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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!

SleepingStandingUp Mon 25-Feb-19 17:23:36

@VietnameseCrispyFish being able to plan it etc is one thing. We used to do stuff like that for hhomeowkr projects - geography, maths etc. Of course they should be able to write an itinery and book tickets etc.

That's totally different to travelling 170 miles on their own to a place where they know no one and no one is meeting them and expecting at 14 that they will be able to deal with
* cancelled trains - alternative routes with multiple changes, possible hours of waiting in the cold or ending up at a dead end if a train is missed without a card to just shove an expensive taxi or hotel on. Its unlikely a hotel would even take a booking for a 14 yo on their own.
* a terrosit attack or threat. All of the above in top of all the panic of an attack
* losing their wallet / phone / tickets or having them stolen. Yes you can suggest the basic answer of glfinding a police man and telling him but teenage ego and logic aren't always compatible.

Perhaps I'm out of touch and everyone's teens regularly travel around the country alone to spend the day alone. I'll accept that.
I traveled an hour to school across our town from 11 alone and I went to a couple of day schools from the Midlands to Oxford and London at about 16, so travelling alone to an organised meeting point. I moved away to Uni at 18 so I'm not suggesting that kids should be kept in baby reins til they're 18

Mistigri Mon 25-Feb-19 19:05:57

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

My kids have always been allowed to go off in groups during school trips, from early teens. The shocking thing here is not that you were allowed to go off but that a group of normally intelligent 15-16 year olds couldn't find their way or ask for directions.

This debate is very British - in other European countries I don't think anyone would question the ability of a 15 year old to catch a train to a city in the daytime, watch a show and return home in time for bed.

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

For another thing central London is chock full of sign posts and You Are Here maps. They are everywhere.

Jaxhog Mon 25-Feb-19 19:12:25

I recall going up to London with my friend, and no adults, from the age of 11 or 12. It was a 20 minute train ride to get there. We used to ride around on the tube or look at the parks. None of our parents seemd to mind. It WAS a long time ago. Has London got more dodgy in the last 40 years?

If he's a responsible 15 year old, which he sounds like, he should be fine. Might be better if he went with a friend though.

Jaxhog Mon 25-Feb-19 19:14:29

Mind you, I also used to take my little sister to primary school by 2 buses from the age of about 9.

onthenaughtystepagain Tue 26-Feb-19 23:31:31

If the school didn't phone you, your son had gone without your knowledge and got into some difficulty the school would have been pilloried for lack of care. They really can't win!

Ihavealwaysknown Wed 27-Feb-19 00:24:51

School safeguarding lead was having a quiet day 🙄

Sounds as thought OP’s DS was getting all the figures together to show his parents and then getting on with it. I’m pretty sure @onthenaughtystepagain this is one of the (very few) occasions no one would have blamed the school if he had gone. As a teacher you hear a lot of stories about things students are going to do (and never do!)

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