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Would you let your 15 year old go on a day trip to London alone?

(207 Posts)
Comefromaway Sun 24-Feb-19 20:31:02

Just before he broke up for half term I had a phone call from ds’s school. His head of year was very concerned because he’d told a member of staff that he was planning to spend his birthday money going to London on a train to watch a West End show!

I of course made all the right noises, promised to speak to him. Explained that we were actually planning a family West End trip and we go approx once or twice a year. The head of year said he’d told her he’d been in London alone before and they were concerned. I assured her that had never been the case. (Turned our he meant last year when dd and dh went to get sushi, I went to a jacket potato place and he went to Burger King in Leicester Square and we met up 15 mins later outside the Lego shop.

So I spoke to ds and it turns out he was serious. He said yes I was going to tell you. I’ve done the maths worked out how much the train and tube will cost I looked up the price of tickets for the Saturday matinee and I have enough left over for lunch at Bella in Leicester Square at 12.30 before the show starts at 2.30. I was quite impressed to be honest. However I pointed out that pretty much all West End theatres have a no unaccompanied children under 16 policy (and he looks young for his age)

But AIBU to think there are worse things a 15 year old could plan? The school was treating going to London like it was Syria or somewhere!

The upshot is that he is going to post phone his trip until after his 16th birthday next year!

kmc1111 Mon 25-Feb-19 02:50:55

You see a lot of grown adults posting here about going to London like it’s going to be some terrifying, danger ridden ordeal. Maybe ‘the school’ isn’t actually worried and it’s just that his head of year is one of those people who think London is all stabbings and bombs and thieves and so on.

BrizzleMint Mon 25-Feb-19 03:02:56

I think the school probably checked with you just in case he was meeting somebody from online.

Roxyxoxo Mon 25-Feb-19 04:03:55

You know your son best. I was a nervous homebird at 15 so wouldn’t have been safe going on my own at 15; but I have friends who would have been absolutely fine. If you are a bit worried, could you maybe go with him? Not to babysit obviously, but it sounds like he is passionate about the theatre so could be a lovely way to bond and take an interest (which I’m sure you do now anyway!)

hinely Mon 25-Feb-19 04:06:35

Haven't read the thread, but the school told you because if they hadn't and he'd secretly gone and got into trouble then school could've been blamed for knowingly not protecting a minor.

sallievp Mon 25-Feb-19 04:29:24

Your ds sounds lovely sensible and responsible. I would def let him go buy check with the theatre first so make sure under 16s are ok.
Msybe he could agree to call you at set times throughout the day.
Whst a great trip for him!

Littlechocola Mon 25-Feb-19 04:33:50

He sounds great.

BestZebbie Mon 25-Feb-19 04:38:00

I went to London alone at 15 for a day trip (and Berlin with a friend at 16 for a weekend) - I think he'd be fine.

BertrandRussell Mon 25-Feb-19 06:08:53

“I wonder if the school think he's met someone online? Do they think he might be gay?”

Because he likes musical theatre? grin it’s not the Wizard of Oz he’s going to see!

earlyrisingcat Mon 25-Feb-19 06:19:33

@Comefromaway

I was going to be all over this with 'nah he's too young!' But after I read about how he has planned it all and sorted the costings and suchlike, and the fact he is 15 (and sounds like a mature 15,) I'd say yes.

Afternoon show, no overnight stay, sounds grown for his age, why not? smile I went on a trip to London (alone) on a bus from the North West of England, when I was 16, (only a year older!) So yeah it should be OK.

Just make sure he texts you a couple of times during the day with updates/to let you know he's OK, and then texts you when he is safely on the train back home.

It's a worry, but they have to spread their wings eventually. smile

Wait til he's in uni, and he's backpacking across eastern Europe, or South America. Save your freaking out and fretting til then! joking grin a bit

London is a great place to visit, and West End hows are fab! He will have a great time.

