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to feel patronised?

(78 Posts)
stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 08:47:32

My elder two dc are 6 and 5. Their school is 5 minutes walk from my house. Last week I decided to let them walk themselves to school as a pair. They have very strong road sense, its something thats been instilled in them since they were around 2.5 years old. They regularly cross it to go to their friends house.

Anyways, a few days into them walking by themselves, i got pulled aside and told off by the teacher. Apparently its a school policy that they dont walk themselves until primary 3. Reason...safety. I said I understood it was school policy and so would now walk them again, but that I did feel a little annoyed/patronised that I would let my children do something I didnt think they were responsible/capable of. Also, I have another two DC aged 3 and 18 months. It was a lot less stressful trying to get us all out the door (and yes I have routine, just sometimes it doesnt always work with 4 dc!)

Was IBU to let them walk alone at that age? AIBU to feel a bit patronised?

AnyFucker Tue 06-Sep-11 08:48:49

I think if you felt the teacher was patronising, then that is your experience of it

I do think your children are too young though.

irishbird Tue 06-Sep-11 08:49:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Tue 06-Sep-11 08:51:03

Sorry, but yes. At DD's primary school they wouldn't let a five year old out of the class until a parent/carer came to collect him/her. I think 5 and 6 is too young to go to school unaccompanied.

maristella Tue 06-Sep-11 08:51:39

I do think ages 5 and 6 are too young....

Also the school policy will have been created either to prevent vulnerable children from being out in the streets alone before they are ready, or in response to children being compromised.

stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 08:51:41

I dont think so myself, as I said they have crossed the road many times for their friends house and their friends that are the same age, also cross it. Its not a particularly busy road, they are a pair as in hold hands and cross together. I was walking to school alone when I was 5.

stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 08:52:20

I always picked them up though.

InnocentRedhead Tue 06-Sep-11 08:52:45

Only you know your children. In my eyes 5 & 6 is a little young. However if you feel they are sensible enough then i feel it is ok. As long as rules are in place like they don't talk to anyone they don't know, and that they don't go off the path to school etc.

You don't say how busy the roads are that they have to cross? If it is a main road (which i don't think you would let then across on their own IMO) then yeah that is irresponsible. The case could be the children could be regularly late as you have to sort all 4 of your DC out to get out of the door. Would the teacher appreciate this? More irresponsible to leave the 2 youngest at home too get them to school on time

You are definitely not BU to feel patronised! What will the teacher do if you do not walk them to school?

InnocentRedhead Tue 06-Sep-11 08:53:25

xposted with everyone...

stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 08:55:21

I will walk them to school. Thats the schools policy and even though I may feel personally that my elder two would be fine to walk to school, I want to teach them that policies and rules should really be followed (unless they are completely unreasonable!). God no, I wouldnt let them walk there if it was a main road. Its a road and is fairly quiet.

I normally manage to have them all out and ready. Just on occasion I have slept in and its been totally manic, but thats the joys of having a large family!

WorzselMummage Tue 06-Sep-11 08:55:37

5&6 is to young.

AnyFucker Tue 06-Sep-11 08:55:54

If you choose to have children so close together, and in this number (fair play to you of course...) then you have to accept the morning routine will be a bloody nightmare

The teacher did the right thing. How she did it of course, is your own experience and we were not there.

I do feel sometimes though that feeling "patronised" is misused when really you feel "defensive"

Just a thought

seeker Tue 06-Sep-11 08:56:37

I have never, ever said this before, but yes, I think they are too young. 7 and 8 so long as they get on well is fine. And even possibly a very sensible 6 year old on his own. But not 5 and 6.

stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 08:58:20

No AF, I didnt feel defensive. That would suggest I felt I was doing something wrong.

This teacher is generally a bit of a misery. My elder DC has said a few times, today wasnt a good day mum, teacher was angry with a lot of us. She never seems to enjoy being a teacher (but then....I doubt I would either grin) and seems pretty grumpy most of the time. So yes, she may not have meant to be patronising, but I did feel that way.

Bunbaker Tue 06-Sep-11 08:58:58

"I was walking to school alone when I was 5."

