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Walking to school - how far is too far?

(20 Posts)
firstfootforward Thu 18-Apr-13 14:24:09

We've been lucky enough to get our first choice primary, which is at the end of our road. Whilst relieved, we're also a bit worried because we're currently renting and are desperate to to buy within the next year or two. As house prices have sky rocketed in our area we've no chance of being able to afford anything close by. We've thought about the possibility of moving schools, but have been told this would be risky as all decent schools here are oversubscribed (densely populated London borough). We might be able to afford somewhere a couple of miles away but that's a heck of a walk and I don't drive. We could possibly take a bus I suppose. Is anyone else in this position? What do you think is a reasonable walking distance? Also have nursery drop-off for younger sibling to factor - about half a mile from the school - which complicates things further (head spins). Also realise we're going to become one those much hated parents who secures a place at a sought after schools then moves away . . . sad

noisytoys Thu 18-Apr-13 14:26:58

DD walks a mile each way to school. It is easily manageable but I wouldn't want her to walk any further. After a full day at school she is tired.

AuntieStella Thu 18-Apr-13 14:29:56

We walk about a mile without difficulty. If there's a decent bus route, longer should be do-able too.

The snag will come when it is your younger DC's turn for school admission and whether there is a catchment, and if so whether siblings come before or after other catchment children.

If you move, you can still send DC to current allocated school whilst being on the waiting list/s for acceptable schools nearer to your new address and then change schools when you have a place you're happy with.

firstfootforward Thu 18-Apr-13 14:35:29

Thanks for that. I was thinking a mile as a cut off, but we'd have to compromise on living space - probably a flat rather than house. AuntieStella - good point re wait lists for new schools - I hadn't though of that.

FaceLikeAPickledYonion Thu 18-Apr-13 14:36:39

We currently walk 1 mile each way, another half a mile each way would be ok, 2 miles I think would be too far too walk, but I would consider a bus journey for more than 1 1/2 miles, up to about 7 miles.

firstfootforward Thu 18-Apr-13 14:36:52

Oh, and currently siblings do come before catchment so this shouldn't be an issue, unless they change it in the next couple of years.

redskyatnight Thu 18-Apr-13 14:38:10

Is cycling an option? Lots of children at DD’s infants regularly do the 2.5 mile round trip via the junior school (with younger siblings in trailer/bike seat).

badguider Thu 18-Apr-13 14:40:40

when i was young 2miles was the limit for getting a school bus so anybody within 2miles walked. we were just on the border and it was quite a trudge sometimes but parents took it in turns when we needed accompanying.

firstfootforward Thu 18-Apr-13 14:45:39

Hadn't considered cycling. Might be an option. Not very confident on a bike but plenty of time to train! To be honest, can't even imagine a 2 mile walk - as it is eldest DD has a total meltdown if she has to walk further than a couple of hundred metres. Guess she'd get used to it though. And there's always the buggyboard. . .

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 18:00:33

We did what you are thinking of doing. People did assume we had purposefully rented nearby etc. but in fact we had rented with the idea of buying but the lease needed renewing and the owner wasn't prepared to drop the price to accommodate this, we therefore couldn't afford the property. We live 2 miles away and it is a bit of a drag, especially in the winter. We have a car but I try to minimise use of it and sometimes DP needs it for work. I have a DD who is now 2 but was 6 months when he started in Reception and it is the two of them bored, tired, hungry that makes it difficult. It is fine in the morning.

We are now thinking of moving out of the area as I want a house and really I want to be able to walk to a local school.

The buggy board was essential in Reception especially as DS was a summer born child and quite young when he started and very young for a 2 mile stomp up hill after school.

firstfootforward Thu 18-Apr-13 19:36:35

Good to hear of your experience Goldenbear. DD also summer born so, combined with her general lack of enthusiam for any form of exercise, I fear it may be a battle too far! We may continue to rent for another couple of years, but have a nasty feeling the rent is going to increase next year as they've done some work on the house and we're stretched as it is. Also worried that the longer we wait the harder it will be to buy. Do you forsee any problems securing a place in the area you plan to move to?

Jacksterbear Thu 18-Apr-13 19:45:58

I find a scooter to be a lifesaver on the school run; ours is only a mile each way but DS would find it quite tiring without his scooter. He is fine with the scooter and could easily do another half mile or more on top I think.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 18-Apr-13 19:50:00

We walk a mile each way and we would still walk even if it was 1.5 miles each way as parking is so tricky.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Thu 18-Apr-13 19:52:17

We do a mile and a half with summer born DD. It has been fine!

RandomMess Thu 18-Apr-13 19:56:50

With a scooter up to 2 miles should be fine.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 20:27:48

I find it ok now - he is 5 and in year one. In fact in can be quite nice as he will actually talk to me about school but my 2 year old is not very keen on staying in the buggy for that long now and she wants to use the scooter. I used to bring the scooter as well as the buggy board.

I think it depends on what your child is like, what the walk is like. Although he is used to walking, in Reception year he would come out of school very hungry as he is a slow eater and didn't eat enough during the day, he was tired and then we had a 2 mile walk that was about a mile up hill. We would get to about a mile and a half and I would think I wish we lived here as that last 1/2 mile was very painful but they do get used to it. Others have found no problems above with 2 miles so I would imagine I'm very much rare in finding it hard going at first.

Firstfootforward, the area I'm thinking of moving to is cheaper, the schools seem to have a wider catchment but the hard bit will be getting him in to a School for Junior age when the application process starts so early in the year.

firstfootforward Thu 18-Apr-13 20:47:34

Ah yes, scooters. By the time DD1 starts school DD2 should be old enough to use one too, so this might help.

Goldenbear - moving to an area with a wider catchment will at least take some of the pressure off, though I see what you're saying re schools at junior age. Does the stress ever end . . !

Thanks for everyone's input - I feel a bit more positive about it now and also better able to see the potential positives to a longer walk. Should keep us all fit, and plenty of time to chit chat about the day - even if it is me doing all the talking grin

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 21:24:25

Oh yes definitely keeps you fit. Good luck with the property decisions, it seems over complicated- I just want a nice enough home and the ability to walk to a local school. My nearest school is Catholic, it is difficult to get into even if you're catholic which we are not and DP is Jewish so does not want a 'faith' school education for DC. I do envy the parents that walk around the corner for the school run.

lljkk Fri 19-Apr-13 10:45:10

Scooters nightmare ime and they don't stop you getting very wet.

stupidgirlNo1 Fri 19-Apr-13 13:30:26

We walk 20 mins up and 40 min.My son bikes to school.He enjoys it.But rainy days are really miserable.

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