Mistigri Mon 25-Feb-19 06:20:44

I think the better question is why wouldn't you let a 15 year old go into a city alone? It's odd that the school got involved but perhaps they were worried about grooming or something.

cauliflowersqueeze Mon 25-Feb-19 06:23:23

Of course school did the right thing by alerting the OP. Schools have to continually cover their arses. Imagine if he went and disappeared, and school knew he was planning to travel nearly 200 miles alone into the capital city from a place where everyone knows everyone. And then they said “oh yes we knew he was planning that but we didn’t think to alert you”. People would be livid. He has already said to people he has been in London alone (they weren’t to know he was only alone for 15 minutes.). Plus at the back of their minds they have the footage from kids like Andrew Gosden who go to London on a trip and are never seen again.

Context is everything. Some kids growing up in London roam around quite happily from the age of about 10/12. For others who don’t know their way about and are not very streetwise it could be more of an issue. It’s up to the OP to decide to what extent she thinks her son is OK.

Certainly as a school, with a 15 year old on a trip, we wouldn’t have them unaccompanied for more than about 45 minutes (“meet back here at xx time”).

HennyPennyHorror Mon 25-Feb-19 06:25:26

It's not quite the same but my DD has been heading into the big city with her mates on the train (an hour away) since she was 14.

We're in Oz...our nearest city is the equivalent of Manchester in size and demographics.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Mon 25-Feb-19 06:29:27

I used to bunk school
Sometimes his age and head to the bright city lights and loiter around Leicester square with my best friend smile

HeyCarrieAnneWhatsYourGame Mon 25-Feb-19 06:31:19

Another Londoner who’s never stopped and thought whether this was okay. I mean, if you don’t go out in London when you live in London, where are you meant to go?!

PregnantSea Mon 25-Feb-19 06:43:46

I find it very odd that the school called you to tell you that. He's talking about going to see a west end show in the middle of the day, having lunch and then coming home... Your DS sounds sensible enough, seeing as how he's already planned the whole thing, why shouldn't he go? Is there a concern that he will be snatched away to join a gang of street rats and have to sing it's a hard knock life for gruel money?

I know it's a cliche but I really do think that we wrap kids in cotton wool these days... I would completely ignore what the staff at the school have said, since it's none of their business, and just make the decision that you think is best.

Snog Mon 25-Feb-19 06:55:34

We are 50mins from London. My dd would go with a friend from the age of 12.
At this age the rule was that she had to be home by 6 or 7pm.

havingtochangeusernameagain Mon 25-Feb-19 08:01:14

Fine at 15. My ds was going to go last year when he was 15 to meet some friends who live in Kent (we are in Hampshire). But it was the other parents who put a stop to it as some of their children were 13/14 so they didn't allow it, even in a group.

I was mildly concerned but DH works in London anyway so if push came to shove and he needed help, ds could have gone to DH's work.

The school's attitude is rather strange. How do they think kids get to school in London?

Cheetahssitonfajitas Mon 25-Feb-19 08:06:26

I used to go once every few months on my own at 15 (maybe even 14?). An hour on the train to waterloo then I'd go to Camden, Kensington market, southbank... I looked a lot younger too. But my mum was super casual, I was really independent (got a flat on my own at 16) it was 25 years ago, and I probably wouldn't let DS do the same!

Pk37 Mon 25-Feb-19 08:15:11

Another Londoner who used to bunk off and spend the day in central with a friend. Think we were 13/14 .
Ds started going on his own from 15 with friends .
It’s really not that bad.
Can’t believe the school took time to phone you about it

HeronLanyon Mon 25-Feb-19 08:23:34

I really have gone from shock and scorn to some understanding.

If a teacher is told by a 15 year old student that they have a well planned trip to London 170 miles away for a day on their own and doesn’t say anything about parent/S knowing about it it’s right for a small alarm bell to ring and be silenced by a quick call.

Sounds like teacher In this case went ott about it but first instinct to call was right I now think.

I’m at the criminal bar and have had to deal with too many cases involving, one way or another, and some of them very tragic, kids who have upped and offed and no one picked up on warning signs etc.

