Walking to and from school in yrs 7 and 10

(74 Posts)
bambicat Thu 03-Oct-13 11:54:11

Help and advice needed to resolve a parenting conflict!
Is it better to let 2 brothers walk half a mile to and from school, weather and health permitting, or should they be driven by car? Many thanks.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 03-Oct-13 16:57:15

I walked dd1 to school on her first day of secondary, claiming that I had to go out with the dog anyway ;-) But have calmed down with subsequent children. Dd2 wouldn't even let me go down the road to the bus stop with her, and ds cycled from day 1.

Half a mile is nothing, and should be walked. Most people don't even have secondary schools within half a mile, surely? Our closest ones are about a mile away.

mikulkin Thu 03-Oct-13 16:54:57

Starbuck - it really depends where you live and which school he attends. We live in Central London and though school is 15-20 minutes walk from us I walk my 12 yr old DS to school. He can do it himself if he wants to - but both of us find this to be a nice morning routine (I work full time) - quite a few boys from his school are also either driven to school or walked by their parents - so he doesn't feel at all like committing a social suiside.

If your DS doesn't feel like going on his own, walk with him, I'm sure he will tell you when he is ready to walk on his own.

DS walks the mile to school alone (Y7). He is very small for his age, and often encumbered by huge amounts of sports kit and books.
He specifically asked me not to walk with him, even on the first day!
He's been walking himself to school since he was in Y3, as the only road on the 1/2 mile to primary school had a crossing keeper.

Taz1212 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:23:52

Oh my word! Definitely let them walk! DS(11) will go to swim practice after school today then walk 1/2 mile to the bus stop, ride the bus for 15 minutes until he gets to his father's office then phone his father to tell him to hurry up and finish work so they can go home on the train! If my not-terribly-focussed DS can negotiate public transport in the city on his own each week I'm fairly certain these boys can manage the walk to school based on the posts here. grin

exexpat Thu 03-Oct-13 16:20:44

Starbuck - most people start building up to it before secondary age by letting them walk small distances by themselves, eg to the park/shop/friend's house, and then make sure they are very familiar with the route to secondary by the start of term. By then you should also have an idea of what other children live nearby who will be going to the same school.

DD is 10 (in year 6) and has been walking back from school by herself occasionally for several months (final term of year 5). We live 0.7 miles from school (according to google maps) and it takes about 15 minutes. Before I let her walk it alone, I stopped at roads and asked her to tell me when it was safe to cross, checked she knew what cars would be doing at roundabouts etc. DS was walking to school by himself from age 8, but that was when we lived closer to their then school.

KittiesInsane Thu 03-Oct-13 16:04:48

I do pick mine up twice a week, but that's a 5-mile walk (and even so DS sometimes opts to walk it rather than 'hang around for aaaaages').

Half a mile? That can't take more than about 15 minutes. Unless it is pouring with rain or they have loads of stuff to carry (PE kit, musical instrument and food tech stuff all at the same time for example) then they should walk.

I pick up my DS from school but he walks the 1st 0.5miles so I don't get caught up in the traffic at the school gate and I drive the other 1.5miles, but for 0.5 miles? No certainly no lifts.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 03-Oct-13 16:01:09

Starbuck - I'm guessing you're from the US ... when I lived there no-one seemed to walk anywhere so theres probably quite a culture shock! Also (if I've guessed correctly) your DS won't be used to cars being on the left side of the road. So do practice the route with him during the summer hols before he starts, identify safe crossing points etc. smile

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 16:00:12

You have a year to improve his awareness and road sense.

Where do you live that the weather should be a consideration? The highlands? Outer Hebrides?

KittiesInsane Thu 03-Oct-13 15:58:19

I would add 'playing the double bass on a day you also have cookery' to the motte and bailey/coffee table list.

motherinferior Thu 03-Oct-13 15:57:42

He'll find his own loitering partners, don't worry. They move in packs.

