How far do your primary aged children walk to school?

(54 Posts)
evilwem Sat 06-Oct-12 16:45:44

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?

crazymum53 Mon 08-Oct-12 16:30:06

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.

dabdab Mon 08-Oct-12 13:07:53

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.

hazeyjane Mon 08-Oct-12 12:49:51

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.

We walked 15 minutes for reception.Half way through the year he had a bike.For Y1 it is about 20 min or more.He bikes,on rainy days has to walk.

badmumalert Sun 07-Oct-12 22:26:16

I'd love to know how bishboschone manages to walk 2.5 miles in 30 minutes with a school child and the paraphenalia that requires... Please let me kno whatyou secret is.

Oh, forgot to say we're about 0.2 miles from our school (4 -5 minute walk) so we always walk it if I'm taking them. Sometimes DH will use the car if he has to drop them on his way to work if he needs to be early. Usually though he will walk them to school and come back for the car. It's nice to be really close to your school. smile

I agree with those who say go for the closest school. Especially if it's one where your DC will be able to walk too and from school themselves when they're older.

Whilst you have one DC in nursery class and one in full time school, remember that's three school runs a day, not two. Even if your DC2 is in the further away school for nursery, if you put DC1 in the closer school at least you will only have to drag DC2 down the road to pick up DC1 at the end of the school day / drop off in the morning rather than yet another trip to the furthest school.

Does your closest school have an on-site breakfast club? If your DC2 is in a morning session at the further away school then that would make the morning drop off easier if your DC1 could be dropped off at breakfast club before you drop off at nursery. Then you'd just have one pick up at each school at different times later in the day.

I also agree with BlueSky about it being easier to become part of your local community if you go to the closer school.

BlueSkySinking Sun 07-Oct-12 19:10:21

We drive on the whole but most people live close to the school.

In your shoes I'd go for the closer option. Attending a local school will help make lots of in routes into the community at a very very local level. It will be handy for all those play dates, mothers coffee mornings, future sleep overs, birthday parties, after school clubs, dropping forgotten PE kit and forgotten lunch bags off. Also for late morning starts when you are there by the skin of your teeth. Why drive if your closest school is so good? Think of the cost and the environment too.

BlueSkySinking Sun 07-Oct-12 19:02:04

Our school is 1.7 miles away and takes 35 mins by foot at a quickish no messing around pace. I'd like to say we walk all the time but my son is far too exhausted so either I push him in a buggy, he scoots or we drive. Mostly the latter.

evilwem Sun 07-Oct-12 18:18:03

Cycling is a very nice idea, but did you see the part where I said it was very hilly? grin Something to consider though - we'd all definitely be getting regular exercise!

I've just put the details for F. into Google maps. It's less than 500 metres. I'd be pretty stupid to pass up an outstanding school on our doorstep like that really. We're going to look round W. next week, but I think I'll have to arrange to see F. again without the dds under my feet so I can get a better idea of it.

redskyatnight Sun 07-Oct-12 10:57:43

I'd say your best bet is cycling with your younger DD in a bike seat or trailer.
DD is at an infants just over a mile from the juniors where DS is. She (and many other children in the same position) are accustomed to doing the round trip on a bike from a pretty early age.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 06-Oct-12 21:59:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tgger Sat 06-Oct-12 21:48:27

Green space is nice smile, but go on your gut feel!

Tgger Sat 06-Oct-12 21:47:35

We walk 0.5 miles with DD 3 and DS 5. DD is nearly 4 now. Last year she went in the buggy even when she was 3.5, it was easier for school run when she was tired. Most of the other 3 year olds did too, but now they are all at the school nursery (3-4s) they are all walking. It takes about 20 minutes with DD walking. DS and I can do it in 12/15 mins, it is uphill on the way there and down hill on way back. Lots of kids go on scooters, but the 3 year olds are rather scary down the hill and my DCs are rubbish on scooters so we walk! I love not going in the car.

NimChimpsky Sat 06-Oct-12 19:01:06

I made the decision about school based on how they felt. I read and read and read ofsted reports but nothing compared to what felt 'right'.

DD goes to school 4 miles away and I don't drive. A bus takes us 2 miles of that. I had a baby by emcs 4 days before she started too. It IS tough, particularly on days when the snow is lashing, ds screaming in a sling, dd recalcitrant and tired but it's about how you spin it. We are all fit, we have time to talk, unwind after school, look at nature, play. Bus driver and regular passengers are lovely, we meander past the madness of lines of angry drivers, picking daisies and chatting.

Do consider other journeys too. Days when I have to get there for havest festival too means I have time for little else during the day. But actually it just is what it is and we make the best of it.

evilwem Sat 06-Oct-12 18:44:48

Very true lljkk. And this:

" Almost exactly 500 metres. I love living so close. Out of bed at 8, out the door at 8.53 am, arrive on the dot of 9."

Is very appealing smile

lljkk Sat 06-Oct-12 18:39:34

Then decide on which one will make you happier. Treking an extra 4 miles a day isn't a recipe for happiness in most people's books.

evilwem Sat 06-Oct-12 18:31:31

It's so hard, how am I supposed to know whether my children will be happy at a school from a 30 minute tour and a few pages from Ofsted?

evilwem Sat 06-Oct-12 18:25:45

Thanks for all your replies everyone.

The closer school has had three Outstanding Ofsted inspections in a row, which is pretty hard to argue with, but when I went for a look round it had a very traditional feel, in a dark Victorian building with no green space outside at all. The children seemed happy though, as much as I could tell from a quick visit with both DDs hanging around my ankles.

We're going to see the further away school in a week or so. It has good Ofsted reports and the fields, but I don't know much more about it than that.

elliejjtiny Sat 06-Oct-12 18:18:05

We live 1.5 miles away from school. We walked for the first 2 years with DS1 walking and DS2 and DS3 in the buggy. Now DS2 uses a wheelchair and is at school part time so we get the bus with DS3 in baby carrier.

AndrewD Sat 06-Oct-12 18:10:26

We walk a mile each way. I leave 30 mins so my son and daughter can play on the way.

radicalsubstitution Sat 06-Oct-12 18:04:59

OK, I see what you mean about it being more like 18/20 months.

We have a similar situation - DS' school is literally opposite the house. I leave the house at 8:40 to get him to school at 8:41. I've then got a mad dash to the bus stop to get DD and myself into town to my work and her nursery (3 miles away).

I feel like I've done a full day's work before starting.

I console myself with the fact that it won't be forever!

I still think that it is better to be closer. Particularly in January when DS has a stinking cold - I don't feel guilty about a hideous long walk home in the dark!

DorsetKnob Sat 06-Oct-12 18:01:32

3.5 miles here so they don't.

legoballoon Sat 06-Oct-12 17:57:55

All things being equal, I'd go for the closer one and take the hit on the preschool til then. Some of the kids from the preschool will probably end up at your closer school anyway.

lljkk Sat 06-Oct-12 17:56:37

Only rely on scooters if you don't mind carrying them 90% of the journey both ways.
I would plan for closer school, there must be lots of families with same problem?

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