My first reaction was scorn as a Londoner who always had remarkable freedom and independence as a kid here.

zingally Mon 25-Feb-19 08:26:37

I wouldn't have had the confidence at that age, so good for him! He sounds like a sensible lad as well, pricing it all up!

I'm a bit surprised the school phoned you about this, TBH. I also work in a school, and I'm all for safeguarding, but this seems excessive. Honestly, a matinee west end show and a lunch are hardly dangerous territory. I mean, he'll be safely ensconced in a theatre seat for most of his day out!

flumpybear Mon 25-Feb-19 08:28:50

When I was at school we went by school coach to see a west end show. We got there really early so our stupid teacher said 'go have a look around for 45 mins and come back

Our group of four got completely lost ... we were 15-16 at the time - stupid bloody woman!

No I wouldn't let a child walk around London alone there are too many risks

CherryPavlova Mon 25-Feb-19 08:30:38

Odd to want to go on his own.
Odd for school to show any concern at all unless he has wider social problems.
Certainly odd for school to contact you.

A fifteen year old going to a city isn’t exactly pioneering stuff.

highheelsandbobblehats Mon 25-Feb-19 08:31:20

I grew up in London. I was going into the centre at 11. London can seem scary if you're not used to it. Surprised the school rang you, but if they're in the 'scary big city' camp, it will seem like a big deal to them.

My best friends are all country bumpkins (by their own admission) and even in their 30s are nervous about London and the Tube.

BertrandRussell Mon 25-Feb-19 08:31:48

Why on earth is it odd to want to go on his own?

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 08:37:20

But after I read about how he has planned it all and sorted the costings and suchlike, and the fact he is 15

Sorry, but this whole scenario has got the possibility of grooming stamped all over it.

How do we know that someone else hasn't planned the trip for him - a 30 year old man posing as a 15 year boy online? And yes, I did think it was possible he was planning to meet another boy (who wasn't who he was pretending to be) - because he likes musical theatre and wants to travel 170 miles on his own to watch a West End Show...
And he hadn't yet told his parents what he was planning to do.

Why does he want to eat in Bella Pasta on his own rather than grab a burger? I would be worried he was planning to meet someone.

Why does the op say she has full access to his social media account if he's so sensible for his age?

Noalarmsandnosurprises Mon 25-Feb-19 08:37:55

It’s safeguarding gone nuts isn’t it.

Itscoldouthere Mon 25-Feb-19 08:48:06

That’s just weird, the buses and tube is full of children getting to school all across london on their own from 11 years old and many travel a long way (to private and grammar schools).
Many also regularly go into Central London, Camden Market etc etc it’s just what you do when you grow up in London.
Obviously if your aren’t as familiar with London with it it’s going to be a bit more of a challenge but at 15 I would expect most to be fine.
Well done him on having a plan. Perhaps he could go with a friend.

IchWill Mon 25-Feb-19 09:21:57

I guess it really depends on your own judgement as to his common sense, navigation abilities and maturity.

I live an hour from London and used to save up my paper round and baby sitting money to go to Camden with a friend from my class, at aged 14 / 15. But I was always known to be sensible and mature, an example of that, I was babysitting a 3-week old baby at 14 (crazy eh?!). So yeah, London wasn't a big deal, although I doubt I was have been allowed to go alone, bearing in mind this was before mobile phones.

You should be proud that you've got such an independent and confident DS BTW. 😊

IchWill Mon 25-Feb-19 09:23:25

@Clavinova Oooh. You make some good points there. It could be innocent, but you're right, there could be more too this and OP should do some more dogging.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 09:23:32

I think the better question is why wouldn't you let a 15 year old go into a city alone? it isn't A city though, its a city 170 mes away and OP has said herself he's quite young headed.
I suspect the Mum doesn't know and he's meeting someone off the Internet has gone through their heads.

Another Londoner who’s never stopped and thought whether this was okay. I mean, if you don’t go out in London when you live in London, where are you meant to go?! well yes, but London ISN'T his nearest city as he lived in the North West 170 miles away

IchWill Mon 25-Feb-19 09:24:09

*Digging.

