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What age can children walk to school alone?

(33 Posts)
Atlas15 Tue 12-Jul-16 08:58:47

I can't remember the age I started to walk to school with my sister, we used to have to get a bus to school in primary. But I do remember I used to get a train to school by myself in secondary and I was 11 (this was 2003). So what minimum age is appropriate now ?

DonkeyOaty Tue 12-Jul-16 09:04:52

Each school sets its own age I think

eg school A unaccompanied children from yr4 school B from yr 6

Whether or not a child is okay to trundle self to/from school unaccompanied is a different matter

Secondary = indi travel

Am assuming no SN

ErrolTheDragon Tue 12-Jul-16 09:04:54

'It depends'. What is the route, how sensible is the child.

Arkwright Tue 12-Jul-16 09:07:23

End of Y5 at our school. I know one mum who was sending her Y3 on her own over 2 busy roads. The headteacher had her in and told her it wasn't acceptable.

AMomentaryLapseOfReason Tue 12-Jul-16 09:10:57

It tends to start around the end of Y4 at our local primary. By Y5 (9-10 year olds) a noticeable number walk themselves.

Clayhead Tue 12-Jul-16 09:14:09

It's year five round here.

nothappymummy2014 Tue 12-Jul-16 09:18:02

Year 6 in our local schools

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 12-Jul-16 09:18:44

Our old school (quiet village school) said y5 and I think there would have been strong words if you had done it sooner. But current school (quite a deprived area for around here) officially it's y4 but dd has pointed out younger children do and no-one says anything, I think because they reckoned this is not the most important battle to fight (attendance being far more important).

AveEldon Tue 12-Jul-16 09:36:22

Most state school policies I have seen say KS2 - is that year 3?

welcometomylife Tue 12-Jul-16 09:49:59

From reception, if you trust them and their pals to get there safely and in good time ;-) It obviously depends on local conditions and the individual kids, but we should be aware that schools are going way beyond their powers to 'insist' that kids can't do this before y5/6.

noramum Tue 12-Jul-16 10:18:42

I think it is not about "can" but "allowed". My DD just turned 9 and I would let her go but the head sticks to "Y6 only" and "Y5 only in summer term" (after lots of requests from parents).

I grew up in a different country where ferrying and accompanying the children to everything and everywhere is just not done. They make their own way, they get traffic lessons in Kindergarten and early primary school to enable them to do it.

The UK is seriously covering children in cotton wool.

Rhaegal Tue 12-Jul-16 10:53:30

Both school have said end of year 4 with written parental consent.

However It depends'. What is the route, how sensible is the child is very true.

The route my eldest had yr4 was 10 minutes with lots of people around walking back or in. Now yr 6 it's over 20 minutes - all outside catchment so no friendly faces around and involves crossing duel carriage way and going passed some extremely busy shops so it's a no go.

It annoys my yr 4 who sees their friend walking home by themselves and wants to as well. There are two closer schools to us but no places when we moved here - not sure it's worth moving over though when youngest hits yr 6 not sure they ill be happy to be picked up at least yr 4 can say I'm walking youngest back.

QuiteQuietly Tue 12-Jul-16 11:15:28

I agree with norasmum. My Y2 and Y4 walk on their own and it is fine. They cross two roads, but they know the safest point to cross each one and are more than capable of not getting killed. It takes them about 15 minutes (20 minutes home as it is uphill). School make a fuss from time to time and I tell them it is not illegal and it is our choice. They are not allowed to imprison them at school until I go to collect them (which they briefly tried). I am more than happy to write letters confirming it is our responsibility. Our family circumstances need them to walk home alone and they are capable of doing this. In my home country they would have been doing this from 4. It is your decision when they can or need to walk home alone.

carrie74 Tue 12-Jul-16 11:18:22

Our small rural school says from Y5 with written consent.

mrsmortis Tue 12-Jul-16 15:11:42

I don't know that my DD1 will ever walk to her primary school on her own. It's over a mile away and across a major A road. Which would be fine except that there are no pedestrian crossings just a couple of places where there is a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road.

I don't think it's fair for her to be responsible for getting her little sister (3 years younger) across this road. So someone will always need to take them to school. Which is sad, but I think better than the alternative.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Tue 12-Jul-16 15:18:35

Depends on route and location I think. Officially our school (small village location) allows all KS2 to leave unaccompanied.

We have one road (with zebra crossing) on the way home so DS1 could get himself there safely - as it happens I'm bringing DS2 so won't have to worry about it for a few years yet.

Jackpack Tue 12-Jul-16 16:47:14

Imo the ideal time for letting a child walk to school is when they start year six. Any younger than that i'd say it would be verging on irresponsible on the parents part.

NameChangeMum456 Tue 12-Jul-16 17:10:34

My friend's daughter started at eight as she is literally around the corner, school rules allowed this. My son is almost in year six and hasn't started yet because he'd have to catch a bus.

My daughter wouldn't be allowed by me to do what my friend's daughter does because I don't think she'd be responsible enough even at the right age and I can see the school from across the road and there's a subway path so no roads to actually cross.

It depends on two things, the school rules and the child themselves.

Bloopbleep Tue 12-Jul-16 17:37:45

Dd's headteacher told me there was no law that said the child had to be dropped off or picked up by a parent - long story to do with disability - but it is expected and the parent's tongues wag high speed of a child goes home themselves. We live across the road with crossing help but still feel we have to be there. Dd is desperate to go to school herself and I'd trust her wholeheartedly at 7 to be able to. I used to get a bus to school myself at 5

Cleo1303 Tue 12-Jul-16 17:53:46

At DD's prep they start in the last term of Year 6 and only if they have a parental approval letter.

I've collected her throughout Year 7 at her new school although she'd rather go on the bus she says. I'd rather know where she is!

Lilaclily Tue 12-Jul-16 17:58:21

Dd is 9, year 4 and walks 5 minutes down the hill where I meet her and we walk ten minutes home
I think at age 10 , year 5 she could walk alone but if she doesn't want to I won't make her
I take her all the way in the morning because it's on my way to work and the walk does me good

Lilaclily Tue 12-Jul-16 18:01:49

About half of year 4's now walk to their parents or to their parents cars , no letter is required. There's still some parents who wait outside the classroom door though

RebelRogue Tue 12-Jul-16 18:03:35

For me it will depend on what the school rules are. She could probably do it after 6(school 3 minutes away of slow walk,i can see the playground from my garden,no roads to cross etc) but what she's capable of os irrelevant if it's against school rules. In the same way, the school rules are irrelevant if the child can't actually do it(due to personal capabilities,distance,area etc)

Iwantacampervan Tue 12-Jul-16 18:12:54

At our local village primary it's from year 5 when they start to walk to school without parents - they are not alone as they all call for one another as they make their way in. Children who live further out are often dropped at a friend's house rather than school so they could join in with the others. It didn't save us a journey as we had to walk the younger siblings in but it gave the older ones a sense of independence. They would walk home together after clubs which was useful as it saved a journey for parents.

prettybird Tue 12-Jul-16 18:24:40

I'm in Scotland: at ds' primary there was no minimum age but I'm sure the school would've commented if they thought anyone was being reckless.

Ds was walking to school from about 7 (10-15 min walk, couple of roads to cross but a lollipop man on the busy one) and home from about 8 - but that's also because I was then working from home so he didn't need to go to After School Care.

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