At The Double

Should twins be kept apart in school?

Every school I have taught in has had twins. Without exception, these twins have been separated and placed in different classes.

But why?

From what I could tell, no real best-evidence rationale or ‘science’ was behind this other than it was good for them to develop a sense of individuality. There was no school placement policy for twins either – it just happened. A 2015 survey suggested that as many as 1 in 5 UK schools have a policy to separate twins without consultation.

According to the NHS, about 80% of schools with more than one class in a year group give parents of twins a choice of whether to separate their twins or keep them together. Surely, all parents should be given this option?

There are pros and cons with keeping twins together and separating them and the NHS website offers a useful summary.

Recent research published in Developmental Psychology led by academics at Goldsmiths, University of London, says that twins do not learn better when separated. The study suggests

…that in terms of educational outcomes, policymakers should not impose rigid guidelines to separate twin pairs during their education. The choice of whether to educate twin pairs together or separately should be up to parents, twins and teachers, in response to twins’ individual needs.

Analysing data from over 9,000 pairs of twins in schools in the UK and Canada, the study found that, on average, separating them had no substantial positive or negative effect on twins’ academic achievement, cognitive ability, and motivation.

The only significant differences found between twins taught together and separately were at age 12 (Canada) and at 16 (UK), which showed a weak average effect in favour of educating twins together.

Lead author, Yulia Kovas, Professor of Genetics and Psychology at Goldsmiths, said,

We are not saying that separation has no effect on the children involved but rather that there is no strong evidence to justify a rigid rule that twins should be taught separately – or taught together – because it is better for their academic studies.


Go the article 10 Reasons to Keep Twins Together in the Same Class by Pamela Prindle Fierro

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