Not dogging. Now there's a typo to behold. 😂

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 09:25:59

OP might wanna do dogging but I don't think it's gonna help uncover this particular plot.

Given he's given the idea up so easily, hopefully it was just something he thought would be fun. Nothing wrong with going to the theatre alone but it does sound like half a date and that would worry me

MumUnderTheMoon Mon 25-Feb-19 09:31:32

It depends on the child really. How far are you away from London? Also as your son has done the trip before and if you consider him to be mature enough I don't see what business it is of the schools.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 09:40:14

Why does he want to eat in Bella Pasta on his own rather than grab a burger? I would be worried he was planning to meet someone.

Because he doesn’t like burgers although he does like chicken nuggets from Burger King. But calling to BK at Euston to grab tea is what we always do before getting the train sohe wouldn’t go there twice in one day

On the numerous occasions we’ve been to see a show on his own we always go to an Italian on Leicester Square. I have steak, Dd has pasta & Ds has pizza. His Dad took him to the Bella on Leicester Square last time they went together.

Tiredmum100 Mon 25-Feb-19 09:40:53

I think he sounds very sensible! But yes maybe wait until hes 16 so he can get into the performance without issue. We went on a school trip to London, I was in year 9 and we were left to do what we wanted with my friends big sister who was in year 11. I also went to Paris (disneyland) for 3 nights for my 16th birthday with my boyfriend on our own with a local coach trip tour that was back in 1999 though.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 09:43:05

He took his girlfriend to the theatre locally a couple of weeks ago. She’d never been to see a professional show and a friend of dh’s was playing the lead role so we went as a family and he and his girlfriend then went again.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 09:44:47

Why does the op say she has full access to his social media account if he's so sensible for his age?

I still have access to dd’s although now she is 17 and living away from home to attend college I never look at hers.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 09:47:48

He took his girlfriend to the theatre locally a couple of weeks ago

Odd that you didn't mention her before.
Doesn't he mind you looking at his social media account when he has a girlfriend?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 09:54:34

Why would I have needed to mention her?

I’ve aleays had the rule from when they had their first smart phone that I had full access. It was advised by his previous school in a parent’s internet safety talk they held for all year 7 parents.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 09:56:32

Why would I have needed to mention her? because it makes it much less likely he's being groomed to meet a "25 year old girl" who is actually an adult looking for children to abuse.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 09:56:53

*15

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 09:57:31

My previous post should read on the numerous occasions we’ve been to see a show as a family we always go to anItalian in Leicester Square.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 10:00:10

Why would I have needed to mention her?

I think you mentioned earlier that his friends couldn't afford to go with him.

It was advised by his previous school in a parent’s internet safety talk they held for all year 7 parents

But you think it's odd that his current school have contacted you now?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 10:03:27

Yes I mentioned his friends. He has two groups of friends, a group from school, mostly girls including his girlfriend (her mum apparently doesn’t know they are going out) not that I believe that although they do mostly go places as a group and also a smaller group of friends, boys and girls from his theatre group.

MiGi777 Mon 25-Feb-19 10:08:48

Am I missing something? I don't understand what it has to do with the school and why they would call you about this? Something isn't right here.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 10:09:18

He has two groups of friends, a group from school, mostly girls

I can understand why the school might be worried he was planning to meet a stranger on his own - 170 miles away in London.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 10:18:41

As family this is a history of our London visits

Feb 2019 - 1 night stay - Come From Away
Dec 2018 - day trip - 42nd Street
Aug 2018 - 2 night stay - Jamie & Dreamgirls
Feb 2018 - 2 night stay- Hamilton & Phantom
Aug 2017 - 2 night stay - American in Paris & Kinky Boots
Sept 2016 - 1 night stay - Wembley Cup
Aug 2014- 2 night stay Charlie & Choc & Billy Elliot
Aug 2013 - stayed outside London - museum visit
Aug 2012 - 2 night stay - Railway Chidren & Les Mis
Aug 2012 - 2 night stay Mamma Mia

NoCauseRebel Mon 25-Feb-19 10:22:40

There are IMO two issues here.

