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Child going home from school

(39 Posts)
TwinkieTwinkle Thu 05-Feb-15 23:14:40

I took my son (8) to the park after school today (30 seconds away from the school). DS was happy playing with his friends. I was sitting with all the parents of the children, apart from one. I assumed she was sitting in her car as she sometimes does that at pickup time. When we all left the park the boy, who's mother wasn't there, told me he was walking home. His walk is a 25 minute (minimum) walk. That is including a cycle path, several busy roads and a dark park. He then changed his mind and decided he was getting a tram home because he 'couldn't be bothered walking'. He proceeded to explain he had got a tram several times to and from school but had never paid because, although he had the money, his mother had never shown him how to use the ticket machines. Not knowing what to do, I walked the boy to the ticket machine, showed him how to get his ticket, made sure he knew EXACTLY where to get off and waited to check he got on it ok. AIBU to think that this is something I should possibly be mentioning to the school? (Before anyone asks, I know the mother's situation: she doesn't work and has plenty of time to pick up her child)

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Thu 05-Feb-15 23:48:12

Yeah, I would. Why isn't she picking him up? I'm all for giving children age appropriate responsibility when it's safe to, but it's quite a long walk and she either hasn't shown him how to use the teams properly or he hadn't listened/doesn't understand. Either way, he doesn't sound very safe, hanging about parks alone and chatting with adults.

Why is she in the car when he's in the park sometimes? Why isn't she with him then? hmm

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Thu 05-Feb-15 23:49:34

Trams, not teams.

Ugh I need sleep, I think.

TwinkieTwinkle Thu 05-Feb-15 23:57:47

I honestly don't know. I find it all so bizarre. I don't want to cause an issue or be seen as nosey, but I honestly felt so uneasy and worried. I asked him whether his mum knew he was going to the park after school and he said he had text her to let her know. The kid knows how to text but not how to get himself on the tram home...

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Fri 06-Feb-15 00:11:59

Well, if there's nothing wrong with the set up then there's nothing wrong with telling school then is there? I think you'll feel more comfortable when you have. It could be fine, it could be a poor judgement call by a generally good parent or it could be neglect. Does he look clean, well kept, well fed?

TooHasty Fri 06-Feb-15 01:28:48

what year is the boy in? I think a twenty minute walk for a y6 is fine . not sure you should have put someone else s child on the tram when they are supposed to be walking though

TooHasty Fri 06-Feb-15 01:31:20

and why is the park dark? what time do they finish school?

TwinkieTwinkle Fri 06-Feb-15 08:38:29

I didn't put him on the tram, his mum gives him money for it. He walks or takes the tram.

TooHasty Fri 06-Feb-15 08:56:17

Ah ok.I am not sure why you think this arrangement is somehow neglectful? How old is this boy?

Quitelikely Fri 06-Feb-15 09:01:07

If he is only eight I think that the walk is risky but if the tram is right near the school then not so risky.

Yes it's a little disappointing that he's on his own but such is life.

I would still report. Ask to remain anonymous.

TheRealMaryMillington Fri 06-Feb-15 09:06:39

Only a generation ago, or less people were walking miles each way to school and back unaccompanied.

It's a tragedy that in this day of mollycoddled emperor children (I know all about them I have three wink) walking home from school, or getting the tram should be considered risky or neglectful.

The school must be ok with it, or they wouldn't just send him off on his own.

madwomanacrosstheroad Fri 06-Feb-15 09:08:46

It really depends. My daughter, nearly nine, often walks home (20 min walk). There is one busy road to cross, but there is a lollipop lady. She usually walks with a group of other children. On a couple of occasions she was late and I went out looking for her (they got delayed playing).
If there was a tram I might consider it once she knows how to use it.
HOWEVER in your case scenario I would be quite concerned. The child is going to the park to play for whatever time other children go so the parent has no way of knowing when he should be home. What if something happened? When would anyone know and raise the alarm? Has he a mobile? Does he update his carer of where he is when.
I think I would speak to the school.

TooHasty Fri 06-Feb-15 09:16:30

That is interesting MaryM I was just reading something the other day about a 5 yr child in the mid 1800s being sent with a push chair to collect their younger sibling who was being discharged from hospital.This journey took them across the city centre in days when there were no pavements and the streets were full of horse drawn vehicles.The matron at the hospital was a bit cross, not because of the safety of the children, but because she wanted to give the mother some instructions about care of teh discharged child.
My grandmother at 5 in the early 1900s used to walk herself 3 miles to school, back home for lunch (I think they had 2 hours though) and then there and back in the afternoon in all weathers.
We forget what children are capable of if only they are allowed to be!

