There’s a reason you might be seeing double: twins are now more common than at any other time in history.
That’s according to the first comprehensive survey of twins across 100 countries, published in 2021.
Researchers of that study found the global twin birth-rate has risen by a third since the 1980s, attributed largely to increased use of IVF and women having babies later in life.
Now, 12 in every 1000 births will produce twins.
But that doesn’t account for this year’s phenomenon at Kelmscott High School.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, the school welcomed six sets of twins into its 250-strong year 7 cohort – twice the average rate.
That means that roughly one in every 20 students starting their high school journey this year at Kelmscott will be a twin.
Principal Mark Jeffery said this is the first time he’s seen anything like it in his 30-year teaching career.
“I’ve never seen six sets of twins – it’s highly unusual, especially to have them in the same year group,” he said.
The school has seen a bounce in enrolments this year, but that still doesn’t explain the twin streak.
It’s just one of those anomalies.
But ask any of the dozen how they feel about being surrounded by so many other twins and you’ll be met with shrugs.
They explained that while being a pair comes with its advantages, like always having a buddy around, the notoriety can also become overwhelming.
“I guess it feels kind of comforting,” Lilly Iceton said.
“If we were the only set of twins, we’d get treated differently.”
“Yeah, most people think it’s weird to have a twin,” Zoe Iceton said.
“When you tell someone you’re twins, people are shocked and make a big deal – like OMG you’re a twin? But now with six sets that probably won’t happen as much,” Abigail Adams said.
For many, the first day of high school yesterday represented a chance to create an identity apart from their sibling.
“It feels good to get a break from each other,” Tyrell Woods said. “It can be hard sometimes. Like, I can tell when Kyeisha’s not having the best time – I just know.”
After speaking with them for just a short while, it’s clear that the notion of twins being ‘two peas in a pod’ couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I feel like we’re very different in our own way,” Samuel Adams said.
“We sometimes say the same thing at the same time, but we’re also so different. I’m the ‘sporty one’,” Chelsea Higgins said.
“And I guess I’m more academic,” Bella Higgins said.
Mr Jeffery said his experience of teaching twins is that they are very rarely alike.
“Twins can be very different people. You’ll often be quite surprised they’re from the same family,” he said.
“So, they’re in good hands here, because we’ve got lots of ‘big picture’ vocational opportunities alongside academic pathways here at Kelmscott High.
“They’ve got an exciting six years ahead of them.”
In classic teenager fashion, however, top of the priority list for most was expanding their friendship networks.
“I was almost going to go to Roleystone to be with my best friend,” Holly said.
“But I was like, please don’t leave me,” Bella said.
“So yeah, I guess it’s nice being together. But this school is also a lot bigger, with a lot more people. And I’m looking forward to finding a big friend group that will last forever. Well, that’s the hope, anyway,” Holly said.