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in thinking 7 years old is not too young to walk 65 ft to the school bus

(127 Posts)
DuelingFanjo Tue 14-Sep-10 10:46:20


how ridiculous of the council.

OP’s posts: |
ShowOfHands Tue 14-Sep-10 10:48:53

I've seen this story reported elsewhere.

I think there's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

DuelingFanjo Tue 14-Sep-10 10:52:46

Like what?

I think the child was reported (possibly by the school bus driver) which, if he had real concerns was of course the right thing to do, but the reaction of the council seems to be a little extreme, no?

OP’s posts: |
GabbyLoggon Tue 14-Sep-10 10:53:23

yes, there probably is more to it than meets the eye In a way it depends on the 7 year old think the council were wrong to send the heavily worded letter

ShowOfHands Tue 14-Sep-10 10:57:12

The concerns have not just been about the school bus stop issue afaik.

I can't really and don't want to comment on specific cases. But generally when any kind of concerns about children are raised , you often don't find out how or why all of the concerns were raised, by which agencies and what might have happened previously. Because that's not how most social agencies work and they aren't in the habit of releasing this information to the press. Of course the press reports the information they have from those that do give them information and this often seizes on a 'nanny state' aspect of what is a more complicated case.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 14-Sep-10 10:58:29

Well I live in Lincolnshire and when I was 7 me and my mates used to walk to the other end of the village to catch the bus to school. On the way home we had to cross a main road as bus dropped us off on the wrong side. There was never any parents who came to meet us, nobody in the council was bothered. I know the village in this story and the road through it is quieter than the road I used to cross.

DuelingFanjo Tue 14-Sep-10 10:58:37

I think the other issue was that she had no jumper?

Thing is those are the only two issues addressed by the council in the letter they sent.

OP’s posts: |
VivaLeBeaver Tue 14-Sep-10 11:00:37

Well its either OK for a 7yo to walk to the bus stop by themselves or its not. If there are other issues apart from the busstop with this family why are the council even bringing the bus stop into it?

If there was a family next door with no other concerns would it be OK for their 7yo to walk to the bus stop/cross the road?

Bathsheba Tue 14-Sep-10 11:00:46

I've just been listening to the council officer on radio 5 and they have admitted that the wording of the letter was crap, but they had genuine concern about the busy- ness of the road and the way that cars over-took the bus.

borderslass Tue 14-Sep-10 11:05:58

DD1 used to walk through our housing scheme to the bus at 5.

darcymum Tue 14-Sep-10 11:12:05

I was waiting for this to get MNetted.

Taking the story on face value it is ridiculous. I think the fact that somebody reported the girl for being unaccompanied (assuming no other issues) is a very sad reflection on what was once commonplace, is now rare. I don't think children benefit from being accompanied everywhere and are generally a lot more capable than we give credit for.

I was also shocked that the NSPCC say that children under eight should be accompanied everywhere. I would like to know what research this is based on.

irishma Tue 14-Sep-10 11:15:20

When I think of when we were younger and when there were no such thing as mobile phones shock we would leave the house at breakfast time and not return till dinnertime and no one knew where we were!!

However times have changed and if the bus driver has to help the girl cross the road then regardless of the wording of the letter, then the parents have a responsibility to make sure that the kid gets to school safely..

Personally if I received this letter..ya I would be annoyed but I would also be mortified that someone out there thought I wasnt kaing care of my child!!I wouldnt broadcast it on the news!!

highlandspringerdog Tue 14-Sep-10 17:03:09

Where we live there are hordes of little children walking to school on their own. Loads of them. Much younger than 7. Usually in groups of siblings, but of ten you will see a child of 7 years old in charge of a group of kids, including one in a pram. I think it is utter madness. And social services never do anything about it. OR if they do, it doesn t work! Funny how different councils have different standards...if these lot came down here they'd have about a thousand new cases by the end of the day

mumto2andnomore Tue 14-Sep-10 17:10:43

Most schools wont let children of 7 out of the school gates at 7 without an adult so I think they should also be met off a bus. 7 is still very little in my eyes.

mumto2andnomore Tue 14-Sep-10 17:11:33

Blimey I worded that well,sorry Im tired !!

weegiemum Tue 14-Sep-10 17:13:15

I have 3 children who go to school on the bus. the bus stop is about 5 mins walk from the house. There is one (very) minor road to cross.

