School Commute - Is it worth it?(33 Posts)
My DD1 will start secondary in September. For DD2's sake we will stay where we are, but are willing to move if commute is too long. As you lovely mums (and dads?) are amazing at giving reasonable opinions, I want to know yours.
Is a 1 hr 5mins commute worth it or should we move? The commute may take up to 10-12 mins more so bear that in mind. We are trying to figure out what to do
So, is the commute worth it?
Loads of kids who live in rural areas spent an hour on the school bus to get to their catchment school, so yes, I think its reasonable.
It depends on how bitty the journey is too.
If that is a 1 hour car journey and a 5 minute walk or a school bus direct then that may not be so bad.
If it is made up of a 15 minute bus ride and 2 train journeys of 25 minutes each, that is much worse because of all the potential problems with connections, delays, waiting around in the cold etc.
DDs school is 15minutes by car, 1hr on their stupid, spends 30 minutes heading the wrong way bus.
It's a pita, but it's a fact of life in this sort of area.
My secondary school was 1 hour and 20 mins commute, it was fine once I got used to leaving that early, I was late a few times to start off with though as I kept just missing the train.
Will dd2 eventually go to the same secondary? If so I'd look at moving at some point in the intervening years.
It's not just the length of time it takes to get to school but the restrictions that puts on after school activities and it's tricky to meet up with friends in holidays and weekends especially if they're at the opposite end of the catchment
My dc have a commute - ds and dd2 take the school bus (primary) that takes 45 mins + 10 min walk to bus stop, dd1 takes the ordinary bus (with a bus pass) to the same building (secondary) and that takes her about 45 mins in total.
They tend to do homework on the way home. Leave at 7.45, home by 4.
Will friends be similarly scattered or just your dd?
I'd say that if everyone else will be living really close to each other then socially it might be difficult. I had this at secondary and always felt a bit out of things.
If there are other pupils in the area doing similar journeys, it should work out ok. But it can be terribly isolating for teens who do not live near their school friends, especially when they start getting more independent.
Coming back as a group on the same evening bus from the movies is very different to one child traveling to a different area alone or having to be collected by parents all the time.
Since it's a grammar school, DD1 may or may not get in depending on how well she preforms on the day of the test. The journey will consist of travelling on a bus and walking. We don't know anyone from DDs school who will be going to the same school but my friends daughter will be. They live very near us so she has a potential travelling buddy. The school is very near us if you go by car (20 mins in horrendous traffic) but public transport is a nightmare! I have to go to work very early in the day and can't drop her off at school so public transport is the only choice. Tube/train takes even longer!
My Dd has a comute about this length. It involves a lift to the station, train & walk at other end. They get used to it very quickly, it makes them a bit more street wise & independent. The downsides are made up for by how good the school is. And on the upside it is giving her lots of life skills for when she is older.
If it's 20 minutes by car could she cycle?
DD isn't very good at road cycling (she can't ride in a consistent line and therefore goes right in front of the cars) so cycling isn't an option
The post before my previous post should read: DD2 may or may not...
Ours took a school coach and that was including the time getting her to the stop an hour door to door from age 5 (coaches laid on by the school). It was a very good school and she's now left and doing extremely well. It was definitely worth it.
We faced all this for DD and emphatically rejected the long commute. I wanted DD to have a life. Our possible school was at least 40 min. drive in good traffic, though.
If you ask around you may find some other parents who drive & could give lifts if you contribute costs. Even a direct minibus may exist (they do around here).
DS(11) has an hour long commute. His bus is at 7:15 and he gets back around 4:45. Fortunately we are only a 5 minute drive from the bus stop and on the odd day when I can't collect him, the driver will drop him very close to his house. DS almost enjoys the bus- it seems to have quite the social life!
Mine was an hour each way (fifteen minute walk, forty minute coach journey, five minute walk). For me, yes it was worth it. It was exactly the right school for me.
It was difficult socially, as most of my friends lived a good way away and no one in my family could drive, but friends would invite me to stay over.
What's transport like in the evenings? Can she stay behind after school for stuff and still get home? How about weekends- can she get to see her friends? Does her travel card/season ticket work at the weekends? As she gets older, where is she most likely to socialise? How will she get home at night?
All these are incredibly important questions
I wish I had considered!
If dd has a party, or a weekend rehearsal or a match I can end up driving over 100 miles in a weekend.......
" DD isn't very good at road cycling (she can't ride in a consistent line" That is very easy to solve. Go onto your council website and look up one-to-one cycle training. The training that gets done through schools isn't enough but extra sessions are usually very cheap (free in London boroughs) and worth it for their independence. Our council training is £20 for 3 hours one to one - a snip! That gives DD the chance to cycle in most weather, and to get home from clubs etc, which is something the those tied to coaches really miss out on. Ideally, have one or two of her friends do the same, and they'll start to get themselves to friends houses, the leisure centre etc, and you'll know they will have road sense when they come to learn to drive.
Just added up the miles I did last weekend- 150.
Will she involved in lots of extracurricular? Frankly, two terms into year 7 and I can't imagine DS being that long a commute away. We have had school concerts and music competitions finishing at 9:30pm. Same with plays, rehearsals after school, clubs, sport, music lessons. The last period finishes at 4 and it is rare for him to come straight home. Lots of days he calls and says he is staying in the library to advance homework, which is great because when he comes home he has finished all his work. Sometimes he stays for pleasure, to read the magazines or newspapers in the library. He has also been involved in helping during open evenings, etc.
Basically, IME it's not the commute itself, but proximity offers you the flexibility to make the most out of secondary school.
My son is in Year 7 at GS. I drop him at the bus stop in the morning and his commute is about 35 minutes. Coming home is very different, because of traffic, his journey takes about an hour and ten minutes, door to door. But generally this has not caused any problems. He loves travelling on the bus, he knew only one other child going to school before hand, but has found quite a few children who live locally who also do the same journey. With GS generally the pupils travel longer distances and so are more spread out. I pick him up once a week after school, but generally otherwise, he comes home by bus. His only initial difficulty was getting on the bus home, as being a small Year 7 child, older more experienced students tended to get on first. This seems to have settled down now and thinking back I remember this happening to my DD who is at a different school.
Good luck to your daughter for September.
Oh, do please think of the practicalities as they get older. I very much wish I had. Listen to people like me with kids in year 13- not just those with littlies in year 7!
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