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Walking to school incentives. Not very fair : (

(22 Posts)
SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 18:44:26

I think I need some perspective here.

We've been given those letters about the Active scheme thingy, to try and incentivise walking to school for our children.

It's great if you live - like most families - within a mile or less of the school. We would walk too if we did,

but we don't.
We're more like a mile and a half - or is it 1.7 miles - anyway it's quite a walk, especially on a busy road with such narrow pavements that if you stick your arm out randomly at the wrong moment, you'll get it whacked by a bus.

It doesn't help that I'm very pregnant and have SPD/whatever going on, am generally knackered, and it's up a hill on the way home.

My children are really disappointed at not getting the sticker at the end of the week like other children. I feel bad about it, I prefer walking but feel atm there's no alternative to using the car most days.

other families live even further away and there's no way they could walk at all - outlying villages etc.

I know it's a good thing to encourage walking but to give little prizes out and certificates for it seems unfair on the kids who just can't do it sad

It gives you the option to park nearby and walk the rest - but there is literally NO free parking anywhere near school. And paying a few quid a day to park there would be ridiculous.

Is anyone else in this situation?

juniper904 Fri 05-Oct-12 18:50:20

Could you drop your DC at a friend's house, then they could walk from there?

HairyPotter Fri 05-Oct-12 18:50:48

Not quite the same, but a friend of my dd's lives next door to her school. She walks around the playground 4 times each morning and gets what ever reward is on offer for walk to school week. Perhaps you could suggest something similar to your school?

CockBollocks Fri 05-Oct-12 18:53:33

Our scheme meant you could get a stocker even if you parked further away., alot of our children live miles away. Could you do that?

OwedToAutumn Fri 05-Oct-12 18:53:43

I know what you mean.

I used to "park and stride" with DS at his previous school. Then the carpark we used to use became a pay and display, so it would cost me 50p each time I wanted to do this (£1per day for there and home.)

It was the same council who were trying to encourage children to walk to school, that put the charge on parking.

I tried to telephone to explain the problem, but no one returned my calls.

Luckily for us, we could park in a supermarket car park, nearby, although this meant walking on streets, rather than a lovely walk through the park, but at least he was walking!

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 05-Oct-12 18:56:55

We had this at the local school. The children are bused to school because we're very rural and no pavements, single track roads etc.

DS1 went mad - proper peel down of the ceiling mad,he's autistic, he started a rant about what did they know about safety and how it's not safe to walk in some areas. He sent them away apparently with a proper flea in their ear. Shame the teachers couldn't have moderated what the walk to school team were saying, they were clearly talking inappropriately to a young group of children who were not in a position to control walking to school or fulfil their ridiculous requests.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 18:57:03

Our school ran an award winning walking scheme which encouraged people to park at a leisure centre 1/4 mile from the school & then they could walk from there & would qualify for the walkers rewards scheme along with everyone who walked direct from home. Can you suggest something like that?

I know a lady who only got driver's licence a few months before her 6th child started school. She lives 1.5 miles from school & always walked except for brief spell when she tried cycling or very rare occasion when her husband could drive.

So I humbly submit that 1.7 miles doesn't make it impossible. Inconvenient & unpleasant maybe, but not impossible.

catkind Fri 05-Oct-12 19:02:45

What about kids whose parents work and need to have car to continue to workplace? Not fair to incentivise kids for their parents' decisions/situation.
Perhaps they could run a walking bus from a suitable drop-off point then everyone would be happy.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 19:05:25

Thanks guys. Some decent ideas - I like the one about walking round the playground 4 times! I might suggest this.

It does include parking nearby and walking but there's literally nowhere nearby to park, on the street or in a car park - no supermarkets less than a mile away from school. It would take us longer to drive there and walk than just to drop off at school.

I concede it is not impossible Lljkk - but yes it is really inconvenient atm, for us, and each time I force myself to drop them off on foot I need to sit down for a while before coming home, and then usually need to get a bus which again is expensive. If I use the car, which tbh I don't really like doing, at least I can do it quickly and keep a bit of energy to do things at home.

Sorry about your ds getting upset, Mis.

The school seems aware that there isn't a suitable car park nearby as they mentioned that they are negotiating with the council to provide somewhere to this effect - so I really hope that brings something to fruition.

