Travelling to school by train at 11(31 Posts)
I am currently looking at senior schools for DS who is 9. He is in state junior so would be joining private secondary at 11. My choices are very limited if I want to drive him to school but I can't imagine him going by train in 2 years as he is not very streetwise and gets a bit confused and forgetful!
Does anyone's DCs go by train at 11? And how far do they go by themselves?
I mean obviously they carry on using the train after year 7, that was badly phrased!
A large proportion of our year 7 arrive by train (big SE school, pupils from a wide distance). It's really not a big deal but it's a good idea to do a practice journey with your child first and to rehearse various scenarios (what they will do if the trains are cancelled, or they lose their travel pass, for instance). Not only is it good for encouraging independence but it's fun and social for the children on the whole (even if rather less pleasant for the commuters!) Tbh we have more trouble with pupils using buses where there may be no alternative service to their area/village if they miss it or it's cancelled.
If all parents drove their DC in each day it would be a nightmare as traffic would grind to a halt.
It was the way I decided to take it. Huge apologies.
I mean to and from Guildford! My kids btw are at State school, and most kids at state school can't get in if they needto travel far, at least in this area! But some do travel by train, especially to one school, which just happens to cover an area conveniently covered by rail.
On the other hand the Catholic school pupils travel by private coaches.
Yes EVEN state school pupils travel by train.
My ds State Faith school covers a huge catchment due to the diocese. Many travel 20+ miles from City to our town. They tend to meet at the bus/train stations and walk into school en masse.
Lots use the rail line between Haslemere and Guildford (and other points east, west, north, south). If its a major school eg. RGS, then there will be plenty of others in the same uniform to help, and it isn't a very long journey. I know one boy who travels Guildford to Petersfield, and I know there are others. I knew a girl who did Guildford to Reading at 11. Even State school pupils travel by train into Guildford.
Oh, and I was a pretty scatty 11/12/13/(31!) year old so have some very clear memories of leaving important stuff on the train and getting into trouble for losing/forgetting my season ticket. Worth thinking about if that could be a problem for your ds.
My journey varied over the years I did it as the timetable got changed a few times. It was annoying that at times I had to leave early (at 7.15am for 7.28 train) & arrive at school early because the next train was a bit too late. Similarly in the afternoon it was a case of legging it/having a teacher who'd let you run out on the bell to get the early train or waiting around for the 1620 and not getting home til after 5pm.
We're in the process if moving back to the town I grew up in and tbh I really want to avoid my DDs having to commute to school but obv my parents did what they thought was best and overall my time at school was happy so who knows how I would have got on at the local school.
Loads from round here go to RGS / GHS in Guildford at 11 and thoroughly enjoy the trip.
Thanks for your replies. Hopefully in a couple of years he will have 'matured' a bit and be capable of finding his way around and getting on the right train. Doing dummy runs sounds like a good idea
I used to, 25 min train journey, half hour walk to school.
Issues I would consider would be:
How far is the station from the school and what is the route like? - (we only had to cross one road)
Do other children from the school travel the same route, or would he be alone?
Is it a busy station with lots of platforms and departures to lots of different places, or is it a small one platform for each direction place?
I know we sometimes had people at school ending up on the wrong train because they had changed the usual platform, or because they got on a non-stopping train that had the same final destination etc.
How frequent is the service? If he misses the train, will he have to wait an hour for the next one? If I missed my train after school, I had to wait nearly two hours for the next one.(luckily one of my schoolfriends lived close to the station, so I would go round to hers, then her mum would accompany us back to the station if it was winter, because it was dark then).
I see lots of children getting off the train as I am getting on the train, it's not unusual at all.
Ds1 (11) goes to school by train. One direct train, with a number of other pupils, and a minibus shuttle at the destination station up to school. He was quite upset when we talked about moving closer to the school which would mean he wouldn't take the train.
I accompanied him during the summer holidays to give him an idea of the route, and then gave him a few dummy runs (where he didn't know that I would be driving to the destination station to check up on him).
At this age I'm more worried about crossing roads safely than anything train related, but agree that a mobile is invaluable for peace of mind.
The train is the party line around here - my ds who is 11 takes it and my dd1 accompanies my dd2 (who is 7!). It's where all the kids from neighbouring schools meet up and socialise. I'm sure there will be masses of kids using that line at that time. There are a lot of Guildford kids who come down to PGS and Churchers every day.
It's all been fine. He only forgot to get off once, and had to go to the next station and catch one back to us!
I suggest you do the journey yourself at school time one morning and see what it is really like. Time it etc. You could then get him to do some practice journeys eg what happens if train late/delayed.
Just read lenore story - I so agree with her, I let my 10 yo do bits and pieces and most of the mums at the school gate are shocked that he is allowed to go to the shop on his own etc.
perrinelli - I am interested in your experience as that sounds like the journey my ds would have to do.
What time did you leave in the morning, and what time did you get home? Was there a long wait for trains after school?
I went by train to school from 11-18, half hr train journey then 20min walk. Having another girl in the same year to travel with made a big difference and my parents also made contact with parents of older girls doing the journey who looked out for us and showed us the way initially. It was fine and quite social but a very tiring, long day. Few times when there were big issues with cancelled trains etc. but with mobile phones these days I think it would be fine.
DS started on train journeys without us at 11. No regrets.
You should read Lenore Skenazy's story.
DH did, Lots of the private school children here and where I used to live do.
As a postgrad I used to chat to a Y7 who traveled on her own to Grammar school with the commuters. She did have a family friend who kept an eye on her, but there were no other children doing that route.
She was quite happy, except that she had to hang around on the station after her local friends because of our partically hopeless train service.
(Loads of trains fly through, only a tiny no. stop).
Lots of children from our area travel by train to Guildford for school. They seem to enjoy it. Gives the boys' and girls' schools a chance to mix and similar age groups tend to congregate in a given carriage. Sounds quite fun.
I feel scared of DS doing the same too but he might, if we decide to go for that school.
my brothers went by train and tube across london (harrow way to St. Pauls) from when they were about 9 and 10, but they were together.
We are thinking of sending ds to a school 30 minutes away on the train. school is close to the sation, local rural ish line which isn't busy, and there are about 15 other kids on the train doing the same journey. Tbh I haven't been worried about the train per se, but rather that it is a 30 minutes journey plus walk this end and other end and so it feels like a long way. I didn't want him to do a long journey to school.
My DS joined his school at 10 plus. He was 10 when he started catching the train to school. He walks to the station and train then walks or buses at other end.
He started initially going with a boy in the year above him, there are loads of kids from his school that catch the same train each day. They all seem to look out for each other.
Start doing the journey with him over the holidays, letting him take the lead ie telling you which platform to go to letting him take responsibility for getting off at the correct stop.
I'm not sure if others would be going - few maybe? I'm thinking of the line between Guildford and Haslemere. He seems so small at the moment - don't ideally want him walking then train then bus so trying to think of an easy route
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