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Secondary school commute time(37 Posts)
Just wanted to start this to get an idea of commute times kids have. We have two options for DD either a outstanding state school that’s 2 local buses that she’s very familiar with and 40mins max. Or an amazing private school that she loves that’s 58mins door to door and is: bus, tube, tube, walk 6mins.
Obv to imagine her on the tube now is difficult but she’ll be 12/13 so quickly I don’t want to dismiss the option. Anyone with a similar commute?
AFAIK loads of secondary age kids travel on the tube every day in London. Dd spent a week in London in the summer (she is 17, we live elsewhere) and she remarked on how many 11yos she saw.
It's not just about commute to surely?
They do get used to commuting by bus/train/tube quickly and up to an hour is normal for many 11 year olds. As you say OP, the years roll by quickly. clary is correct, don't just base this on the commute - base this on how you and your DD feel about the school. Also, have a look at the leavers' destinations for both schools. How do they compare?
My newly yr 7 son walks for about 35 mins in a fairly straight line and even that gives me the collywobbles!!!
I think these kids who do a longer route with changes on bus and tube are bloody amazing. Yes I am a helicopter mum.
Maybe safety is a factor, as nights draw in it'll be dark for part of the route if she's walking is it safe lit roads or through a park? I suppose you could ask her if she's happy with the commutes and if so it's not a big deal either way. School choice should come first, all else being equal.
The private school journey sounds a bit arduous to me. As there are 3 seperate components, if something went wrong with any of those, the journey could potentially be a lot longer. Please take in to account the dark winter days and nights, crowded tube trains and starting secondary which is exhausting in itself. On the plus side, travelling independently is great for their confidence. A lot of the private schools lay on buses - is there a school bus route she could join part way through?
Forgot to say that the private option may still be available at year 9 and sixth form too.
DS2 has just started secondary and there's no way he is mature enough to handle the second journey. But we don't live in London.
DS1 would probably be fine with it but he's 13 (Year 9)
Mine have a 45 minute commute but its by car or school bus.
Looking at schools it is the ease of journey that I think is possibly more important. Less than an hour is my rule, but more than two easy changes and I would discount it. It feels like too much faff and too much risk of delay/something going wrong.
That second journey does sound exhausting - as other people have said a delay in any of the components is going to throw the whole thing out.
I don't think I would do it, honestly.
DD has a journey between 45 mins and an hour but it's a school bus that stops almost outside our front door.
The bus stops outside the house and its a very short journey from the tube to the school. There is also the option of 2 busses that's only 10mins longer if there is a delay on the tube. There are a couple of kids that she could meet en-route too. The school doesn't have a bus service but there is a buddy system based on kids post codes.
I would love for her to go to the local school 10mins walk away but she has an EHCP and it won't meet her needs. Hence why even the comp would be a 40min journey. Taking everything into account the private school would meet all of them aside from transport. Their pastoral care is amazing and we crossed it off until DDs speech and lang therapist said to rethink and see if we could make it work.
It is also only a 20min drive so emergencies this could work too and I could leave the car there and jump on the tube to work. Its in an odd area and you have to go into london and back up to get there unless you drive.
I think its also useful to point out that the school doesn't start till 8:50 so she won't be leaving home till 7:45
Are the busses reliable enough for a 2 bus journey? I know several people who have tried to get to work or study on 2 bus commutes only to find they were constantly late and missing their connections.
It sounds like your mind is made up so hopefully you can make the journey work (forgot to say she may have sports equipment/musical instruments etc on top of her school bag too). Any scope for anyone to drive her in or pick up a couple of days a week? I do this once a week as ds has a cumbersome instrument to take.
@astronotus it is an all through school but people do leave at end of GCSE's mostly to either selective comps or other private sixth forms. Their A Levels are great also. It isn't a very academic school, its 'alternative' with no uniform, first names and not many rules. The kids get to do lots of things like beekeeping, blacksmith and sailing. DD loves it and is prepared to do the journey. I think it is much easier to see how this journey goes and if its not working out move her to the state rather than waste the opportunity and not go. Tbh I mostly wanted to hear from people who have kids that have done a journey that long, I know lots of grammar school kids do. Would love to hear stories of when it worked and when it didn't and why. She also has a very good group of local friends from our religious community which all go to different schools so I'm not worried about social life. To put it into context she would be leaving the house at 7:45 and returning at around 5pm. Im very aware this is an extremely long day hence why I wanted some input based on experience.
The journey itself wouldn't worry me. Tubes and buses are generally very frequesnt in London, so unless the whole line is down there wouldn't be an issue. If a whole line is down, schools seems to be understanding (at least mine DCs schools are).
She will be very tired to start with though.
However, if she has an afterschool match, club, or activity, she would be getting home very late, not leaving much time for homework.
@MrsPatmore not at all. I'm 80% for the comp to be honest, I hated my commute to school but I know others that loved it and it was a social affair. I just think transport is only one part of the school but a massive one nonetheless. She will have years of commuting to work so i understand people that are against it.
@seeline the school has a 'choice' friday afternoon when clubs take place. If she finishes late my mum can pick her up or even I can after work as its enroute. I dont want to rely on that as obv i dont know if ill be working there for 5 years. Im also not a taxi service and she knows what time she needs to be home, but this will be the same in the comp.
When journeys in London don't work:
strikes - is there an alternative not having to use either the bus or the tube if one is not running at all?
weather - usually snow, but can be heat, wind etc. Again is it possible to walk the bus bit to the tube?
Major incident - I think schools will be understanding in this situation.
General delays/cancellations - in London there are usually alternatives that mean not to much of a delay in the overall journey time.
However you DD will need to be familiar with all the alternatives and be able to make decisions quickly.
Yea busses are not a worry. And tube is safer than bus in my opinion hence why I would prefer it.
I would check what the situation is re after school things. My DSs are at an independent school and 2 nights out of five there are compulsory after school things (sports training and CCF) plus if they get involved in a school production or something like that it can easily add another two late evenings. As such they often don't finish until 6pm. With then an hours journey back in the dark that would be too much IMO.
She can walk to the tube, its only 2 short stops, 10mins walk I put it down as a bus journey because shes lazy and i know she'll never walk realistically.
I think you have all bases covered then. If your DD is happy to do it (perhaps do a few practice runs with her to make sure she is happy with it), then it doesn't sound any more arduous than the journeys undertaken by many kids at my DCs indy schools on the edge of London.
OP, beekeeping, blacksmith and sailing sounds lovely. Must be a very interesting school. 7.45am - 5.00pm is a long day for a year 7 but by the time she is in year 8 she will be used to it.
@cloudtree I know for sure they have no compulsory after school things unless it is exams. It is up to her to take anything up after school, she knows how long it takes her to get home, I will try my best to support something she really wants to do but she will get to do a lot of fun things in the school day hence why she would be trekking to that school anyway. It is a very good point though, I definately do not want her finishing school at 6 even if we lived next door.
@astronotus Thanks, it does. I am 80% for the state just for personal reasons to do with snobbery and such. But thats much of a muchness in the grand scheme of things.
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