We are dithering between two perfectly good schools and it's coming down to logistics.
F. School is 5 mins walk away. W. School is 1.3 miles away, 20-odd mins walk for me, not sure how long for me plus dds (currently 4 and 2).
The issue is that F. doesn't have a preschool. DD1 is currently at W.'s preschool and DD2 wiil go there when she is 3.
So from next September will either have both DDs at W., commiting to 9 years of going the further distance. Or DD1 at F. and DD2 at W., which means two years of shuttling between the two, prob in the car, but then 7 years of an easy 5 min walk.
I don't want to have to drive every day for 9 years, but can't see 3-year-old DD2 managing the walk. (It's v hilly, though downhill on the way home).
Which finally brings me to my question, how far do your children walk, and from what age were the reliably happy to do so?
It is about 1.5 miles to dds school, they are 5 and 6, and I also have 2.3 yr old ds. When dd1 started we walked using a pushchair and buggy board, when dd2 started and I had ds, we used a double buggy. But it could sometimes be a nightmare, if the weather was bad, or the dds were tired or any number of other reasons, it also took a huge chunk of the day, because they could take aaaaaaggggesss to walk home. We now catch the bus.
1 minute from school. We used to live 20 min from school when dds were younger. We used buggy and buggy board, and then later I had a great bike I could put both children into (a huge boon when I had one doing a half day and one doing a full day). We also walked it a fair bit. The walk was not really a problem, you just do it and it becomes routine. Having said that, living very close to the school is a fantastic luxury. No problem for older children to walk to school by themselves, friends pop round for a quick chat (theirs and mine), play dates are easier because many people are close, if we forget something as school it is no problem, getting to and from clubs is easy, which is very handy if you have one child doing a club and not the other - you don't then have to make more than one trip or hang around waiting for club to finish. Not to mention saving money on petrol, car use etc.
In my LEA primary schools are so oversubscribed that you would live too far away to be allocated a place at a school 1.3 miles away. I would go for the nearest school and would not be swayed by the pre-school issue. You couls ask which pre-schools "feed" into school F as perhaps there is a closer pre-school. You can go on waiting lists for more than one pre-school so this could be an option. At the end of the day though, school is compulsory, pre-school is not and the needs of the school aged child should come first.