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6 year old walking to school alone via a woodland track
327

Loveagingernut · 06/12/2021 22:17

I am looking for others views, maybe I’m being too protective and should be promoting independence.

Back story….
School walk via roads and pavements is over a mile long, however there is a short cut through woodland area where the track is just less than half a mile but it is classed as a forest. On the left of the forest is an industrial estate with approx 60 different businesses. Due to the nature of 80% of these businesses, they mainly employ men. On the right of the forest there is a residential area and the primary school.
The track is popular with dog walkers, teenagers going in the opposite direction to the secondary school use this short cut, and lots of men that walk or cycle to their employment in the industrial estate.

So this is my concern…..
A young mum, that I support, was walking her 6 year old daughter to school via the track, but I have found out that in the cold, winter, dark mornings, the child is now walking to school alone on this route. She doesn’t need to cross any roads so no safety issues there but am I being over protective thinking it’s not acceptable for a 6 year old taking this route on her own.

Mum isn’t taking her, because she has to be elsewhere for 9am and doesn’t have the time to take her daughter to school, thus allowing daughter to walk through the forest alone.

Am I being too protective or do I promote independence.

OP's posts:
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secular39 · 07/12/2021 09:39

@flymetotheloon

By the way what did this bit mean in your op?

"Am I being too protective or do I promote independence."

Whose independence? Are you the mother? If you're a professional involve with supporting the family an are asking for advice on mumsnet then I agree you need firing, or if a volunteer checking in with your organisations safeguarding officer.

Very odd post.

Exactly. You support the parent, just tell her and explore childcare are options with her.
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shouldistop · 07/12/2021 09:39

@BestZebbie

Usually schools don't allow pupils to walk alone until year 5 or 6?
So by general rule of thumb, 6 (year 1) is Too Young.

Our school has no recommendations on when children can walk alone. They wouldn't even know who was arriving by themselves.
Only p1 parents are allowed in the playground so I suppose the teachers would know about the 5 year olds but no one older than that.
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Gonnagetgoing · 07/12/2021 09:41

No way is that safe and even as an adult alone in that situation I could feel unsafe.

Child murderers, paedophiles, etc are all around, they never go away but sometimes seemingly stay underground and only takes one to spot an innocent child alone in a secluded place and easy to prey on.

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Halloweiner · 07/12/2021 09:41

Gosh this is terrifying. I couldn't imagine my similar aged DC doing this even if I wanted them to, they'd be scared witless.

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hivemindneeded · 07/12/2021 09:42

There must be some more suitable options. Does the school have a breakfast club? Could the mum drop her earlier and then go on to college? Is there a walking bus system the mum could get involved with. Or another local mum who uses the same short cut who would take her three mornings a week? Can you help the mum to sort out a suitable alternative like one of these, that doesn't compromise her college work but doesn't put her daughter in danger.

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Kitkat151 · 07/12/2021 09:42

@BestZebbie

Usually schools don't allow pupils to walk alone until year 5 or 6?
So by general rule of thumb, 6 (year 1) is Too Young.

It’s not schools decision when children can walk/bike to school alone... it’s the parents decision.... lots of children I know go to school on their own from year 3 onwards( key stage 2) ....it’s quite normal where I live ( only one quietly busy road to cross that has a lollipop lady)
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Goonie2000 · 07/12/2021 09:44

You're seriously wasting time asking everyone on here what they think!? This is a six year old, six year olds shouldn't be alone anywhere! Report it before a tragedy happens. Stupid selfish woman doing this to her child, everyone else finds a way to manage the school run, crap like this makes me so angry

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stingofthebutterfly · 07/12/2021 09:51

A 6 year old should not be walking anywhere by themselves, especially at this time of year when it's dark.

Doesn't surprise me that you've focused on the men though, rather than the mum's lack of responsibility. Typical Mumsnet agenda.

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julieca · 07/12/2021 09:54

It shocks me the number of adults on this thread saying they wouldn't do this. There is something wrong with our culture that an adult would be afraid to do this.

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oakleaffy · 07/12/2021 09:54

@SaraSidleWillows

So, to me, you’re all a bit overprotective (and putting your nose where it doesn’t belong, it’s not abuse, it’s not your kid, it’s not your business)- but then England always did seem a little coddly.

Honestly though, she’s been shown the route. It’s half a mile. Contrary to popular opinion, there is not a around every corner.

Leave this poor woman alone. Fancy “stepping in” with a child you’re not related to. If the mum lies to you perhaps she doesn’t WANT you stepping in!

Your tone sounds very like the hairdresser in the Arthur case.
''Not your business''

The mother is a feckless person putting her child at risk letting her walk alone at age 6.


Anyone with the merest shred of responsibility can see this.

It is hardly ''Coddling'...and it's not England, it's Scotland where this is happening.
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sunshinesupermum · 07/12/2021 09:55

The saddest thing about this thread is how much has changed since I was a child in the 50s. Walked to and from school on my own from age 6 and no one batted an eyelash. Same for many other kids.

You are right to be concerned OP but more because who knows if there is other neglect that you don't see particularly as you say the mum is manipulative and only tells you what you want to hear.

