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Moving up to high school, do they take themselves to school and back ?

(33 Posts)
crikeybill Fri 04-May-12 12:37:07

My DD1 will be moving up to high school ( year 7 ) in September. She will be 11 and 6 months. The school is a bus ride away.
At present I walk her and her sister to primary school every morning on my way to work and DH does pick up.

Its going to be impossible for me to take her to school as I need to take dd2 to primary school, I dont drive and the school is a bus journey in the other direction.

Does she go by herself ? Is it normal at this age ? She has never gone anywhere by herself, let alone on the bus ?
What do I do ? Should I start letting her take small bus journeys as practice ? is she too young ? Aggghhhhhhh Shes my baby !!!

ExitPursuedByABear Fri 04-May-12 12:40:15

Is it a dedicated School Bus? My DD started getting the bus to school towards the end of Y5, but it is a school bus, they were seen across the road after school, and the bus stops right outside our house grin.

Are there other pupils doing the same journey from the same stop? I think it is the norm, so definitely get her used to the travails of journey by bus.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 04-May-12 12:43:02

Yes! At secondary they don't want to be seen dead with parents!grin

I 'trained' my two (who both walk to school though bus is option) by walking with them so they knew the route, then behind them at a distance. Also let them do errands on their own to build up confidence. So you could do the same thing but by bus - so she knows how to buy a ticket, how to get off and exactly where etc.

By the end of her first fortnight it will be as though she's never done anything else smile

minesawine Fri 04-May-12 13:11:10

My DS is in year 6 and I have exactly the same issue as you. I currently take him and his sister in the car, but will not be able to in September. Over the last month, I have started letting him get the bus home by himself three days a week. He was nervous at first but now thinks it is fantastic. I then got him a childrens oyster card and he is so proud to be using it and feeling like a big boy. Last week I let him take his mobile phone to school for the first time, just so he learns about only taking it out when he needs to and not advertising it to older kids, this was fine as useful because I could call him when he was 0.00001 second late home!! Yesterday I let him collect his sister and bring her home on the bus (she is Year 4) and whilst I felt sick with anxiety, they though it was brilliant.

I am no longer worried. He will be fine and I have cover if I need my DD to be collected. I hope it does not change when he travels with his friends in September and wants to 'hang out' rather than coming straight home.

BackforGood Fri 04-May-12 13:25:51

Part of your problem is, the bit where you say she has never gone anywhere by herself. shock
You mean she's already 11, and never gone round to a friends, or to the library, or the park, or to post a letter, or go to the local shop ?????
I think you need to start letting her practice all these things NOW. she needs to be able to judge traffic, etc.
The actual bus journey, you'll find quite a lot of parents going on with them in the holidays, to show them the route and where to get off, and then on again to come home.
Why not let her walk to and from school now, on her own (you can set out a few minutes later with her sister), to at least get used to that journey which she already knows well.

LapsedPacifist Fri 04-May-12 13:42:43

Yes, she should be getting herself too and from school if it's only a bus ride away.

You'll need to do the journey a few times with her so she knows the ropes, and make sure she has a mobile phone that's charged up and in credit in case of emergencies. Find out if any of her friends who live nearby will be making the same journey. DS used to meet up with a couple of mates at the tube station and they all travelled together.

crikeybill Fri 04-May-12 13:44:38

Oh I know backforgood it sounds terrible doesnt it. She has gone to friends houses and to parties etc but I take her there and drop her off. No she has never gone to the park by herself .....whispers......even though you can see it from the kitchen wondow blush ......and she hasnt gone to the local shop either. To be fair though there isnt one around here within a 15/20 minute walk.

