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Curtin University of Technology
Twins and Multiples

Admissions and appeals

This section is based on the work of Anne Thomas (Education Consultant for Tamba).

Deferred or Delayed School Entry

Before completing the application process it is important for some parents to look carefully at the possibility of deferring or delaying their children's school start. There are certain circumstances in which this might be the right thing to do - for example if the children:

If parents are worried about this they should seek advice from nursery staff/doctor or other professionals about the suitability of deferring or delaying starting school. Parents can also contact their multiple birth organisation to seek support and advice.

Home Education

Home educating remains an option in some countries. It should be noted however, that it is important for multiple birth children to experience friendships outside of their multiple birth group (be it twins, triplets or more) in order to develop the intellectual and social skills required to deal with the world independently. School provides these opportunities naturally. Parents choosing to home educate may need to consciously create such opportunities.

Independent Education

All Independent Schools are funded by fees paid by parents. They set their own curriculum and admissions policies. Independent schools are frequently more flexible about delaying or deferring school entry. Scholarships and bursaries may be available to help with the payment of fees.

Choosing a School

When choosing a school you need to consider how it will meet the needs of the family and the children as individuals and as multiples. School will not provide all of the answers and parents still have an important job to do. You may have to apply to more than one school and to compromise. Find out about a school by:

When making your decision consider the following:

When applying for a school do not express strong views about the school you want least (just in case your child/ren have to go there - it is vital for a child's well-being that parents approve of the school). Each child needs a separate letter/application. Say how the school would benefit that child and what your child could offer to the school (music, sport etc.). Use the multiple relationship as only one reason for wishing that both/all children attend one school (D. Galloway, 2008).

Placing your children successfully in a Nursery does not usually guarantee places in main school. Make sure that you are aware of the procedures and timescale for school admissions in your area.

It is essential under all normal circumstances to place multiple birth children together in the same school. In recent years an increasing number of applications have been affected by oversubscription and you should seek support from your Multiple Birth organisation if your multiples are allocated to different schools and you want them to be in the same school. Tamba has successfully lobbied the UK government with regard to this issue.

In choosing the right school for your multiple birth children you may well consider it important for the children to be able to separate into different classes at some point. If this is the case, you will need to look at schools with more than one class per year. In these circumstances it could be extremely useful to talk to an admissions officer, as your preference may lead you to look at schools further afield than your local schools. It is important for you to make the reasons for your choice clear at an early stage.

It is normal for multiple birth children to be both competitive and supportive. They will very often progress at different rates and at varying times outstrip each other, both academically and physically. They may also have very different needs and abilities because of health issues or difficulties at birth. Some may have special educational needs.

Where differences in ability are extreme, parents are faced with difficult choices about how to educate their children. There may be a strong desire to keep them together which conflicts with the desire to provide for their very differing needs: should they be separated into different groups/classes/schools? How will they cope when exam results are very different? Should they be kept together in the hope that the gap will close, or should they be freed from constant comparison?

It is a good idea to talk through such matters with teachers and other appropriate professionals. Your multiple birth organisation can also offer advice.

Very often primary schools can provide a flexible environment in which differences can be easily accommodated. This may become more difficult at senior level and so it may become appropriate to split the children into different schools at this stage.

When choosing a senior school consider the following:

It is usual for parents to be invited or encouraged to attend open evenings at senior schools, where staff are available for questions. Staff and pupils display a range of activities on offer at the school and a senior member of staff usually addresses parents and prospective pupils outlining the strengths and ethos of the school.

It is less important for multiple birth children to stay together throughout the senior school years. However, many families prefer this arrangement, and some multiple birth children are not ready to be split into different schools at this stage. If your multiples are allocated to different senior schools and this is against your wishes you may have grounds to appeal.

Appeals

If you do not receive the place allocation(s) you hoped for it may be possible to appeal against the decision.

Initially, particularly with senior age children, your main responsibility will be to support them and to talk through what you will do next. It is important to reassure them and to make it clear that they have not failed you. You may be upset yourself, but try to keep focused and avoid taking things personally.

There are usually two basic grounds for appeal:

It is important to recognise that every multiple birth family has unique needs and that what is appropriate educational provision for one family may be wholly inappropriate for another. You will also need to fit the basis of your appeal with the offer you have been made and the particulars of the school for which you are appealing for a place/places.

If you are appealing for places for more than one child and/or at more than one school, you must submit appeal paperwork for each child and for each school.

Set out your appeal clearly making sure that it a positive appeal for a place/places at the school of your choice, and not an appeal against the school allocated. Collect evidence from professionals who can add perspective to your child/ren's case(s) - teachers/nursery teachers/G/other professional(s). Your multiple birth organisation may also support your appeal.