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To expect more from the school

(180 Posts)
TerrysNo3 Mon 06-Mar-17 10:23:44

DS1 is in Y3, one of his friends' parents work full time and the eldest DC (age 12) looks after the other 2 after school each day (ages 8 and 10). The 8 and 10 year old usually cycle home together, its about a mile.

On Friday we were leaving school and I saw the 8yo cycling up the path on his own. I asked who he was with and he explained that his 10yo sibling had already gone home as his club had been cancelled. He then said that the school had phoned his DM and she told them he could cycle home alone. I phoned and confirmed this with the school.

I just couldn't let him go on his own so we walked him home. Aside from the fact I can't believe his parents are happy with this arrangement I am really surprised the school agreed it was OK for an 8yo (who was 8 in the last few weeks) cycle home alone.

AIBU to expect the school to not blindly agree with the parents? Shouldn't this be a safeguarding issue?

Please feel free to tell me if I'm way off the mark. Thanks

Sirzy Mon 06-Mar-17 10:27:08

School spoke to the mother who was happy for that to happen. If they knew he was going straight home to the norma arrangement they obviously felt it was the best option.

TeenAndTween Mon 06-Mar-17 10:29:29

I think the school will know the boys & will probably know how long they have been cycling for.
It also depends on the area - quiet roads / pavements v very busy town with lots of lorries.
I suspect the school didn't blindly agree with the parents but considered the matter and concluded that if the parent was happy then they didn't have a strong case to refuse.

unfortunateevents Mon 06-Mar-17 10:29:56

You're way off the mark.

WhatIsWrongWithMePlease Mon 06-Mar-17 10:30:46

The area I live in has first middle and high school. It's the norm here for year 4s to walk to and from school by themselves. I'm from an area with a 2 tier system and find this shocking and can't imagine letting my kids walk by themselves at that age. So I think YANBU. 8 is definitely too young but I suppose if the parents say it's fine, there's nothing the school can really do.

Trifleorbust Mon 06-Mar-17 10:31:01

It is the parents' decision. The school can't override this and refuse to let him go home. If they are concerned it is a SS referral.

WorraLiberty Mon 06-Mar-17 10:31:14

Look, it's not something you would allow and it's not something I would allow either.

However, you massively overstepped the mark by interfering when both the parent and the school allowed it.

Did you order him to stay where he was while you rang the school and spoke to someone?

I'm surprised the school even confirmed what they did/didn't allow with another child actually.

budgiegirl Mon 06-Mar-17 10:32:14

KS2 children at our local primary are allowed to leave at the end of school without teachers checking if they have been collected by an adult. Quite a few walk or cycle home without supervision. The school had checked with his mother, so they'd done their bit.

That said, I wouldn't like my 8 year old cycling out on their own, but if the mum's happy with it, I guess that's her call.

IamFriedSpam Mon 06-Mar-17 10:32:25

You'll probably get loads of nasty replies but personally I think it's nice that you're concerned about this boy. On the other hand I don't think this arrangement is necessarily terrible. It's nice for kids to have some independence and as long as he's not cycling through busy traffic (which I think would be too dangerous for any 8 year old alone) it's not necessarily too bad an arrangement.

TeenAndTween Mon 06-Mar-17 10:35:26

I completely disagree with Worra . I think it is great that you contacted the school to check they were aware of it. Don't let it stop you doing the same again in similar circumstances.

Kitsandkids Mon 06-Mar-17 10:39:06

I would be a bit annoyed with you if you'd walked my 8 year old home after ringing me and me telling you it was fine for him to go by himself.

The school checked with the mother and the mother confirmed he could go alone. Mother's decision and I think you had no right to overrule it.

That said, we live about that distance from school and there's no way I'd let my 2 (aged 8 and 9) travel alone. But if other parents do that's up to them.

My kids' school lets pupils go home alone from Year 3 as long as they have parents' permission.

WorraLiberty Mon 06-Mar-17 10:39:39

The boy was probably mortified because the OP has made it clear to him, she doesn't agree with his mother's parenting.