I bet there were fewer cars around then. We all did things that were acceptable 20 or 30 years ago that are frowned on nowadays. I'm sorry, but I don't think the school are being patronising or heavy handed. They simply have your childrens' best interests at heart. Research has shown that children aren't generally road safety aware until after the age of eight years old.

smoggii Tue 06-Sep-11 08:59:11

I don't think you are being unreasonable and i'm not sure a school can have a policy which dictates how you get your children to school (they can have a policy not allowing children of a certain age to leave until they are collected by what they deem to be a responsible person).

You know your children best, you also know your area, how many other people are going the same way at the same time, what the route is. 5 mins can mean lots of things. The junior school my DD will go to is 5 mins away but i would not let her go by herself or with other children of that age because there are several roads and a dark underpass on that route. But when I went to school we lived 5 mins away from my school, down a straight road, with one road to cross just in front of the school which had a crossing. Several kids from my street went the same way at the same time so I went with other children the same age (or a year older/younger) from a very early age, and I would allow my child to.

In any event, the manner of the teacher's approach seems a bit odd, if there wewre concerns the school should have called you to discuss and I think it would have been more appropriate for the head/DH to have discussed it with you if it is a breach of policy. Sounds like it might be that teacher's opinion.

maristella Tue 06-Sep-11 09:01:46

A 6 year old cannot be responsible for a 5 year old's safety, but may feel responsible as the older sibling, and god forbid if anything bad was to happen would have to live with that.

DS walked himself to school from age 9 and we were literally metres away from the school; there was only one road to cross and the lollypop lady was there. I'm sure that if I had had younger children he may have started walking himself a wee bit sooner, but not by much!

AnyFucker Tue 06-Sep-11 09:02:28

No, it won't be the teacher's personal opinion

It will be school policy, and if she witnessed children so young arriving without supervision, she would be impelled to act on it

Having worked in a children's ICU and seen the effects on a young child's body of being hit by a car at even low speeds, this is always going to be a sensitive subject for me

The parents who sit by their childrens hospital bed didn't think anything would happen to their child either...

stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 09:02:57

well its odd how the primary one teacher never said anything to me, just elder dc primary 2 teacher. The primary one teacher, she is absolutely lovely and I feel she does care about the children she teaches very much. I would have imagined if it was a school policy she would have been the first to be pulling me up. I also have the handbook and cant see anything in it (except the picking them up part). I may call the school just to confirm.

Fuzzled Tue 06-Sep-11 09:03:48

I used to walk to school alone, at age 5 across 4 roads (lollipop man/lady at two busy main road crossings, but nothing at the other two). I suspect now that my mum used to follow me to check grin

There was plenty of "School, Slow" signage and no child in my 7 years there was ever hurt.

Part of me thinks we now mollycoddle childen, but I wouldn't let my PFB do it now.

I think the sad thing is that times have changed and people are more often in cars, in a rush and just risk going that little bit faster coz "it was fine yesterday" hmm

I can see the school's point though. Your children may be absolutely fine - your neighbours may not be so a blanket age is easier to enforce.

stayforthekids1 Tue 06-Sep-11 09:04:16

just to make a point here....they are not walking themselves to school any longer. I wasnt asking if they should be allowed to and said I would go along with the school policy.

GypsyMoth Tue 06-Sep-11 09:07:15

School 'policy' cannot dictate what happens outside of school though. How the children arrive is really none if schools business until they are in school grounds

Catslikehats Tue 06-Sep-11 09:11:52

FWIW I don't necessarily think 5 & 6 is too young.

I have two these ages and allow them to walk to the shop/call for friends so I don't think YABU. We are not in the UK though so I am not sure if things would be different there.

I am surprised the school are able to have a policy on this. Surely it is your business how you get your children to school. They can hardly ban it can they hmm

Cheria Tue 06-Sep-11 09:15:04

I can understand the school having a policy on them being picked up by a known adult as legally they are the school's responsibility until they leave the property. But how they get to school is the parents' responsibility. So no, YANBU.

Groovee Tue 06-Sep-11 09:15:08

I know many schools where children aren't allowed to walk home themselves and need to be collected by a parent until Primary 3. My children were primary 4 before they were allowed to walk to or from school themselves. With my 2, they both have a mobile phone to contact one of us in case of anything happening on the way. Many heads emphasise it in their newsletters too.

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