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do you think this is too long a journey to secondary schoolschool?

(23 Posts)
zookeeper Tue 11-Oct-11 07:33:02

The school my ds wants to go to is a twenty minute train journey (we're five minutes from the train station) followed by a five mile bus journey through busy traffic. He will be just eleven when he starts

He would be leaving the house at 7:40.

He's very keen on the school and adamant he can do the journey and is an independent little chap but it seems a bit of a hike to me.

Any thoughts? I do aim to move nearer but that might not be for a couple of years.

bigTillyMint Tue 11-Oct-11 07:36:15

That sounds perfectly do-able - lots of children round here leave at 7 to do longer trips than that. DD leaves at 7.25 to do a 3mile or so tripgrin

Will there be others doing a similar journey or will he mainly travel on his own? (I have 2 friends whose DS make the daily train journey - with changes - on their own)

zookeeper Tue 11-Oct-11 07:40:00

Thanks bigtilly - he'll be doing the train on his own although i imagine there will be many more on the bus.

I live in a smallish town in think it's OK but if I mention it to anyone they recoil in horror as though I was planning on sending him to the moon each day.

eaglewings Tue 11-Oct-11 07:40:16

DS has justvleft the house at 7.30, he will be home 4.30

There is a school closer but it was not the rightbone for him

He complains at times it's too long, but he'd never swap to the local one

eaglewings Tue 11-Oct-11 07:41:06

Rightbone?!! Think I need to go to school. Should read right one

roguepixie Tue 11-Oct-11 07:41:36

My DS, who started secondary school this September, has a journey similar to this. He is dropped , by DH, at the station in the morning where he gets the Overground taking about 25 minutes. He then has a walk of about 7 minutes at the other end (or 10-12 minutes at his snail's pace grin).

At the other end of the day he does this in reverse...with the addition of a bus ride home from the station as DH/me are not able to collect him.

When he started I made sure that I travelled with him on and off for the first week. We had made efforts to get to know some other boys who were also starting at the same school and would be using this line so that he had a group of friends he could travel with (and prior to summer he know no-one going to his new school). He is happy and confident and travels brilliantly. He is able to think on his feet if problems with travel arise and is happy to go in early for various practices and come home later because of other clubs etc.

I know it is daunting. I felt physically sick knowing my DS was out there, basically on his own, travelling around. It is a steep learning curve ... for everyone: you, DC, OH. But, they do it. You say he is keen and independent...I would say you have your answer. My DS was the same and he is growing in confidence and ability before my eyes. smile

zookeeper Tue 11-Oct-11 07:45:35

Thank you so much; I feel I'm being precious but it really has been worrying me.I'm on my own with my dcs and these are very lonely decisions!

Have just checked; it's 13 miles but by car would be a good forty-fifty minutes.

Good idea about doing the journey with him.

SandStorm Tue 11-Oct-11 07:52:40

Of course it may all be academic depending on which school he gets.

We thought hard about this one when DD1 came to up to secondary school. One of her options was a train and bus ride away. We actually decided that she had a lifetime of commuting ahead of her so why start so early.

Having said that though the school wasn't our first choice so our thoughts might have been different had it been.

CustardCake Tue 11-Oct-11 08:21:49

It is do-able BUT there are other considerations apart from the ability to do the journey daily:
- Tiredness / late night homework can be a factor. It will be a long journey home and he will arrive later and have increasingly more homework to do. Arriving home late with homework to do may also eat into the time available for Scouts or music lessons or other hobbies.

- Parents Evenings, Concerts, Prize Givings and other school events will require all of you to make nearly an hour's journey there and another hour back which is fine once a year but not so great if you just want to pop in to discuss GCSE options or missing homework

- On the same note, you and he might feel isolated outside school through not having local friends (unless a lot of other children near you do the same journey of course). Its always nice to know at least one other mother or one local child.

- Snow. Journeys that are feasible in normal conditions suddenly become impossible for the 2 weeks that we have snow on the ground or when the Olympics mess up all the train timetables or when late night Christmas shopping cripples the bus services and causes dense traffic jams all through December. What looks easy on a route planner isn't always so straigh forward and being reliant on a train to make a bus connection leaves it open to more potential problems.

If the local school is very poor then its worth the effort and sacrifices but if the local school is equally good or not much different then I don't think a very long journey is worth it and I speak as someone who has done this.

Theas18 Tue 11-Oct-11 08:49:18

Very normal journey and journey length. My kids leave at 7.30 for a 10min walk to the bus and 10 mins the other end. Arrive at school 8.30 usually (selective school there are some that travel on mainline trains too not just the cross city line) and I'm sure those who drive rurally take and hour or more.