I live just outside London and my sixteen year old regularly travels into the city and often alone. I don’t have an issue with this, but you do have to be streetwise. He was very recently almost mugged by two men claiming to be homeless who tried to grab him and make him go with them. Fortunately the owner of a nearby shop intervened and I reported the incident to the police but a child not used to travelling around the city alone could easily have been unsettled by that.

My other concern however would be that the school felt the need to call you as they clearly have concerns. And IMO the concern isn’t so much that he was planning to London but the fact that you were unaware of this plan. Why is that? Why has your DS not communicated to you what he was planning to do and when until he was confronted with the fact through a phone call from the school. That would concern me more than the fact he wanted to go tbh. And pricing up the tickets is fine but again he hasn’t taken account of the fact that he won’t be allowed into the theatre under the age of sixteen.

I wonder whether he has actually been embellishing what he’s doing at school in order to make him look different to how he is perceived, and I would be wondering about that. ESP given he’s given up the idea so readily iyswim.

Re access to social media, there is obviously a vast difference to being able to access a child’s social media and accessing it. I have access to my sixteen year old’s social media should I ever want it. Don’t though, so it’s not an issue.....

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 10:23:38

As family this is a history of our London visits

But the school don't know any of this - and they care about your son's welfare - so they phoned you.

Why don't you offer to pay for your ds to take a friend with him as a birthday treat? The girlfriend would be a problem if her parents don't know she has a boyfriend.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 10:28:55

I think he had only come up with the plan that day.

He had birthday & Christmas money which he was going to spend on a musical instrument. A couple of days before the MD of his theatre group offered to give him an instrument they had spare to start him off.

He’s wanted to see BoM for years. First I said he was too young. Then he went and bought the playscript from Foyles and last summer an ex cast member did a dance workshop. He’s since taught himself the tap routine from the show from YouTube.

He knows we won’t take him to seeit in London because Dh and I already saw it and we have the tour booked.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 10:41:39

Why don't you offer to pay for your ds to take a friend with him as a birthday treat?

At almost £90 per ticket that ain’t happening I’m afraid.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 10:52:23

He's certainly matured in the last year - from the Lego Shop to The Book of Mormon. grin

theemmadilemma Mon 25-Feb-19 10:53:56

I regularly traveled into London alone from SE (around an 1 hour or so) from 14 onwards.

He sounds smart and sensible.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 10:55:28

We still always visit the Lego shop. He has quite a Star Wars Lego collection including a highly coveted Death Star. I don't think you ever really grow out of Lego.

Then a trip to Foyles, Musicroom.com and the Yamaha instrument shops are a must.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 11:00:07

He's certainly matured in the last year - from the Lego Shop to The Book of Mormon because no adults like lego?? Who do yo u think is doing those massive 4 billion piece ones that cost hundreds??

millythepink Mon 25-Feb-19 11:00:50

Don't have a problem with 15 yr old DD catching train to London but it's something she does with friends. Recently she was planning a trip to Paris, had researched the trains, found a decent AirBnB, figured out the Metro. But in the end I had to say no, but have agreed she can go when she is 16. I'm so pleased she is so intrepid and resourceful because I so wasn't at her age.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:02:32

Most the people in there are adults/tourists taking pictures of themselves sitting on the lego tube train or by that fantastic light up plan of London on the stair wall.

DolorestheNewt Mon 25-Feb-19 11:05:30

Well done, OP, you raised a sensible one. My DS, same age as yours, would never think through the pricing and timetable in the same way as yours.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:10:58

My dc still like Lego (although ds1 is probably just amusing ds2) - and they play musical instruments (hence the user name) - but they wouldn't be going to see The Book of Mormon 170 miles away on their own at just 15.

And you've still no idea why the school contacted you??