In the meantime our school road isn't overwhelmingly bad. Most people are considerate and slow and careful.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 19:05:35

Takes so many volunteers, though,to run a walking bus, and they have to be very reliable AND CRB-checked. Our multi-award-winning walking scheme collapsed, btw, from lack of volunteers to run it.

margerykemp Fri 05-Oct-12 19:06:11

I think your DCs need to learn that they arent going to win everything in life and sometimes it wont be fair why.

A hard lesson but a good one.

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 19:07:16

Our school used to do a thing where just before rewards were given out, the children would walk around the field once to get some reward points for the incentive scheme, to make sure everyone had at least some credits to spend.

WofflingOn Fri 05-Oct-12 19:08:32

It's like attendance certificates, but I know some children for whom it is the only award they are ever likely to get in school.
Not everyone gets everything, as long as there is a spread of opportunities so that everyone gets a chance I don't see that it is particularly unfair.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 19:08:56

Yes Margery - you're right. I've explained it to them, I did get a bit stroppy when I read the letter but I think they understand why we have to use the car at the moment.

xkcdfangirl Fri 05-Oct-12 19:09:27

I can't believe there is no free parking anywhere near school unless you live somewhere where every street is residents-parking-only. (If you do, then perhaps YANBU). Obv I can believe there are no free carparks but there are other options.

Even if you can't park anywhere, perhaps you could let them collect the sticker even just once a week by driving to the house of one of your children''s friends who live within walking distance and who walk to school, and then they could walk to school together? Might even give you an extra 10 mins in the morning if the friends will let your children walk with them without you? Or they might let you park on their driveway?

MerylStrop Fri 05-Oct-12 19:14:22

We liftshare to school because it is two miles away and all parents work. Although I don't drive so I pick them up by walking and bus/train when it's my turn.

The kids will get over it.

I don't think there is any need to feel bad - you NEED to drive at the moment.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 19:18:53

Well, I grew up here and seriously there's nowhere free within about a mile of school - it would be pointless.

It is almost all residents zones, and a few pay and park car parks. That's it. Even the resindets' streets are mostly full, as well. It's a tiny city with a huge student population and sadly inadequate parking throughout.

It would use more petrol and cause more congestion to go and park in a supermarket etc. plus take us a lot longer.

It would work well in a lot of places, I know - and I do see the point of it - but here, it's just a bit impractical.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 19:20:26

Thanks Meryl. I will get over it and I know they will too. It's just sad for all the other kids too whose parents live, like 5 miles out and have no chance at all.

There will be other things to get stickers for. Thanks for putting it into perspective, everyone.

(the friends idea would be great but tbh I wouldn't like to impose on anyone iyswim)

LeeCoakley Fri 05-Oct-12 19:30:39

If schools only did things that 100% of parents agreed with they'd never open in the mornings. grin

You have some options, e.g. pay for parking, but if you don't want to do that then your children will just have to understand that this incentive is something they can't be a part of.

radicalsubstitution Fri 05-Oct-12 19:58:51

You can't win 'em all!

DS lives opposite the school, so will always win the walk to school awards (even though he lives closer to the school than the kids who come by car). He went to day nursery from 6 months, and so has already caught every cold/flu known to man. He never gets ill, so always gets 100% attndance.

Then again, he is a noisy little fidget in class, so never gets the good behaviour awards - even when I know he's actually tried really hard.

He also has a Mummy who works, and is partially sighted, so I will never be able to accompany him on school trips or go into class to hear children read.

He keeps asking me 'when will you come into school to hear us read?' and the answer has to be 'never'.

I don't think that learning that life doesn't always work out the way you want it to is a bad lesson.

lopsided Fri 05-Oct-12 20:56:05

Well said radical.

Schools do try to encourage good socially responsible behavior. These small disappointments can help them become robust for bigger ones later in life.

Speaking as someone whose school is quite far away (nearest one we could get) and I often drop on my way to work so we never win this.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Sat 06-Oct-12 08:00:32

No that's true - absolutely right. Every child has some kind of disadvantage.

I suppose it made me feel a bit sad because they are so keen to be compliant, at school - and almost feel like they have failed, or that they have done something wrong, if we can't walk.

I don't want them to feel like that as it's not their fault and they're good little walkers when we do. That's all really.

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