I see local kids waiting for buses/walking down the road near my work at 7.45- to go to the comps or the local catholic school (would be 2 buses and a walk from where I see them).

Bad weather worries me a little. My strategy is if they can get there by public transport they go (there is the usual bus but also the option of train and a longer walk the other end). School are aware that kids travel a long way and will let them out early if needed. In a real worst case scenario we are 3-4 miles from school and they could walk. THe way the city gridlocks in snow driving to get them would be foolish.

When we chose schools we reckoned a 1hr commute was about right, and with our great public transport the got us to a lot of schools!

After school stuff is a consideration if you have no car but really doesn't start to happen till year 9 for us unless they are exceptional musically and in the higher ensembles. The lower years clubs are at lunch time THey know kids get tired etc

Lenkamew Tue 11-Oct-11 09:11:22

He will be fine, my boy has a similar journey. The only thing I would say is that he will have lots of homework when he gets back and time spent relaxing is cut shorter, also going to school away from the local community will impact on his social life, we live in Teddington and my son's best mates live in Hammersmith. That said I have asked if he would be happier going to our local school (fat chance of a place! but that's a different issue lol!) and he said he likes where he is and wouldn't swop it.
If I could choose I would have him in a local school but there is always a compromise.....
Good luck with your choice x

notcitrus Tue 11-Oct-11 09:18:29

How often do the buses and trains go? If the bus only goes every 30 min he may have to leave very early to avoid being late. If every few mins, then probably fine, especially if others from his area do it.

Where I grew up (Surrey), almost everyone in my town had to get to the station, often a 20 min walk or a car ride, then take one train for 4 min, then wait 28 min, then another train for 3 min, then 10 min walk to school.

bubbles4 Tue 11-Oct-11 09:49:08

zookeeper,having been on previous threads with you,I know both of the two schools you have in mind and the horrendous traffic problems around both,have you planned the journey taking into fact those traffic problems and that both of these schools start their day before 9.00,dd goes to school near one of these schools,with a shorter journey(only train,no bus journey) and leaves the house at 7.30(ten minute drive to the station).

schilke Tue 11-Oct-11 11:18:10

Nothing wrong with it, but I would be worried about train bus connection. If train is late what will be the knock on effect on the bus journey. Also, as another poster mentioned, after school clubs could be a problem.

I would have to be very unhappy with the closer school to choose the one you're going for.

psammyad Tue 11-Oct-11 11:40:06

Are there lots of buses or would he have to make a specific connection?

plus point: 20 mins on the train is long enough to do a bit of homework (like vocab or reading) - but will he be able to miss the rush hour i.e. get a comfortable seat?

Will there be other children at the school making a long journey - this tends to make things easier.

ragged Tue 11-Oct-11 13:28:38

DS has been doing a similar journey since he was 10 blush.
You need to work thru contingency plans, what he should do if the train is cancelled, or so late he misses the bus, if the bus never turns up, etc.

ragged Tue 11-Oct-11 13:29:14

ps: the daily bus rides are the high points of DS's day, he loves the social time, I guess.

psammyad Tue 11-Oct-11 14:03:29

And check whether the journey home is as convenient as the one to school - I used to do bus-train-walk to school with straight connections, less than an hour door to door, but on the way home I had a 30 minute wait for the train, then an hour between the train & the bus home which all added up to getting home late.

Was fine for me as I could hang out with school friends till I caught the train, then mess around window shopping (or even go to the library!) till I caught the bus - but it's worth considering.

psammyad Tue 11-Oct-11 14:05:19

Totally agree with ragged about the social aspect of the bus rides btw.

Ladymuck Tue 11-Oct-11 14:37:34

The other thing to think about is how much kit does he need. 3 good friends assured me that the journey to our chosen school was straight-forward and no problem at all. They all had children doing the same journey, and, although older than ds, would be able to keep a distant eye on him.

I have since realised that apparently girls manage to take in their games kit on a Monday and leave it there until Friday. Their games tend to be mud-free. And they learn piano or flute.

DS is a rugby player and brings home a significant amount of Surrey mud, daily, and he learns the tuba as well as being in a brass band.

TootAndCommon Tue 11-Oct-11 19:10:56

Are the trains reliable? Is there a contingency if the trains really get messed up?

TheCatInTheHairnet Tue 11-Oct-11 19:21:52

I did a 20 mile, hour each way ride to school and it wasn't a problem at all. I just used to use the time to do my homework! I guess if you don't know any different, it isn't really an issue.

cat64 Tue 11-Oct-11 20:03:01

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