At least he wasn't planning to see The Full Monty.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:12:19

He's certainly matured in the last year - from the Lego Shop to The Book of Mormon

It was a joke!

waterrat Mon 25-Feb-19 11:14:16

honestly I am truly worried for the state of this world if adults think a 15 year old can't do a day trip on their own. sweet jesus - as everyone here says - London is full of 15 year olds who live there ! I went to secondary school in central London and managed to travel unaided around London from age 11! I think at the age of about 12 I was going into town - central London - to go shopping at weekends with friends.

When I was 15 I went to Glastonbury on my own ! as did many of my friends - there were no mobile phones either!

This is why people have mental breakdowns when they go to university.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:15:02

SleepingStandingUp
You obviously don't know much about the Book of Mormon - the op was too embarrassed to tell us what show he was going to see at first.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:17:35

there were no mobile phones either!

Indeed - you couldn't arrange to meet up with strangers online.

dairymilkmonster Mon 25-Feb-19 11:18:41

Depends where you live, but I used to occasionally go to london by train from bath with a friend from age 15. To museums, theatre. Late 1990s. I was sensible and boringly responsible.
Think probably an over reaction by school.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:20:33

Like this poor 14 year old boy;

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/online-grooming-film-murder-victim-breck-bednar-schools-essex-a8544536.html

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 11:24:37

You obviously don't know much about the Book of Mormon actually very true. I only meant that the Lego Shop is hardly for kids only, lots of adults adore Lego

outpinked Mon 25-Feb-19 11:25:27

My Dad moved to london when I was 8 so I split my time between Yorkshire and London growing up. I spent a fair few days out alone from about 14. It’s not a scary place really, if he’s comfortable navigating his way around then I can’t see an issue and can’t see why this would be a concern to the school either.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 11:28:59

London is full of 15 year olds who live there your point being what? It isn't that LONDON is inappropriate, it's that it's 170 miles away.

I'd let DS go to Birmingham at thst age but I wouldn't let him go to Glasgow or London.

Given that OP didn't say he had a gf, there's a chance he had arranged to meet someone off the Internet who MIGHT be a 15 Yr old girl or boy or who might have been 30 and looking for a kid to abuse. It isn't unreasonable to consider thst or to acknowledge tbat I'd have found it much harder to be groomed by a stranger back in 1996 than you would today

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:30:28

Depends where you live, but I used to occasionally go to london by train from bath with a friend from age 15.

Why do posters keep giving anecdotes about travelling with friends?

This boy planed to go on his own - 170 miles away - with a somewhat unusual itinerary - and his parents knew nothing about it when the school phoned.

My ds1 has been travelling into London during the day since the age of 14 - with friends.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:32:20

My ds1 has been travelling into London during the day since the age of 14 - with friends.
And he still involves me with the arrangements aged 16 now.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:33:36

I realise I have given my own anecdote before someone mentions it. smile

domton Mon 25-Feb-19 11:39:08

Doesn't it depend? Where I live, young people hardly ever use public transport because it's apalling. Most will have been to smallish towns, possibly a few cities for day trips with friends and family etc. Hardly any of the 15 year old I know would be able too navigate the tube etc., simply because it's not in their experience. The amount of people alone would be a shock! My nephew is 12, 13 this year and like most of his mates had only been on a train a few times, and it would take a bus and a train to get to the nearest city. Kids in London may use the tube at this age, but there's no way at all him or his mates would manage to get to the city. No way at all.

If however your 15 year old has been off and on buses etc for years, is used to large crowded cities then why not?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:40:37

I was not embarrased about the Book of Mormon. I answered a previous poster's question with a pun (Gander/Uganda) which my username also refers to.

I am very aware of the Breck Bednar case. I saw a documentary a few years ago. It involved online gaming and secrecy and a boy who had sophisitcated computer equipment in his bedroom away from family areas.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:52:07

You also said, Hmm - well let’s just say that his choice of show is not the most appropriate

Perhaps your son's teachers also thought the show wasn't the most appropriate.

It involved online gaming and secrecy and a boy who had sophisticated computer equipment in his bedroom away from family areas

How would your son's teachers know what computer set-up he has at home?