How awkward must that journey home have been for the boy? I imagine if it ever happens again, he'll do his best to avoid the OP completely.

Checking with the school was one thing, insisting on walking the boy home because she doesn't agree with his Mum or the school, is quite another.

halcyondays Mon 06-Mar-17 10:43:24

At our school children in P.4, so age 7/8 can leave school on their own with parent's permission. Not many do until they're in P.5 unless they live quite close to school, but it is left to the parents to decide.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 06-Mar-17 10:46:13


The child's PARENT judged the situation to be safe. The school agreed. You were an interfering busybody judging the parent for their decision

lalalalyra Mon 06-Mar-17 10:48:51

It's nice that you checked when you saw something unusual, but it's not your call to make if it's ok or not. If the parent, and the school, are ok with it then it's ok. It's not like he usually travels home with an adult - a 10 year old isn't exactly going to be supervising another child.

If the DM can leave a 12yo, 10yo and 8yo home alone each day then they are obviously sensible kids.

You are way off the mark by assuming that because you wouldn't do it then it's wrong.

GrumpyOldBag Mon 06-Mar-17 10:51:41

Assuming it's not a very busy main road (and you describe it as a path) , an 8 yo cycling a mile home on a journey he's done many times before wouldn't be an issue for me.

AwaywiththePixies27 Mon 06-Mar-17 10:52:18

Look, it's not something you would allow and it's not something I would allow either.

However, you massively overstepped the mark by interfering when both the parent and the school allowed it.

Exactly what worraliberty said. ^^

DS is 8 and in Y3. I'd never let my DS come home on his own at that age because of his AS and his complete lack of danger awareness. I would have let my DD (Y6) but it's an awful area here and wouldn't have felt she was safe.

If the school and the boys Mum was okay with it I'd leave it be. I would have been slightly worried about him yes but I wouldn't have walked him home. That isn't your job.

At the DCs school you have to be in Y5 before they're allowed to walk home on their own and you have to sign a dorm beforehand giving them permission to leave on their own.

AwaywiththePixies27 Mon 06-Mar-17 10:52:31


Notso Mon 06-Mar-17 10:54:25

I totally agree with Worra on this.
Checking the situation is fine, I have done the same with DS1's friend. In my case he was walking home without school or his parents knowing where he was so I was right to check.

Walking him home because you disagree with the answer is just being a busy body. I have had a parent do this to me too and it really pissed me off and spoil our relationship.

NavyandWhite Mon 06-Mar-17 10:56:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JennyOnAPlate Mon 06-Mar-17 10:58:37

It's up to the mother, not the school. As long as the mother has given her permission school haven't done anything wrong.

brasty Mon 06-Mar-17 10:59:10

I think you were interfering here and saying you did not agree with the parent very clearly.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 06-Mar-17 11:00:12

I'm surprised the school even confirmed what they did/didn't allow with another child actually.

The school have massively overstepped the mark discussing the private matters of a child with a random busy-body who phoned. I'm kind of schocked they did, and it is a much higher actual risk, than an 8 year old travelling home alone. Not in the general case of course, but in the cases where a child does have people interested in their movements, discussing them with strangers who phone up is not safe at all.

YABVU. The kid was old enough to tell you what was happening, you did not need to get involved with the school, checking with the kid was good.

ToesInWater Mon 06-Mar-17 11:02:18

Sorry but I would be less than impressed if I had made a call as a parent and another parent made it clear to my child that they thought I was being slack. Did you make him wait while you phoned to confirm with the school that he was telling you the truth but then walked him home anyway? How embarrassing for the poor kid.

RB68 Mon 06-Mar-17 11:03:20

I think given he was used to cycling - was likely to be home alone only for a short period (about an hr) before either 10 or 12 yr old got there after school & Clubs and was happy to do so then not sure where the issue is.

From a safeguarding point of view - people knew where he was he got permission, and he would be alone for a short time.

I think what you did was nice and caring but not necessary and no investigation required.

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