13 year olds taking the train to school in London(39 Posts)
I'm in the middle of a divorce, I have 13 year old twins, a boy and a girl.
I'm currently looking for a house to rent and I found a great property in Notting Hill.
My DCs are due to start new schools in September, although they're not attending the same schools they're both within walking distance of Westminster station.
The house I'm currently looking at is a 20 min walk from Notting Hill Gate Station and then from Notting Hill they can get the train straight to Westminister together, it's 7 stops and then go their separate ways.
They're use to long school journeys, so roughly a 40 min commute won't bother them, but it's the travelling by train every day in central London, that I'm worried about.
Notting Hill Gate and Westminster? It's hardly outlaw country. They'll be fine.
I know it's 7 stops, but I'm still nervous. They'll be going at peak times, so packed trains and when it gets darker, they'll be leaving school after sunset and then their's the walk to and from the station.
Truly, they'll be fine. I used to commute from the end of the Met line to Finchley Road for school. Had to walk to the tube (a good 15 minute walk, no matter the weather or time of day) and then get myself to school. Now I appreciate that this journey never ventured into zone 1 but all was OK. I was also going out with my friends via tube in zone 1 when I was a similar age (though my folks initially only allowed me to travel as far as Harrow on the Hill - oh the glamour!).
Why don't you do a few dry runs with them so they (and therefore you) become comfortable with the journey?
What specifically are you worried about?
1000s of kids get trains to and from school. I'm sure they'll be fine.
Used to do similar when I was at secondary school. From an area not far from Notting Hill. Similar length walk as well. It was fine - busy but fine. And this was when we regularly had bomb threats and stations closed because of the IRA.
Honestly, kids do it all the time. Now live out of London and DS1 travels to school in a completely different area by train. It's just what kids do.
They're 13, nearly all their friends will get the tube to school, they will be fine.
Though I completely understand your anxiety.
OP, loads of secondary school pupils take public transport in London. I know it's a bit nervous making (my DD goes to school in central London), but not only will they be fine, they will learn important skills. They will need to be street smart and navigate the tube system, which they will eventually do with considerable pride. My DD absolutely LOVES helping tourists who are lost, or who can't figure out how to top up their Oystercard. They need to know what to do in the event of a terrorist attack and what to do if they find themselves sitting next to someone who's "weird" (trust your instincts, kiddo). They will become independent and aware. It will be fine.
The only thing I might think about is the "20 minute walk to Notting HIll Tube". That's not a long walk generally, but in the context of daily heavy bags - in all weathers, I might be looking for something a bit more accessible to the tube or bus. It's actually 40 minutes for them, there and back. Also, if they are going to be mugged (sorry, but it's something that might happen and you/they need to be prepared for it) this will happen on the street, most likely, not on public transport.
At 13 I often took the train to London from the home counties and travelled by Tube around London to go to museums and galleries, alone. I'm sure they will be OK.
Okay, I can see I'm being precious and over protective. I think DD will be fine, she likes going out and is pretty independent, whereas DS is a bit of a lost puppy, I can easily imagine him missing his stop or losing his oyster, I'll definelty be doing numerous dry runs, their's no way I can let them go without feeling confident that they absolutely know the route.
They'd be fine from a safety perspective, but commutes are horrible, horrible things that do appear to have significant negative effects on physical and mental health, and I think it would be silly to impose them on children.
Babynamelist - I suspect we went to the same school!
And yes, OP, they'll be absolutely fine. I used to get buses/tubes to school from the age of 11 and even used to walk home over Hampstead Heath on my own (probably not recommended) and never had any trouble.
They'll be fine. I think I'd encourage them to get the bus to the tube. My 3 have all travelled by tube on their own since they were 11, they don't want to go with each other. Go once or twice with them between now & September & talk to them about alternative routes in case of security scares.
Cingo, yeah, I'm a bit worried about the walk but they can take a bus to the station if the weather's awful or their bags are too heavy.
SirFred, commutes are awful but their's not much that can be done about it, renting in Westminister, close to the schools is out of my price range.
That'll be fine. For my DDs their regular commutes were a vital part of their social life (particularly because they were in an all girl school).
Maybe do a practice journey before term starts to boost
your their confidence?
commutes are horrible, horrible things that do appear to have significant negative effects on physical and mental health
Sorry, but this is nonsense. A commute is a commute, it's no big deal. If it was that dreadful, most of the working London population would be seriously ill.
Well they could go to a different school... it's not as if you're trying to maintain an existing school environment, they're new schools you said.
I'd agree that in terms of safety they'd be fine, but commuting is awful. I used to have to catch the train into London at 6.45 and I felt sorry for the schoolchildren on my train! Not quite your situation, though - 40 minutes in total isn't nearly as bad. If they're happy with it, there's no reason not to.
They'll be fine. I went to school in the Barbican centre (outs self) and my year commuted from all over from age 11 - our headmistress sat our parents down at the introductory evening and told them they were expected to teach us to do it independently after the first week of year 7.
If they're the schools I'm thinking of, they won't be the only kids commuting from that area anyway. Honestly - don't worry about it!
Are they going to GC and WC? I doubt there's a 13 yo at either of those schools regularly dropped off, a handful walking and the vast majority travelling in by bus and tube.
I do think commuting is awful, especially on the tube. And the majority of people I see on the tube in the mornings on the occasions I do take it, are really miserable. Everyone at work complains about it too. I don't know a single person happy about getting on the tube at rush hour. So because of that, I wouldn't impose a train commute on a 13 year old. Yes, I took public transport to work in school but it was a bus in a small town, vastly different from the miserable tube at rush hour. I'd speak to them and ask them if they were ok with it. If not, find a different solution.
Some of the schools in Central London run school bus services in from all directions. Do the twins' schools do this?
Half the school children in London travel by tube, at peak times... And usually from the age of 11, yours are 13
What exactly do you think is unsafe about it?
commutes are horrible, horrible things that do appear to have significant negative effects on physical and mental health, and I think it would be silly to impose them on children
What utter bollocks. The chances are that when they grow up and start working they will have to get used to a commute, so a fairly short one now will not do them any harm. I used to view my commute as a time to wind down when I worked in central London. I got on at the start of the District Line, so there were free seats and I could read a newspaper or book while travelling. If I stood at the right point on the platform for the return journey (and you did get to know where) I would also often get a seat to go home too.
OP, they will be fine, though I remember how it felt when I first had to let my then 11 year old DD1 (now 21) travel by public bus to school 15 miles away, having always taken and collected her from primary school. DH and I did a couple of blind runs with her during the school summer holidays, taking the bus although we would normally have driven. It made sure that she knew what to do and where to get off/on etc. She had no problems.
Perhaps doing a couple of blind runs with your twins would help put your mind at ease too?
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