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mowglika · 07/12/2021 10:00

Absolutely no, the child is 6 years old. I’m shocked at some parents on here. I grew up in the 70s/80s and no way my parents would have let me walk alone to school at that age

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 10:02

@sunshinesupermum

The saddest thing about this thread is how much has changed since I was a child in the 50s. Walked to and from school on my own from age 6 and no one batted an eyelash. Same for many other kids.

You are right to be concerned OP but more because who knows if there is other neglect that you don't see particularly as you say the mum is manipulative and only tells you what you want to hear.

Even on the most basic issue, roads aren't the same as they were in the 50s. On your mile+ walk how many ambulances would whizz past you on average? Fire engines? How many articulated lorries on your route? How many other vehicles just on the road?
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Skysblue · 07/12/2021 10:11

Tell the school.

My suggestion would be the mum either finds someone else to take her, or gets up earlier and takes her to before school care. That’s what it’s there for! Most people have to be somewhere else at 9am.

The mum is being negligent.

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PineappleWilson · 07/12/2021 10:12

Our school wouldn't allow a 6 year old to turn up unaccompanied but she certainly shouldn't be doing this walk alone.

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Almostmenopausal · 07/12/2021 10:16

@Loveagingernut
If you know it's happening and you haven't already put a stop to it, even by just walking with the 6 yr old (not that you should have to but I bloody would if I knew a 6yr old was walking alone!), then you are just as much to blame as the mother!!!!!

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Almostmenopausal · 07/12/2021 10:18

@Lessofallthisunpleasantness

In the UK people don't give their kids much freedom so maybe not but in other countries yes.

In Japan my relatives kids walked to school from age 5. The parents only took them on the first day.

I don't care where you are in the world, that is lazy parenting! Neglectful lazy parenting
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EerieSilence · 07/12/2021 10:20

I have a very weird feeling about this thread.
It's like you're trying to paint the woman as a very irresponsible and manipulative woman who's not a good parent first and then suddenly you defend her. Then, again, she's a liar.
Can't really figure it out.
If you know the family so well, why don't you offer to work out a plan? I wouldn't have a problem with a 6y old walking a short distance to school on her own or with friends but it's too dangerous through a park or woods. My DD has been walking to school on her own since she was 10, she crosses two roads so we wanted her to be a bit more mature.

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KeepYaHeadUp · 07/12/2021 10:21

I'm thinking about my own 6 year old walking himself to school in this scenario and it makes me feel sick

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EerieSilence · 07/12/2021 10:22

@Almostmenopausal but Completelybonkers?
Why would it be lazy parenting? Looks like children are safe and it's the thing to do, accepted by society which, I presume, is supportive of this kind of independence.

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Dixiechickonhols · 07/12/2021 10:23

In England no not acceptable. If you support mum through work or a charity just follow their procedures to raise a safeguarding issue. And raise with the school.
I can’t understand how school haven’t realised she’s arriving alone and muddy.

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julieca · 07/12/2021 10:27

@Almostmenopausal in countries like Switzerland you would be reported for being crazy overprotective and holding back a child's development.
Every country has different ideas of how you bring up kids. It is what can make living in some countries so challenging. As I said I lived in a large village in Switzerland. If I had not allowed my 6-year-old to walk some places alone I would have been seen as a terrible mother. To them it would be equivalent to putting a 6-year-old in nappies because you cant be bothered toilet training, or still giving a non-SEN child milk in a bottle.
So you can label parents in other countries lazy if you want, they would also label British parents as smothering and holding back their children's development.
My view? Different countries get some things right and some things wrong.

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Kennykenkencat · 07/12/2021 10:29

MeanderingGently

This thread is really sad
Sad because of the number of people who think a 6 year old shouldn't walk to school alone. Of course a 6 year old can walk to school alone, there's nothing wrong with that, why the hell should it be a safeguarding issue
Attitudes like this explain exactly why kids in the UK grow up over-protected and unable to do anything by themselves

I agree that walking to school alone is fine. But what about the one time she isn’t alone?

What is sad is that in the U.K. a young child walking alone is a safeguarding issue.
Only this week we had a group of men offering to buy a little girl from her mother at the school gates. Do you think they would have even offered if the little girl was alone.

Much younger friend was assaulted feet away from people passing by
It only takes a moment to be assaulted or snatched. Someone could follow this girl each day waiting for that window of opportunity.

Growing up in the 60s there were very few cars, we would play out in the streets and wander far and wide.
Then children started to disappear and we were never allowed out of our own street to play again.

Certainly weren’t allowed to go to school alone from then on

Friend who moved to a country where walking to school alone was the norm was quite scared to let her then 7 year old walk alone but then realised they weren’t alone as there seemed to be groups he joined to walk with.

Out of interest does the girl walk back from school alone or does her mum collect her?
Not sure what time school finishes but is it still daylight by the time she gets home if she walks alone. Sometimes at 4.30pm where we are it looks pitch black outside.

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mam0918 · 07/12/2021 10:42

Well, I wouldn't do it personally... but looking back on when I was younger it really wouldn't have been unusual.

We played in the wood alone all the time as kids, I was older before my mam let me (probably 8-ish) but several of the kids were 5-6 years old and my mam was often accused of being overprotective.

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NativityDreaming · 07/12/2021 10:42

Our primary school will not allow any child in Y5 or below to arrive or leave school alone.

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