believe it is best to keep them together.
In a new school for young children, and during preschool, the best approach is to probably start them together. There will be less emotional stress as the twins will be able to support each other in this new environment. But as they get older you might find it better to keep them apart.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.