They walk out to it themselves (age 6, 8, 10) and come home on their own too. They play out all round the area where they get the bus, why couldn't they walk there alone too?

expatinscotland Tue 14-Sep-10 17:15:32

Depends on teh 7-year-old and the route.

Our school is fairly nearby, about a 10 minute walk, but it involves crossing the high road which is used by loads of heavy vehicles at speeds of up to 60mph.

My 7-year-old is dyspraxic and not very good at judging things like speed yet.

MrsDrOwenHunt Tue 14-Sep-10 18:20:13

i am gonna find it hard letting ds go anywhere by himself at 15 not alone 7!!!!

Vallhala Tue 14-Sep-10 18:26:13

"As the pupil was also left standing by the roadside on a cold morning without warm clothing, we have raised our concerns with the girl's parents, following discussion with the school."

So say the local council.

I don't think I'd be doing as the parent in question does BUT the council does sound unnecessarily high-handed in its approach.

MrsMellowdrummer Tue 14-Sep-10 18:28:09

A spokesperson for the council was on radio 4 tonight, and said something along the lines of the tone of the letter was perhaps not helpful. I think they have apologised to the family for that.

She also explained that the bus driver raised concerns because the point where the child has to cross the road is on a dangerous corner, and he was regularly leaving a bus full of other children, in order to help this one child cross the road. His supervisor had raised this as being unacceptable, both from the girl's point of view, and from the point of view of the other children left on the bus.

It does sound as if the whole story has been misreported/exaggerated by the press, shock horror.

TheCrackFox Tue 14-Sep-10 18:31:11

The council backs down according to the BBC

FWIW maybe the authorities could try and trust parents with their own children? I would be more worried about a 7 yr old that can't walk 20 metres outside his/her own front door. Cotton wool?

SanctiMoanyArse Tue 14-Sep-10 18:39:27

'Well its either OK for a 7yo to walk to the bus stop by themselves or its not'

Not sure that's true.

My Mum who let us out at aged seven has said that whilst that was right for then she wouldn;t now- too many cars etc.

Some palces may well be safer over time of course- pedestrianisation, lollipop person- where Mum is has deteriorated and I think it's a very individual situation where the child, roads, safety etc all caome into play.

For me seven was far too young, for our siuation.

Ephiny Tue 14-Sep-10 18:41:40

highlandspringerdog - I see similar things where I live too, little kids barely/not past the toddling and nappies stage out in the streets on their own or in the 'care' of older kids no more than 7 or 8 themselves! And often barefoot (there's frequently broken glass in the street) or out in the rain/cold without proper clothing, not a fan of nanny-state/helicopter parenting stuff, but some people do go too far in the other direction! Our street has a slipway to the river on one end, and joins with a busy A road at the other end, not a suitable playground IMO.

Anyway, if there really is no more to this case than a sensible 7 year old being allowed to wait for the bus a few metres from her home and not 'wrapping up warm' to the required standards (since when was that a matter for the council to decide!), then the council staff clearly don't have enough to do in rural Lincolnshire and should get down here to East London and see some real child protection issues!

Of course there may be more to it, you wonder if the 'family' is known to social services previously, no mention of where the girl's mother is etc.

mumbar Tue 14-Sep-10 18:46:06

I was a bit hmm and shocked when I read the stroy, but having just realsied 20m is not that far? My DS 6 last months goes around the flats under the arch and through our garden on his bike. Thats only about 20m along the road.

Surely the Dad can see the lttle girl getting off the bus and coming home??

With regards to jumper - I sent DS last week without a coat/ waterproof as was really warm all day - heavens opened at 3.05pm schools out 3.10pm !!! He got wet but survived grin

ivykaty44 Tue 14-Sep-10 18:46:48

Perhaps the council could look at traffic measures to make the road safer and prevent cars overtaking the bus - then anyone useing the bus and having to cross the road would be safer.

I was walking to the park which was quarter of a mile away when I was seven - but it is a bit of a catch 22 - if more chidlren where let out to play it would be safer but until it is safer and more chidlren are out ot paly people keep their children in the house.

at 7 dd1 was alking to school and so where all her mates without parents, that was only back in 1999

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