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How far do you travel for your independent school?

(15 Posts)
doradoo Tue 19-Feb-13 10:09:06

Bit of back story here - we live overseas and have recently switch our DSs from one International school - about 5km/10mins away to another school which is 20km/30mins away. We had to switch schools for a variety of reasons and are happy we did so.

Well, we are looking to buy a property out here and have seen a couple of things which are great for DH work but 20-25km away from school. Am I crazy to be thinking of settling so far away or is a 30min school run (one way) normal in terms of the independent sector?

At the moment it works OK as we carpool with another family - but nor sure if that would work if we moved to this other area.

Your views and experiences please!

Ladymuck Tue 19-Feb-13 10:53:53

How old are the dss? Are there no public transport/school bus links at all? A 30 minute journey isn't unusual at all at senior school level, but being ferried by car is!

Ds1 takes the train to his senior school which is approx 9km away, but there are school coaches which go out much further.

doradoo Tue 19-Feb-13 10:57:41

They're 8 and 6 - no publicv transport options from current house - but possible from new area though I think it would take a long time. It would only be for junior school as plans are to UK board for secondary.

1805 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:18:15

we do a 12mile run to ds school, takes 20mins in clear traffic, 20-30min in the morning, but can take me 45min to get home. Likewise if I have to collect at 5.30pm isn, I allow 45min to get there. By the time I've dropped dd off after ds, and got back home in the morning, I can be in the car for up to 1hr 30mins if it's bad. DC very happy at school and I like my car!!!! I can deal with it.

Ladymuck Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:04

Most boarding options will be from 13 though, so you're facing this for 7 years potentially.

I'd say that having them both in the same location is a plus. Most of my stress has been with children in schools some way apart, and if there are roadworks etc it is a pain. I think that the following would be a concern:-

a) in terms of after school activities esp matches/concerts/parents evenings, that is a LOT of driving. And if you are already some way from the school then luck will dictate that all matches are in the wrong direction.

b) afterschool/weekend parties - going to be fairly difficult; though not insurmountable

c) your kids are spending an hour a day in the car. That in itself isn't a deal breaker but what I've found is that one child ends up in afterschool club because the other has a match or a club etc. It can be hard to balance both children's interests. And at the point where pretests/CE kick in you don't want too much time taken up with car journeys.

doradoo Tue 19-Feb-13 11:55:52

Ahhhh - it's such a difficult balancing act to get it right for everyone - isn't it!

It works at the moment which is good and the new area shouldn't be worse than here - but it is a long time in the car - and I have DD (3) also to think of....

Oh well - if the house is a goer it might have to be lots of driving - finding a property which ticks most of my boxes is also proving taxing.

Time will tell.

Thanks for your replies.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 12:17:42

We have a school coach that picks up 10 min walk from our house. The trip is 30min one way. The kids use this time to socialise, do homework or just to chill. It's no big deal.

However, its another matter if my DCs had to take trains, planes and automobiles.

diabolo Tue 19-Feb-13 14:27:02

Current Prep is an 8 minute drive (one way), from September his next school is a 25 minute drive, but they have a bus which luckily has a pick up point in the village we live in - so an easy choice for us.

Some of DS's friends will be travelling 75 minutes each way to go to a Top 50 school in the next County.

difficultpickle Tue 19-Feb-13 20:45:53

Ds switched last term from a school 10 mins drive to one that is 25 mins (10 miles). I drop and then drive 10 mins to the train station and commute to work. The odd time I drop and return home I find it a very long journey. I couldn't imagine doing the drive 4 times a day. Fortunately ds does weekly/flexi boarding so I never have to do that. He will be at the school for 5 years and frankly I would find it unsustainable long term if I had to do it every day.

Happymum22 Tue 19-Feb-13 23:14:58

I used to take mine to schools which took 45 mins+ to get to when we lived in the countryside. At that time lots travelled that far (independent highly sought after schools) so it wasnt an issue. DC had a snack in the car on the way home, we had story tapes and times table tapes (good old days!) which they listened to on the way there. The school is in a big town so I often would go there anyway to shop or meet people. I didn't work then so it was fine.

My the time they were teenagers though I had moved into the town where the school is, I returned to work and so my DC had to walk- oldest DD had to take younger DD to the junior school and pick her up from after school care, lots of their friends got the train in and mine were actually jealous as they had to walk to school alone while the kids getting the train got to socialise with the girls/boys schools and made opposite sex friends much earlier!
In the end it was fine though, DC quickly met these friends and learnt to appreciate being home by 4:15 while many of their friends weren't home til 5:30. They have also benefited from the independence and responsibility of looking after their younger sisters, similarly to those getting the train.

I don't think distance would particuarly put me off as long as there is good public transport links for when they are older and you have the time when they are younger.

Mutteroo Wed 20-Feb-13 03:31:02

DD walked 5mins to catch the school minibus & her journey was about 1/2hr depending on traffic. She used public transport for sixth form. DS cycled to his prep which was 10mins away & then weekly boarded from yr9. The journey was 40mins with no traffic, however a good hour away when using the school minibus plus the nearest pick-up was another 1/2hrs walk from our house. Logistically much easier to board!

Rosevase Wed 20-Feb-13 04:46:24

Dead easy and doable at that age. Slightly tricky in a few years when they want to do hockey club/rugby/dance whatever it is they do. But still manageable. Impossible I think for senior but I intend my DCs to board from 11, so it'll be okay.

ICanTotallyDance Tue 02-Apr-13 05:49:17

This is a very late reply, sorry. As a child, I attended one of only two girls private schools in the city. From where I lived, the run was 20 mins (one way) on a good day for my school and 15 mins for the other. One girl travelled 1 hour 15 mins by train, but that was the extreme of it. I'd say 15-25 mins is very normal.

Having said that, we moved houses after one year, when I was 4 (although by then my sister was Yr 3 and my mother had done three years of the school run) and the school run became about five minutes. I'd say its very doable if you're a stay-at-home-mother and a good driver and if the after school clubs are near the school or near your home.

The drives can be a good time to talk to your children, listen to classical music, go over times tables, ask about their day, improve debating and negotiating skills etc

They can also get a bit irritating.

If you're willing to send your kids to a boarding prep at 11 or one of those rare senior schools that accepts boys from eleven, I'd say go for it. However if you send them at 13 or older you may find that those extra few years make the school run annoying, although hopefully by then public transport will have arrived.

I'm glad you've found a great junior school and sorry if my reply didn't make a lot of sense.

doradoo Mon 06-May-13 21:02:15

Update: we have found a house which is about the same distance as we travel now - but is closer to the family we carpool with so, fingers crossed should mean less driving in the future..... time will tell!

Paddlinglikehell Thu 09-May-13 00:21:56

17 miles. At least 40 mins.

Leave house 25 to 8. Arrive school around 8.15 or so. I get back home at 9. Evenings slightly quicker finish 3.30. Home at 4,

Having done this myself for a year, we now car share with some people in the next village.

There is a bus, but we would have to leave earlier to be there for it and it doesn't get home until 5 in the evening.

Not ideal, but we have some fun times in the car, singing, doing tables etc.

Worth it for the education she is getting.

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