I totally see your point about letting her learn to judge traffic etc. I thought the exact same thing the other day actually when we were going to school. I am hindering her by not letting her do these things I know. The thing is, as with a PP's child I know she will LOVE doing these things alone as she very much wants to grow up at the moment..
I think I will start with the suggesiton of letting her walk by herself while Dd2 and I follow 5 mind later.
Then perhaps a trip to town on the bus with me behind in stealth mode lol.
When are they old enough to have an Oyster bus pass then ?

hackneyLass Fri 04-May-12 14:34:24

Start with little steps at a time: when you are walking to & from primary school let her walk in front of you; then let her set off a few minutes before you. You'll want her to get used to her front door keys so make sure she gets home before you. And on the buses let her sit some rows in front of you and decide when to get off.

As a secondary school kid she'll be mortified if you were to tag along with her. You've got about 9 weeks of term and 6 weeks of holiday to practice. She'll be fine and love the independence.

tumbleweedblowing Fri 04-May-12 14:38:02

At the DCs old primary, they were encouraged/asked to walk to and from school by themselves for the whole of the final term. It seemed to work very well, even in an urban area. They were also encouraged to "practice" getting the bus to the secondaries a couple of times before their transition visits.

We now live in a small town, and almost all DCs walk to school by themselves from aged 5!!!!! shock

tumbleweedblowing Fri 04-May-12 14:39:53

Oh and.....

Kisses goodbye on the lips no longer acceptable. Forehead at a push, but even then, they must be seen to be pulling away!

supernannyisace Fri 04-May-12 14:47:11

DS has been catching a bus to school since the start of Year 7. It is not a dedicated school bus - and there are occasions when the bus misses/he misses the bus.. We deal with it. He has a mobile so can let me know if there is a major issue. It is approximately 3 miles so a little too far to walk on a regular basis, but he could walk home if absolutely necessary.

In his last year at primary he walked alone to and from school too. It is only five minutes - with one road to cross - but children should be doing this and more.

DSs are taken by car to High school - Years 7 and 10. Their school is only 20min walk max - but their mother takes them and collects them. I would have been mortified if my DM had picked me up from school!

You have until September to encourage her independance - send her to the shops and to friends houses etc. Do the bus journey together a couple of times to get used to the route and landmarks to watch out for just before her stop.

janinlondon Fri 04-May-12 14:49:00

Oyster pass for 11-15 year olds is what you need. Let her walk to school for the summer term, and make the new school trip with her once or twice in the holidays, then get her to do it (at the time she will have to do it - this is crucial!!) herself. I never imagined last year that by now my year 7 DD would be taking two trains (and finding an alternative route by bus when trains fail!) to school each morning, but these days she even buys her own monthly ticket and tops up her own phone using the debit card attached to her own account. They learn fast!

ReallyTired Fri 04-May-12 14:54:11

Ds has been walking or cycling to school since year 4.

It hard to give your daugher the chance to walk to school when you have your younger child who still needs to be walked to school. I suggest you get her to walk to a friend's house or let her go to the shops by herself.

With my son I have gradually given him more independence as he got older. Ie.

Infants: Escort to classroom
lower juniors: drop off at school gate.
year 4: Helped him across the one busy road, but let him walk the rest of the way
year 5: He walks to school by himself.

Fizzylemonade Fri 04-May-12 16:44:09

Ds1 is only in year 4 but he already gets to make the decision when to cross the road, I just stand next to him with ds2 waiting for him to cross.

I did this because the secondary schools are in the opposite direction of the primary school from our house.

Depending on how long the bus ride is, don't forget that everything looks very different in the dark so if there is the possibility that she will be on the bus in the dark in winter, you will need to make sure she knows what to look out for.

I used to catch two buses to school and two back, at 11. No mobile phones back then and no-one waiting at home when I got in.

Popoozle Fri 04-May-12 17:10:04

I feel for you OP - I am in the same situation grin.

DS is going up to Secondary school in September and will be using the school bus (we live in a village and the school is 3 miles away in the nearest town). He has never been out of the road on his own before & I'm feeling a bit like I'm feeding my baby to wolves allowing him to use the school bus grin.

outmonday Sun 06-May-12 20:19:45

A few weeks before starting secondary school is very very late to be finding that your DC is very very late learning normal independence. Did you let them into the swimming pool before they could swim? Over-protection does children no favours.

mumeeee Sun 06-May-12 20:54:22

Yes. All my DDs started going to school by themselves in year 6 to get them ready for going to high school.