Starbuck100 Thu 03-Oct-13 15:55:34

Oh dear. Thanks for the insight. Now I'm all stressed out. Certainly don't want him to commit social suicide! But, he's so small for his age, and like another poster, has terrible sense for personal/road safety. I guess this is just another thing about parenting I will lose sleep over. Hopefully, once we know where he will be going to school, we can find a walking partner. Seems like kids from the primary end up all over the place though, so that might not work. Oy.

stringornothing Thu 03-Oct-13 15:54:56

I shudder to think of the health problems mum is storing up for herself in later life if she thinks half a mile each way is too far to walk. Unless she's already got mobility problems.

ShoeWhore Thu 03-Oct-13 15:48:34

Perfectly fine. My yr3 & 5 dcs walk slightly further every day - currently with adult supervision although I am thinking that by the end of yr5 I should let the older one walk on his own.

On the rare occasion I drop DS and dd off, they get out of the car in the town and walk down with their friends grin

motherinferior Thu 03-Oct-13 15:35:28

I did whizz DD1 to school the other day in the car but that was because she'd been cornered in her room by a cat with a dead squirrel (trufact) and had an 8.30 class...

hettienne Thu 03-Oct-13 15:28:02

I don't remember ever seeing a parent walk to or collect a child from my secondary school! I lived about 10 miles away and my mum walked me to the bus stop on my first day - that was it. My younger brother and sister didn't even get that!

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 03-Oct-13 15:20:55

Starbucks - I can't say I have ever known a secondary aged child be 'walked' to school. Some are driven if their parent is driving past to go to work and it's an easier/quicker route than using the public/provided transport (rural/semi-rural areas) but if walking distance, they ALL walk alone, especially at state schools.

My ds is in yr 8 at an independent and we live really close to school, and do still see him across the road towards school because a) it's a busy arterial route through the city with no crossings, b) he has SEN and terrible road sense, and c) it's nice to pop over to the school gate and chat to some of the other parents from time to time. However, the 'school gate' thing I don't think happens at all at state schools. Certainly not the ones I know of or have worked in. (Parents would collect from an afterschool rehearsal or sports event, of course, but not normal end of the day.)

exexpat Thu 03-Oct-13 15:19:53

Starbuck100 - if it is the local/catchment secondary, and it is within walking distance or an easy bus ride, then yes, nearly all the year 7s will probably be going by themselves - or more likely in big gaggles of ones who live close together.

The only ones who get delivered to my DS's school by car are those who live miles away and whose parents work near the school. And I think even lots of them choose to get dropped a bit of a way away from the school and walk the last bit alone. No one - and I mean no one - walks to secondary school with a parent after the first couple of days. It would be social death.

By the time he has settled in to the area and made some friends in year 6, preferably ones who live close by, he will probably feel differently about it.

motherinferior Thu 03-Oct-13 15:18:05

Mind you it's more of a saunter than a walk. A loiter or a saunter. Depending on who's watching.

motherinferior Thu 03-Oct-13 15:17:29

It's a big social ritual, the walk or bus ride, from Y6 up, I've found.

I remember it well grin

My DCs would have been mortified if I had walked them to school in year 7.
Practice the route in the summer holidays so they are ready,let them arrange to meet their friends

Tbh most of the year 6 walk to school alone here anyway.

PatriciaHolm Thu 03-Oct-13 15:13:51

Starbucks - here you would be, yes! Every secondary child I know gets themselves to school here, as long as it is walkable. Several also get buses. Virtually unknown to drive unless you absolutely need to.

Starbuck100 Thu 03-Oct-13 15:10:20

Out of curiosity, do most parents let an 11 year walk to school alone (versus walking to school with a parent)? I just moved here and have a child to start secondary next fall. Perhaps its just where I'm from and what I'm used to, but I can't imagine letting him go alone. I asked him what he thought, and he had no desire to go it alone either. Granted we just moved so he's still settling in, but still. Am I going to be the lone parent playing the over-protective role next year?

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