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 11:55:21

I think I did much worse at 15. We went to see Green Day at Wembley Arena, missed the last train home (back to Richmond, where my friend's dad was due to pick us up), ended up getting multiple night buses across London via Hammersmith, a little tipsy from contraband vodka in a 2L coke bottle, and finally got picked up in Kingston by said friend's dad at something like 2am. I don't think I told my mum until about 10 years later.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:56:18

I am glad that the school cared to give a heads up. But when I said that we regularly as a family travel to London the attitude was very much well he is very lucky (priveleged) to be able to do that. I don;t thinnk many people from there travel much outside our county.

I am absolutely convinced that he was going to tell me. As soon as I spoke to him (as soon as school eneded that day) he was not ata ll perturbed about me knowing, he showed me his Excel spreadsheet of costs and his itinery for the day.

Abra1de Mon 25-Feb-19 11:56:28

Often let my two do this at 15.

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:24

he showed me his Excel spreadsheet of costs and his itinery for the day

He does sound a little odd doesn't he.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:30

This thread is getting more bonkers by the minute.

Though I am laughing at the people who don’t bother even reading the OP’s posts then asking daft questions or treating her like she’s completely stupid.

...all very odd, but amusing.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:35

As for out computer set up at home. Well we have our garage converted into a music room (dh is a musician/teacher) with a Mac, 2 keyboards, guitar and Logic and Mainstage set up on the computer. Ds also has an ipad Mini with various music programmes.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 11:59:58

Odd, quirky, whatever.

he is hypermobile and has handwriting issues so he does everything onhis computer whereas I'd write it all out on an A4 sheet of paper.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 25-Feb-19 12:01:55

Clarinova. That’s REALY rude. Why be so nasty about a child?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 12:02:07

The moment I told him of the theatre age policy he was dispointed but didn't try and come up wioth any alternative etc. Which also points towards the theatre show being the main focus of his day.

(If anyone was at Tottenham Court Road tube over the weekend bythe way ds was the kid playing Madness & Hamilton on the public access piano)

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 12:04:43

Aww, bless him. If it wasn't a) a bit weird and b) I was more frequently in London, I'd offer to take him for you. Love the BoM, it's brilliant (and definitely right up the street for 15yo boy humour!).

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:06:21

As for out computer set up at home
Sounds impressive - yet your ds' teachers don't know who he's talking to online.

Odd, quirky, whatever.
Which is probably why the school contacted you - do they think he's a little socially unaware for his age?

VietnameseCrispyFish Mon 25-Feb-19 12:08:07

I’d be concerned if a kid made it to that age without being able to do that tbh! Wtf school?

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:09:59

Why be so nasty about a child?

I'm not being nasty.
And why is a child planning to see The Book of Mormon by himself - 170 miles away.

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 12:13:28

If they go down to London a lot, @Clavinova, then London probably doesn't feel like 'far' - it's just normal. Plus, once you're on the train, there's not a huge amount that can happen. a train is a train...doesn't really matter how long the distance or time is. And if he really loves musical theatre, then London is the obvious place to want to go. I think it's a bit of a shame he was going on his own, but if none of his mates could afford to go with him, then it probably seemed logical. Plus, it's an adventure, and teenagers like a bit of adventure. I used to travel backwards and forwards between the UK and Bermuda to see my dad in school holidays at that age (and slightly younger, actually) on my own, and felt ever so grown up doing it.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 12:13:43

I answered that one ages ago.

He was planning on seeing it by himself becasue he knows that dh and I have already seen it so we won't go again to the London production as its a lot of money and there are umpteen other shows we want to see.

He has now found a friend from his theratre group who also wants to see the show so they are planning a trip in July 2020 (post GCSE's) as it gives his friend time to save and they will both be the correct age for the theatre.

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 12:15:09

Anyway folks I;m at work so had better sign off.

Hasa Diga Eebowi

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:23:20

He has now found a friend from his theatre group who also wants to see the show so they are planning a trip in July 2020 (post GCSE's) as it gives his friend time to save and they will both be the correct age for the theatre.

