should I be concerned about a one-and-a-quarter-ho ur commute to secondary school?

(40 Posts)
parakeet Tue 17-Jan-12 13:38:12

The school we are most likely to get into involves a half-hour bus journey, which, together with the walk at either end, and the fact that the buses don't run very regularly, entails leaving home at 7.10 (to get to school before 8.30). There's a one-hour journey home too.

This seems horrendous to me, making the school day ever so long, and it will still be dark when she leaves in the morning. We don't live in a remote village, we're just unlucky with the distribution of schools in our area. I realise that some people put up with this to get to a private school, but this is just to get to our nearest state secondary.

The alternative is to move house, which I would be prepared to do if necessary. But am I worrying over nothing? Could people whose children have a similar commute give me feedback over how this affects them? Thanks so much.

Theas18 Sun 22-Jan-12 11:31:28

I dunno. We put a max 1hr door to door limit in our choice of schools AND the child had to be able to do the journey on their own from the start ( ok barring " training runs " etc).

They currently leave the house at 7.30 and are at school before 8.30 (10 min walk, bus, 5 mins the other end). You have build in flexibility for late/ missing buses etc as well.

Remember also - less relevant for year 7 but don't forget it- that after school activities will also be an issue- can you collect if they are there till 5 or so ? Will travelling alone ( in the dark in the winter) be safe at 12/13/14 yrs ? Out school tends to do lower school activities at lunch and paper school after school - however if ou are good enough to be " playing with the big kids" in orchestras rugby teams etc you could, as my 12yr old is now, be involved in late finishes quite young.

PushyDad Mon 23-Jan-12 14:30:10

In the morning I drop my son at the stop for the school bus on my way to work. He has a 30min bus ride but he is dropped off at the school so there is no walking at the other end. In the evenings he walks the 20 minutes from the stop to the house.

We've been lucky in that it has been a relatively mild and dry winter so it hasn't been too punishing for him so far

parakeet Thu 16-Feb-12 21:26:06

Thanks for all these extra replies since I last checked. It is all food for thought. But I am probably leaning more towards going for it than not now.

I guess I am thinking there are options like biking it (possibly) and sharing lifts with other parents. Maybe mixing up all of the above, then it is not a mega-commute every single day.

FootballFriendSays Fri 17-Feb-12 07:59:45

Hi Parakeet. DS was facing a similar commute to school, for similar reasons. We decided to move so that at least he doesn't need to change buses. We are now on a direct bus to his school but it's only every 30 minutes so he leaves the house at 7.30 for an 8.30ish start. The commuting time isn't substantially shorter but we feel it's easier as it's just one bus and a short walk at either end.

twoterrors Fri 17-Feb-12 08:20:14

I would bear in mind that as your child gets older, depending on how the school does things, they may be involved in rehearsals or activities that they organise themselves at the last minute. I think they gain a huge amount from the independence this gives them if they have a reasonable journey but can be unable to participate if they are locked into travel arrangements that suited them as an 11-year-old with very fixed schedules. With the younger ones, it can be easier to negotiate the maze of friendships and groups if they can be flexible. So no, I am sure you are not worrying unnecessarily. Equally, if you have no choice, you can probably make it work but may find that if your child wants to join in a lot, or makes friends who don't live nearby, life becomes very complicated and they don't get the chance to become independent.
I think I would start looking at the options for moving unless you love where you live. If you are closer to the school there is more chance you will feel connected both to the school and to your child's friends - even without formal events you will bump into people in shops and parks - this can be important at secondary school before they start talking about going on holiday with people you have never clapped eyes on, and it really helps to have a couple of families you can call on if the going gets tough ever.

pchick Fri 17-Feb-12 11:51:35

WE live in a semi-rural area and journey time was a bit consideration for us. However, we have now discovered that my ds leaves at the same time as children travelling to schools alot nearer, and they soon get used to it. The ease of journey is often more important than distance. A longer journey requiring no changes, is easier than a shorter journey requiring changes. My DS loves the journey, and has met boys from other years as a result of it.

When you go to open evenings, talk to hte current pupils and see where they live. You'd probably be surprised. We were.

mhathain Fri 28-Dec-12 09:32:24

I hope the commute has been going OK. I was very interested in this thread as I had a similar problem to think about but my DS was only 5yr old at the time. He has been commuting for 1hr - 1hr 10mins since Aug now and we put our house on the market to move closer to town, he was getting upset about the prospect of moving despite the journey, now 4 months on he has suggested we stay as he doesnt mind the journey at all, it may be as its all by car but the thing is, he has taught me that sometimes we puts doubts and worrys in our childrens minds and want to protect them from hardships but they are resilient. it gives him a chance to wind down from school on the way home, playing and chatting and if he has a playdate, we stay in town after school then go home. playdates are arranged so we takes turns having kids here or DS goes to town.

parakeet Mon 14-Jan-13 21:55:09

Hi Mhathain. Believe it or not, the move to secondary is still several years off - I just like to plan ahead.

I still haven't decided whether or not to move house to avoid the commute. I take your point about children being resilient if they have to be, but I would prefer them not to have to be.

jeee Tue 15-Jan-13 12:04:57

I see that it's years away.... and when your child is older you might feel a little less worried by it.

FWIW, my DD is at her second term of secondary school. She leaves home at about 7.00, and gets into school around 8.35. It is tiring for her, but she loves her school. She thinks the long journey is a sacrifice worth making for the school that she liked the most.

phlebas Tue 15-Jan-13 14:48:40

my dd also has a long commute - the school is 10 miles away. She leaves at 7:15 in the morning (8:45 start) and gets home just before 5 (3:15 finish), she gets the train & then the school bus. As it is a rural school the vast majority of children (85% I think they said) get the bus or train & bus in, her journey is one of the longer ones but not excessively so. They don't run many after school clubs but she has swimming training twice a month - on those days I pick her up from school.

She's managing fine - she has non-school evening activities twice a week which she has kept going & she usually spends one night a week at her grandparents' house (which is much closer to home). On night's she's at home she spends a couple of hours having dinner/playing with her siblings then an hour of homework or reading then bed at 9pm (she gets up at 6:30). Most homework is saved for the Sunday. Major change from before is that she watches no TV at all now (too busy) but reads even more (has a kindle for the commute).

She was apprehensive about it to start with - particularly having to change trains & we had a couple of teething problems with trains being late/cancelled, so I was always ready to rescue her to start with. She has a mobile & still texts me at every completed part of the trip.

phlebas Tue 15-Jan-13 14:50:50

night's ... argh my eyes ... sorry blush

phlebas Tue 15-Jan-13 14:53:25

& like pchick said dd has made lots of friends from the years above (she's the only y7 on her bus) - which has given her some kudos too wink

sproingle Thu 17-Jan-13 22:25:56

My school was 2.5 miles away but I had to leave at 7.10 to ensure I got the 7.30 bus - later buses usually full by my stop and would drive straight past!!

newgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 17:18:29

Im with arabhorse - have you ever done that sort of commute yourself? I did it for years and it is knackering. And if the weather, bad traffic etc is going to add to that its not great. If its the only option I am sure kids get on with it, but 20 hours a week commuting is not ideal sad

prosopon Fri 25-Jan-13 22:04:02

with snow all over the country at the moment - have you considered the impact of bad weather on this? At secondary school many students refuse to wear coats, even in snow. So they have a long journey, inadequately dressed. Then if they are sick/injured you have to go and collect them to get them home. With January exams disappearing at least you won't have as much problem getting them to school for exams when the buses stop running.

I would not recommend it if you have a choice.

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