Taking the tube or London Underground to school(35 Posts)
Does anyone have children taking the tube to school?
Particularly the Central Line to West End.
Mine don't because I wouldn't let them, but DS has a friend who has been travelling to St Paul's station from East London since he was 10 and he has been fine. I think he travels with his mum in the morning though and comes back on his own.
Mine don't (they walk and use the bus) but know plenty of children who do for at least a couple of stops, albeit from the end of Tube lines rather than once the trains are super busy.
Central Line would be a super busy one to travel on, particularly at rush-hour (more of an issue in the morning than at school home time though).
Central line will be a lot less busy once the Elizabeth Line (formerly “Crossrail”) opens in December.
Some kids do take the train or tube to school; but buses are free for under-16s in London, so most kids take the bus, even where a train or tube is available.
I suppose pretty much everyone who has a child at CLS or CLSG will have a child taking the tube (or Thameslink) solo into town every morning from Year 7 onwards.
I do wonder how it works in terms of lates etc. when there are strikes, but maybe it's a test of their ingenuity.
(Buses are also free for over 16s in school living in London boroughs).
DD takes tube to Oxford street (is only a short ride though). There is a 'sweet spot' - if she gets on before 7.50 is OK. Any later and it's rammed.
Plenty of kids travel by tube alone. I only took DD1 for a couple of days at the beginning of year 7 to get used to the journey (Northern line for her). By the end of the first week of school she asked to go alone. One of her primary school friends goes to Cardinal Vaughan and takes the central line, which is more busy, especially in the morning, but he doesn’t seem to mind too much.
what school is in west end? I only know primaries there.
Yes, DS does commute on the Central line, he was not particularly enthusiastic about this in year 7 to say the least, so I was commuting with him in the morning, particularly in winter, then he got used to it from summer term of year 7 onward. Coming back was always OK as they were a bunch of friends all starting together before dispersing.
Thanks for replies so far. My kids need to get from Ealing to Portland Place School.
The upside is they will build independence and not be afraid to travel across London.
The worries are coping with delays, rush hour, and altercations with kids from other schools, etc.
It’s good to hear there a lots of year 7 kids commuting by tube everyday.
Plenty of children age 11 upwards get on at Ealing Broadway. Lots of CLS and CLSG as a PP has mentioned. Also to Queen's College at Oxford Circus, Latymer, St Paul's, Queens Gate etc on the other lines but Central Line is fast and straightforward. I wouldn't worry.
Hmm. I would not be worried about the 'altercations with kids from other schools' at all!
You will need to establish the correct exit from Oxford Circus and they will stick to it, emphasise no hanging around after school (this will get harder as they get older and Urban Outfitters beckons). (you want to get on the tube there by 4.20 really or it gets quite hairy.)
Main problems will be the traffic - any roads to cross? Make sure they are not looking at any phones and wait for the light, don't be tempted to chance it - moped riders and taxi drivers show no mercy.
The only thing is to have a contingency plan if things go wrong -something DD was not very good at to start with. ie if the tube randomly stopped or an entrance was closed. Doesn't happen very often, but it does. (get above ground and ring me!)
I travelled on bus and tube from age about 8 (west London) at primary.
To draw parallels with the train network I know lots of DCs who travel miles on the suburban train network and they have a separate set of ‘train buddies’ that are different from their school friends and may be from different schools and year groups. It can be a very positive experience and not always something to be seen as bad and scary. When there was a railway derailment last year the school were pretty lenient about lateness for that week while trains couldn’t go through that area despite it affecting their absence stats, but some schools might not be quite so understanding.
What age? The tubes are pretty rammed around rush hour.
Travelling by tube on your own is pretty standard at 11. Once you have commuting children you start to notice how many there are.
You should also search tfl journey planner for alternatives should there be a tube strike. Trains, coaches (for example the Oxford Tube stops at Hillingdon and the Marble Arch), buses etc. A pain though.
I love the idea of rehearsing when things go wrong, e.g. alternate routes, call when above ground, etc.
Interesting to hear about the commuter friends. That’s much friendlier than my commute!
Good point about the distractions. Urban outfitters could be expensive...
Having lived in London and travelled on the tube for years I would never let my kids travel alone on the tube. It's not safe, I have been masturbated next to, touched up all sorts. Id never let a young child fend for themselves amongst adults in the rush hour. But that is just me.
Helpful Crouched 🙄
Year 7 isn't young (11, not 10 I think OP?) and although Crouch's experiences are horrible, at least on a tube there are likely to be more people around than walking. All mine had hairy experiences on the last leg- in our v leafy street rather than on the tube or bus. Encourage your dc to stick near a woman with children and don't zone out
as I often do and find themselves alone in a carriage having missed the stop.
If the child has a level head, a phone (not for fiddling with), a book, a map (always!), has several dry runs, knows what to do if there is an evacuation or if the station is closed (as sometimes happens for over crowding), which Starbucks to sit in and wait if there is a problem... you need a Disaster Plan (so if the network goes tits up, they go straight back to school or find somewhere safe and call mum/dad).
Maybe there are other children doing a similar run? Can you go with them for a while to see if there is anyone else doing the run?
A child at DS school would travel all the way into London by train (about 35 mins) then get a tube to another mainline station to get the last train to school. This was prep school and she managed it alone for 3 years.
Each child is different, ideally DC will travel with at least one friend. Go with DC to begin with, let him/her have a go on her own and see how it goes. An intelligent child will find alternative routes if needed and will come back home very proud of himself telling you all about it. But nevertheless quite worrying in year 7/8 and then its fine
Crouchendmumoftwo I've had similar happen but mainly when I was very much younger (and less confident), and sufficiently infrequently to not consider it to be a given of Tube travel. It's not even something I considered as one of the 'risks' when first reading this thread. I know of DC who've been inappropriately touched on the bus, or flashed at en route home (walking), so it's not unique to the Underground.
OP I would consider doing more than one recce of the entire area around the Tube stop where you're DC will be getting on/off just to familiarise them with alternative transport options. Children need to know how to navigate themselves (on foot, if need be) without getting into a panic, in the event of their normal route/mode of transport not being available. I think this is vital for their peace of mind and for yours too!
Hopefully your DC will make friends quickly and find that he has travel 'buddies' for at least part of his journey. That makes a difference although it brings with it different issues (waiting for friends and ending up being late for school being the main one!).
Issues of transport and independence seem like huge mountains to climb for all but a very few 11 years olds starting at secondary school. However, usually within a term or so they're confidently navigating journeys here, there and everywhere.
To my mind it is all part of being a parent to educate children to use public transport safely, independently and confidently.
Good luck to your DC, OP.
Thanks for that, Crouched . All three of mine have taken the tube from 10/11, no problems at all.
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