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Travelling alone to and from secondary school

(17 Posts)
Thomasina76 Thu 19-Jan-17 15:10:02

Just wondering what the general rule is when kids start secondary school. Are they expected to travel there and back alone, aged 11? We are in London so would involve either a tube or bus journey. Just seems a lot for an 11 year old and wondering how I would get both my sons to school when one is at primary and one at secondary. Or are they sufficiently mature by 11 to go alone? DS is currently 8 so hard to imagine what he will be liked in 3 years.

Scarydinosaurs Thu 19-Jan-17 15:14:28

How long is the journey? Will he have friends nearby making the same journey?

nocampinghere Thu 19-Jan-17 15:16:42

yes they all go alone. they grow up enormously between now and Christmas!

Seeline Thu 19-Jan-17 15:16:42

Most kids manage it I think. My DS has a train and a bus, DD just the bus. We practices the route during the summer holidays so thattehy knew what they were doing.

Foldedtshirt Thu 19-Jan-17 15:19:17

It's hard to envisage when they're 8, but yes, they make their own way.

LemonBreeland Thu 19-Jan-17 15:19:53

My best friend used to get two buses across London at that age and it seems it's perfectly normal. It is time to start giving your DC some freedom if they don't currently have it.

Although I don know some seriously over protective parents who won't allow their high school aged children to walk across our small town in Scotland, as apparently the traffic is too bad. My DC has been allowed to walk across the town since 9 years old, it is really safe.

Thomasina76 Thu 19-Jan-17 15:32:55

Thanks all. The journey and whether or not he has friends going with him will depend on the school he goes to. The school I would love him to go to (but he is v unlikely to get into) is a 15 minute bus ride away and I would have no problem with that. Other schools would involve either getting the tube (5 minute bus ride to the tube then 30 minutes on the tube) or 2 bus rides totally maybe 30-40 minutes. LemonBreeland, not sure what more freedom he should have at 8 years. I would definitely not be comfortable letting him walk to school alone if only because of cars/traffic nor would I leave him alone in the house (I've seen cases where parents have been prosecuted for negligence for leaving a child this age alone). He is actually very feisty and independent and would love to walk to school alone but I would not take the risk.

LemonBreeland Thu 19-Jan-17 15:45:33

Sorry OP I missed that he was 8. I thought you meant he would be going to high school next year. Obviously a bit young for much freedom yet. That is something you can build up over time so he feels ready for travelling to school alone.

Laniakea Thu 19-Jan-17 15:54:46

dd has been since year 7 (now y11). She walks with dh to the local train station then train on her own to big town, change train to little village then get bus. Honestly she's been absolutely fine - loads of kids do it & manage smile

(dd was home educated until then so was her first experience of both school & travel)

TawnyPippit Thu 19-Jan-17 15:57:49

I know you think it will never happen, but it will and it will be a bit nerve-wracking to start with, and you may get the occasional hiccup, but all will be well.

My DC get to a London school on a public bus and are absolutely fine. They can also work out alternative routes if the transport goes down, plus get to their mates houses, get themselves back from eg Games field and to and from local shopping areas and places of interest (am thinking trampolining warehouse rather than the London Eye!).

Don't forget your DC will have a mobile by the time they are travelling and you can keep in touch with them by that quite easily. There are good apps showing real time bus/tube/train times which helps them.

In the later part of Y6, you will find that they will want more independence and also the school start ensuring they get it. My DCs started walking back from home with mates and to our local shops around that time (others may do it earlier - it depends a lot on where you live, what the journey is like etc).

The one thing that I think helps is just doing journeys by public transport together. DD had some friends who were ferried absolutely everywhere by car all through primary and genuinely looked bewildered when they were expected to get somewhere by themselves. My DC were at least habituated to all modes of public transport by then.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 15:59:14

I live in London. All the kids go alone as far as I know. DS has to get a train or a bus, plus walk through estates and cross major roads. They'll be fine honestly.

NotCitrus Thu 19-Jan-17 16:19:52

Lots of Y7s in my area get two buses plus a 10-minute walk, or train plus 15 min walk. Seem to spend most of Y6 practising travel, with dire threats from their parents if they don't phone/text to say where they are.

Y5 and 6 can leave primary school and walk home with permission, so many do. I will insist mine walk via a traffic light and lots of minor crossings rather than the nasty staggered T-junction shortcuts, but that's a couple years away...

Thomasina76 Thu 19-Jan-17 22:21:56

Thanks all, really helpful. Sure he will be more than ready and it will be me who won't!

Blu Thu 19-Jan-17 22:41:51

He will be fine, and raring to go!
Now is a good age to start gently encouraging him to take note of what you do. Get him to look at the tube map when you are going somewhere. And look at the signs for different lines. How to find the right bus stop by looking at the destinations and map.

Demonstrate that it doesn't matter if you get the wrong tube, you can just go back, etc,

Most London 11 year olds that I know are experts on bus routes. They have their Zip cards and get everywhere.

sydenhamhiller Sun 22-Jan-17 17:24:35

I am in SE London, and my y6 DD walks 15 min to her primary and my y8 son walks to station, takes a train, then walks/ catches bus 2 min (!) to school. I was consumed by guilt for making him do this journey when most of his primary school friends were going to be walking to school/ taking a bus 2 stops. And especially as he was a particularly 'dreamy' boy.

But he grew up an amazing amount in the last couple of terms in Y6, and suddenly I could see that he would be able to manage. And he has one of the easiest commutes of his peers - some kids bus/ tram/ and train it. there have been blips, but he has learnt to ask/ look at routes on phone/ call me, and now he often sorts out a new route and doesn't even tell me! I am so impressed with him: this is a boy who could not find the shoes on his feet at the beginning of y6 smile

I was going take him to school on his first day, with his younger siblings - he allowed us to walk him to the station and no further...

BackforGood Mon 23-Jan-17 00:09:25

Don't fret. They mature enormously between now and then smile
3 weeks into their first term, you wonder what you were worrying about.

Over time, it's worth gradually getting them used to different things - travelling on the tube with you / using their own ticket or pass to open gates / looking at noticeboards / going and asking people they don't know things (in shops, at the station, etc.). I was going to say paying on the bus, but I understand from MN that dc don't pay in London ? Crossing roads - travelling somewhere local on their own (post box / local shop / etc) Opening the front door with their key. Shutting the front door and giving it a little push to check it locked... all these tiny things to become habits so not something the have to think about.

normastits5 Mon 23-Jan-17 19:54:44

My DS is yr 7 in a London school. I drive him to tube station as it's on my way to work, he hops on the tube, has to change lines then it's a ten minute walk at other end. I worried a lot at first but there was no need. He picked up the journey quickly including alternative route in case of issues. Mobile phone is obviously a must in order to keep in touch and ask for advice in the early days .

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