QueenFuri Fri 06-Feb-15 09:19:44

My 8 year old has had to walk to and from school on his own this week as DS2 is off nursery with a cold and impetigo. I dont have anyone to sit with DS2 to take him to school. He is fine going on his own has 2 roads to cross. Could this boys mum be stuck at home with a sick child? Kids like not tell people the full story! I was going to school at 6 on my own same route/school as DS.

MrsTawdry Fri 06-Feb-15 09:22:19

It's sad in one way that children aren't allowed much freedom today but not in another. I walked to school alone in the 70s aged 5 every day...I did this for my whole school career and the times I was flashed at, abused verbally and pushed about by older kids were innumerable.

In our fantasies, the days of children roaming the streets can take on a romantic haze that's not really the truth of the matter.

Nomama Fri 06-Feb-15 09:28:03

And to balance that... I walked to and from with no adults form the age of 5. From 7 I walked my younger sister to and fro with no adult in the house when we left or came home. We did this form 5 - 16 and were never accosted, flashed, pushed or shouted at - though I did get bitten by a dog once.

We lived in both highly urban areas and really remote rural areas and never had any problems. So the romantic haze of children roaming the streets was the reality for us!

TurnOverTheTv Fri 06-Feb-15 09:28:13

Is he even allowed to leave school by himself? Ours aren't allowed to leave by themselves until year 6, unless there is an arrangment in place with the school

TheRealMaryMillington Fri 06-Feb-15 09:42:17

I am not just looking back with rose-tinted nostalgia. I got myself to and from school from age 7. DH cycled across a major city from age 8. It was the norm and really it was fine. As it would be now. I don't like the idea that young people should be supervised and policed all the time,

Unless there are other major red flags about how this kid is cared for, there is no need for handwringing about a kid walking 20 odd mins and stopping off at the park for a play with his mates.

lljkk Fri 06-Feb-15 09:58:19

How old is the boy who is going back & forth alone?
Agree his parent should have shown him how to use tram machine. That's the only part that rings bad bells for me, if they overlooked that what else did they overlook?
Then again, Ellen McArthur bought her first sailboat from unspent dinner money. I wonder if her parents knew.

missingmumxox Fri 06-Feb-15 10:02:40

She should have made sure he knew who to get a ticket but otherwise he knows what he is doing.
Walking is not always as dangerous as we think it is with busy roads, towns are covered with alleyways underpasses and pedestrian bridges if more children walked then he would have someone to go with,

vdbfamily Fri 06-Feb-15 10:06:38

I personally think that it is fine for him to be independent and he obviously has a system that he texts her if he is going to be late but I do think it is bad that she has not shown him/been with him on the tram at least once. Maybe she did and he has forgotten. Kids at our school are allowed to go home independently once in KS2, year 3, aged 7/8. I had a ridiculous situation when my youngest was in KS1 as I had 3 kids at primary age and they all cycled/scooted to school together. I asked if it was okay for my oldest daughter to take responsibility for the youngest but this was not allowed so they would all set off for school on their bikes and I would arrive at school 10 minutes after them,check their bikes were all there lined up and then walk home again!!

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 06-Feb-15 10:09:15

Its a bit sad he wasn't shown how to work the ticket machine.

I don't have an issue per we with an 8 year old making their way home from school but if it were my child I would have ensured they knew how to manage public transport. There is no real harming n mentioning it to the school of you are concerned.

Ds2 walked to and from school from 8. Mostly with ds1 but not always. Their walk was between 15-20 minutes with a few roads to cross, none terribly challenging. He was the only one in his year to walk without a parent until this year (year 6). I have had my moments of feeling like a neglectful parent but he has always enjoyed the independence and he is very responsible and sensible.

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Fri 06-Feb-15 10:12:05

I suppose I'm looking at it from the perspective of my 7.5 year old ds who is in NO WAY ready to go anywhere alone, and it's not just me being overprotective. We have a reasonably long walk to school and need to cross two busy roads. 1) he'd be terrified the whole time 2) he can't be trusted to cross roads, doesn't look 3) he'll talk to anyone, trusts everyone. I can't see him being ready for that kind of responsibility until the end of primary.

I know some kids are sensible, I hope this boy is, and I hope it isn't neglect.

TwinkieTwinkle Fri 06-Feb-15 10:13:56

It was the ticket machine bit that got to me. I saw him get dropped off this morning so perhaps it's just an occasional thing. I don't want to be a busybody, hence asking for opinions. Thank you! (for those asking, the boy is 8)

UniS Fri 06-Feb-15 10:15:15

The tram ticket machine thing sounds to me like he is choseing to keep the tram fare and feign ignorance.... Nice trick while you look young enough.

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