"Well, that's pretty neat!" wink

Clavinova Mon 25-Feb-19 12:25:44

I used to travel backwards and forwards between the UK and Bermuda to see my dad in school holidays at that age

I expect your dad knew you were coming - or did you surprise him? grin.

I have to sign off now as well.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 12:38:43

Abra1de
Often let my two do this at 15
Well there's two of them as a start. How far from London are you?

I’d be concerned if a kid made it to that age without being able to do that tbh! I don't think most 14 yo's travel 170 miles across country in their own to meet no one at the other end. Even if they wanted to, many kids simply wouldn't have the funds to do so - day return from say Liverpool to Manchester plus food let alone theatre ticket. Implying that a child is someone behind the curve of lacking because they aren't financially able to do this is ridiculous, as is the other assertions that kids who aren't regularly traveling cross country will struggle later in life!

I certainly never did it at those ages and went off to uni at 18, on holiday alone at the end of Uni and up and down the country travelling for volunteer work on my own ever since.

flyingplum Mon 25-Feb-19 12:38:45

heh heh - no, he knew smile my grandma used to drop me at the airport and then I would do the rest on my own (and he'd pick me up the other end). The first time I did it, i did it as an unaccompanied minor, but airlines only insist on this if you're under 13, so after I'd done it once, i insisted I be allowed to do it on my own. A lot of my contemporaries from primary school in Bda were doing that for school, so i didn't want to be the only one that was being babied!

and yes, I guess it's the fact that OP's son hadn't told her that would be the worrying thing, and I think it's good on that basis that the school flagged it. But she seems fairly certain that he was going to tell her before he went, and she knows him best.

ineedtostopbeingsolazy Mon 25-Feb-19 14:07:24

I grew up in London and went out on my own practically every day at 15 and younger , but I wouldn't like my dc to walk around London on their own, no idea why because if we lived there that's what they'd be doing.

VietnameseCrispyFish Mon 25-Feb-19 14:20:36

don't think most 14 yo's travel 170 miles across country in their own to meet no one at the other end. Even if they wanted to, many kids simply wouldn't have the funds to do so - day return from say Liverpool to Manchester plus food let alone theatre ticket. Implying that a child is someone behind the curve of lacking because they aren't financially able to do this is ridiculous, as is the other assertions that kids who aren't regularly traveling cross country will struggle later in life!

Yes, but being unable to due to not affording it doesn’t mean they’re incapable, does it? If a kid lacks the necessary skills to be able to book a train or coach ticket to an event, get there, stay alive and get back again when they’re a year away from leaving secondary school i’d say that is certainly behind the curve and a bit concerning/maybe indicative of something else going on (MH issues such as anxiety for example would make that tough for some kids).

I’m only in my early thirties but at 15 pretty much every friend I knew had done stuff like this, I certainly was going off to gigs in other cities on my own from 13, sometimes meeting up with friends while there but sometimes not. And we weren’t in a wealthy area before you bring that in. If a fifteen year old was given a bit of cash as a gift or saved up from pocket money or paper rounds and it wasn’t within their skill set to be able to do something like this that’d be really odd at 15. And for the kids who could never afford that, if they were incapable of booking a travel ticket and going a few towns or cities over for something that meant a lot to them it’d be strange, but not having the funds doesn’t mean they’d be unable to.

Justanotheruser01 Mon 25-Feb-19 16:14:23

One thing came to mind here - are you sure hes not planning on meeting somebody?

AnnaComnena Mon 25-Feb-19 16:34:26

When I was at school we went by school coach to see a west end show. We got there really early so our stupid teacher said 'go have a look around for 45 mins and come back

Our group of four got completely lost ... we were 15-16 at the time - stupid bloody woman!

Why is it stupid to assume that a group of 15/16 yos is capable of asking for directions if they get lost? Or indeed, capable of not getting lost in the first place?

Comefromaway Mon 25-Feb-19 16:59:18

I would expect to be given an area to be confined to eg Covent Garden but I wouldn’t expect a group of 15-16 year olds to get totally lost.

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