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Are older juniors allowed to leave school without being met by an adult at your school?

(40 Posts)
Bramshott Tue 14-Jun-11 09:50:28

DD's school have just changed their policy on the end of the school day. Previously Yrs R - 3 were handed over to an adult at their classroom doors, and Yrs 4 - 6 just came out of the side door by themselves and either walked home, or found their parents in the playground.

They've recently changed this so that all children have to be handed over to an adult at the end of the day, unless you log written permission with the office for your DC to walk home alone.

Now this doesn't actually effect DD much as she goes on the school bus most days, but I can't help feeling that it's a bad idea, and is infantilising kids who will be off to secondary school soon. So I'd be really interested to know what happens in other schools, and whether this is normal these days? hmm

FranSanDisco Tue 14-Jun-11 09:54:09

In dcs school they are 'on their own' from Yr 3. Lots of them walk home alone. I must be a helicopter parent as I still meet mine (at the gate, not the class door). I nearly fell over when dss pal (yr 3) said he was going home on his own.

cory Tue 14-Jun-11 09:57:47

They are allowed from Yr 5 (I think). I certainly think it should be allowed from Yr 6; otherwise, secondary will come as a big shock.

nagynolonger Tue 14-Jun-11 10:00:52

I'm sure our village school still deals with this the same as when my DC were there.
YR & YR1 were not allowed out of the classroom until an adult claimed them.
YR2 walked out off the door to waiting parents with instuctions to go back inside if no one was there.
YR3 &4 left the school via the infant playground most met their parents there. Maybe a few walked home with an older sib.
YR5 & 6 were allowed out of the main gate and many met parents in the street or walked alone. Some walked around to the infants playground to meet parents and little sibs.

MumGoneCrazy Tue 14-Jun-11 10:00:55

DS is in YR6 and has been walking home by himself since YR3 (age 7) we only lived a 2 minute walk away from the school with one road and a crossing lady now we live a 10/15 minute walk up a very steep hill away from their school and we have to use a bridge over a very busy main road so at the age of 7 I wouldn't allow DD1(5) or DD2(4) to go alone but DS does although he usually walks with us anyway as me and the DD's are going the same way.

I think it should be down to the parents as they are the better judge of the child's maturity, I think it's a good idea for them to be allowed to walk home on their own as it does give them independence.

feckwit Tue 14-Jun-11 10:01:24

They are allowed home alone from year 3 and come out from then onwards without the teacher (although other teachers of younger pupils are in the playground and will keep an eye).

Bramshott Tue 14-Jun-11 10:12:46

Hmm - thank you. As I said, it doesn't really effect me or DD, and clearly the kids are allowed to walk home alone if you give written permission for it.

I might still write to the Head though - it just strikes me that it's not sending very good messages to Yr 6s if the default position is that they have to be accompanied by an adult at all times / handed over by their teacher to another adult at the end of school etc. It is also bureaucratic, because if you are taking another child home you have to have written permission etc, or if you are helping out somewhere else in school then you have to break off to go and physically collect your child.

Mermaidmad Tue 14-Jun-11 10:18:16

Yes yrs R to 3 are all only allowed out when a recognised adult is there to collect but my daughters school Yr4-7 are all allowed to go on their own and most walk home alone.

JWIM Tue 14-Jun-11 10:26:59

It may be that it does reduce the independence of a child, but you say that parents can give permission so the option is still available, albeit it may be a nuisance to have to write. Have you considered the issue from a child protection/safeguarding angle as the school has too? If a child left school premises and did not turn up at home - what would the consequences be for the school then? Would you happily stand before the press and defend the school's lack of school knowledge about when/with whom a child left at the end of a school day?

neerg Tue 14-Jun-11 10:35:25

Bramshott- would you really write a letter to the school over something that you agree does not really affect you?
I am sure that this new sysytem would have been set up after a few complaints by parents about the previous system.

MissingMySleep Tue 14-Jun-11 10:43:34

All of ours are left to go on their own from YR3 onwards, but I don't know of any in yr3 that are NOT collected in the playground. Some are collected by older siblings. I know lots of YR 5 and 6 who walk to and from on their own, I don't know many kids in YR4 so not sure about that.

However we live in a village, where the roads are safe(ish) and everyone knows everyone - if I lived in a busy city I would want my kids held there till I got there for them.