EdithWeston Sun 06-May-12 20:58:25

Yes, and you need to start training them. Mine started in summer year 5 on the (deeply familiar because done with mummy) route to and from primary. Also dry runs on the new route.

I thought it was too much to do unfamiliar route and being alone as a double whammy. So in your shoes, I'd be looking for opportunities to learn about being sensible when out alone now.

Clary Sun 06-May-12 21:02:10

I think it is well past time that you let her get to and from primary by herself. She is 11 now and able to manage that.

The school bus will be fine, there will be others I assume taking it. Practise with some bus trips (with you) and explain what to do etc.

FWIW my DD started walking to school with a mate from the end of yr 4 ie when she was just turned 9. Now at almost 11 she won't countenance me picking her up!

It's more the culture at our school tho I am glad to say - most yr 6s and plenty of yr 5s get themselves to and from school. Try and see if you can give your DD a bit of freedom/independence in these last few months of primary. Summer/long evenings make it the ideal time. smile

HandMadeTail Sun 06-May-12 21:04:56

Crikeybill, you can apply for an oyster as soon as she is 11. Do so, as they can take a bit of time to come through.

I took my DD on the train and walked up to the school on the holidays. I made the mistake of not doing the return journey - DH came and picked us up. But the return journey is, of course, slightly different, so it might be a good idea to do the whole round trip.

cece Sun 06-May-12 21:17:13

My dd is in Yr 6 at the moment. I started letting her gain some independence in Yr5. Initially she was allowed to walk to where I park the car after school. This is a few mins walk from the school. This has gradually increased. We live about mile and half from her Junior school, she is currenlty walking about half way home in the afternoons. I meet her in a certain road and drive her the rest of the way. The plan is for her to walk the whole way by July. In the morning I drop her by the shops, where she meets her friends and they all walk to school together.

I think you need to start letting her run some errands and walk around to some friends houses.

Needmoresleep Sun 06-May-12 21:47:07

DC went to and came home from school on their own using public transport from about Yr 4.

Starting secondary was interesting. DC are naturally quite cautious, as kids ought to be growing up in Central London. But they are self-reliant and able to read tube maps and train timetables and get themselves around. There were some kids who had been taken to and from school all through Primary, who seem not to have developed the same sense of caution along the way, and a few frantic mothers waiting at home as their kids goofed off in the park.

Gaining responsibility has to be a continuum. If kids are still being taken everywhere well into secondary, how to they develop their own capacity to weigh up risks and to be responsible. There are a lot more dangers facing teenagers than primary aged children.

Find some summer holiday activities. Take her on the first day and then let her go on her own. Follow her if you need to first time. Soon you will realise the advantages of letting go a little.

invicta Sun 06-May-12 21:54:36

Start preparing your child gradually. I used to to get my eldest ds ( now in year 7), to make the decesion when we crossed the road etc. I also let him wander around the shops by himself, buy things in shops etc so he got used to handling money.

He is now confident using public transport, buying things etc, and has grown up and is so independent now.

workshy Sun 06-May-12 22:04:47

my 2 DCs are 2 years appart so we have the whole 'you may as well walk with me since we are all going to the same place anyway' thing too

I have started sending her out the door a few minutes before me and then she sees me in the playground so I know she is there ok

also one day a week she does sport after school so rather than picking the younger one up, going home for half an hour, then having to go back again, I let her come home by herself but we discussed the route which isn't our normal one as I'm more comfortable about her crossing by herself in a different place and she is fine with that and quite enjoys the walk home in peace

laptopcomputer Sun 06-May-12 22:09:13

I am shock at all these children that have never done anything on their own before! Even more shock at the ones that haven't crossed a road ont heir own??

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