I think its good the school is oversafe, rather than undersafe, and they have given the opt out option, so altho they are more cautious than most schools, there is no harm in it. Kids like to know that people are concerned for their safety, it makes them feel valued, and parents can involve them in the collectgrinpt out decision making.

Bramshott Tue 14-Jun-11 11:05:55

Yes, I'm sure they're doing it out of a desire to safeguard, but I think it's actually MORE dangerous. If Year 5s and 6s are not given any independence then heaven help them when they hit Year 7 and are expected to be self-reliant. All the more so for the kids from our school who will be moving at Yr 7 from a village school of 100 kids to a comprehensive with 1500+.

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jun-11 11:06:00

It's a bit different where I am because only 1-2% of the children live within walking distance of the school.

But, other than the first few weeks of Y3 (our youngest in the prep), I don't think anybody physically checks that someone is there at the doors for them as they walk out, we just assume that someone is. They aren't allowed to leave school without an adult to collect them. In the pre prep they are obviously handed over.

One boy in my form (Y6) had to get special written permission to walk the 3 minutes home through the village and my colleagues Y7 daughter still doesn't. Mine are only Y3 and nursery but I fully intend to have them be latchkey kids from 10 (live 2 minute walk from school), they don't enjoy hanging around for me in the evenings at all.

JWIM Tue 14-Jun-11 11:16:02

DD transferred to secondary school (around 1000 pupils) and a bus trip there and back having been collected by me daily until end of primary school (car journey home) with no issues whatsoever.

It is a shame that schools have to take a cautious line but they are held accountable for their systems - even if nothing goes wrong - and whilst OP may be happy with a more relaxed approach it is likely that other parents at the school have expressed concern. School has to reach a sensible conclusion and the opt out allowing a child to continue walking home seems to be a reasonable solution.

GypsyMoth Tue 14-Jun-11 11:20:34

3 tier system once in yr 5 its a school bus to the next village!!!

no mollycoddling the little treasures.....its a case of them HAVING to be independent!

GypsyMoth Tue 14-Jun-11 11:21:04

thats for middle school by the way yr 5 to yr 8

5inthebed Tue 14-Jun-11 11:23:31

Our school is a three tier school, so the last year in juniours is Y4. Only in the last term of the school year are Y4s aowed to walk out by themselves.

GypsyMoth Tue 14-Jun-11 11:27:08

do they have the right to stop kids going alone if there is written permission though?

meditrina Tue 14-Jun-11 11:28:05

We have a "sign out" register for children who go home alone. Parents have to request permission in writing and the head countersigns it. This makes it absolutely clear to both school and family which children may leave alone and who is to be picked up. It also means that at the end of the day, all children are accounted for (picked up from the playground or signed themselves out).

It strikes me as a good system. Children can have independence (and the responsibility of signing out) when the parents think they're ready for it, but those whose parents do not yet want this cannot go and head off at random, and everyone knows where they stand.

notso Tue 14-Jun-11 11:41:43

In DC's school once they are in Juniors they can walk home alone.
They only need written permission for after school activities except year 6 who can walk home alone from those too.

FeyaB Tue 14-Jun-11 13:46:42

My son, Yr 2 (7 yrs old) walks to school on his own. We live in a big town, but he's very streetwise and mature. He nagged us for months to be allowed, and eventually we said yes, After all, it's teaching him independence which has to be a good thing. My daughter (Yr 4) has only just started walking by herself occasionally. We haven't forced her, she didn't want to before. So my younger son would skip off to school by himself, while we would walk our older daughter!

We let our son walk home by himself occasionally too, although admittedly he's the only one in his class who does that. He's always been very independent-minded. I was the same at his age, and I know that it's helped me to become independent as an adult, so I haven't discouraged him.

darleneoconnor Tue 14-Jun-11 14:01:51

There is no handover in any year group at our, urban, school. So in theory we could have 4yos walking home alone. The head has said she knows of 5yos who do this.

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 14-Jun-11 21:46:24

Ours hand over to an adult, year six can walk home alone provided the school have written permission from a parent

Hulababy Tue 14-Jun-11 21:48:22

At DD's school:

Infants are hnded over to a parent.

Juniors come out without a teacher. Most do meet a parent/carer as most have a distance to travel home anyway. But I guess there is nothing to prevent them walking home themselves.

Hulababy Tue 14-Jun-11 21:49:26

I work in an infant school (Yr-Y2) and all children must be dropped off and collected by an adult.

The junior school is nearby. They can come and go alone.

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