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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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ArabellaScott · 07/12/2021 10:43

@Largethighsbadeyes

This has "opening scenes of new ITV crime drama" written all over it

Yep. Too young, too dangerous. Please take action. I'm quite lax/liberal about kids being out on their own, but no.
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TheCreamCaker · 07/12/2021 10:45

I don't believe any 6 year old should be going to school alone, never mind on a trail as you've described.

The mother has to be somewhere else at 9am? The child getting to school safely with accompanied should be first priority.

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TheCreamCaker · 07/12/2021 10:46

I meant the child should be accompanied, in order to get there safely. Children should always take first priority.

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Instagram · 07/12/2021 10:47

This scares me! Please intervene and see if there is a breakfast club/childminder she could be taken to so the mum can keep her schedule and the child be safe.

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Helendee · 07/12/2021 10:48

I was sexually assaulted when I was walking back to school after coming home for lunch back in 1971, I was seven at the time so I guess you will know what I think.

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Gearedtoyou · 07/12/2021 10:48

Is this in UK? Where is there a narrow strip of "forest" sandwich between a residential area and an industrial estate?

My dad reckons his mum took him to school on his first day and after that he went on his own everyday, which is completely usual today in lots of countries, but not in UK.

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Hellocatshome · 07/12/2021 10:50

Is this in UK? Where is there a narrow strip of "forest" sandwich between a residential area and an industrial estate?

Loads of places, lots of industrial estates round here have sort of woodland/scrubland area behind them and then beyond that housing estates. They are the kind of places frequented by homeless people and teenagers up to no good.

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Gearedtoyou · 07/12/2021 10:53

@Hellocatshome

Is this in UK? Where is there a narrow strip of "forest" sandwich between a residential area and an industrial estate?

Loads of places, lots of industrial estates round here have sort of woodland/scrubland area behind them and then beyond that housing estates. They are the kind of places frequented by homeless people and teenagers up to no good.

Oh I agree there are woodland strips like that but OP insists it's "forest" like in Little Red Ridinghood
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recededpronunciation · 07/12/2021 10:54

Totally normal in the country I grew up in. Not normal in the UK and would be flagged as a safeguarding issue.

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EmmaWoodhousestreehouse · 07/12/2021 10:56

@Loveagingernut

Thank you all so much for agreeing with me on this.
I just needed to know that others thought the same as me.

I promise it is not fake. Tomorrow I will do something constructive about it.

Please ring children’s social care. Her actions are dangerous and neglectful. The welfare and safeguarding of children is all our responsibility. Don’t turn a blind eye, like so many do.
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EmmaWoodhousestreehouse · 07/12/2021 10:59

@Loveagingernut

The child is on the schools radar

I’ve just read all your updates. You don’t need to have a chat with the mum. You’ve said she lies to to you so she is likely to continue putting her child at risk. You need to report it to children’s social care and also the school. You can do this anonymously if it makes you uncomfortable. What I suspect would make you more uncomfortable though, is not doing anything and then something happens to the child. The mum is lucky to have you looking out for her.
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VaccineSticker · 07/12/2021 11:01

You should be reporting this to school/social services.
No sane mum or guardian would do this.
You shouldn't even be asking this question.
I doubt the mum will do anything even after telling her. Someone who has gone far down that path already means that she already neglects the child at other times not just in the morning.
This is child neglect, you are not qualified to deal with it. Do the right thing and refer to social services before anything happens to this child.
The poor poor child.

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Winniewonka · 07/12/2021 11:02

For everyone questioning where in the UK are there forests near residential/industrial areas, the OP said early on that they're in Scotland.
I have relatives in Scotland and there are loads of places that fit this description.

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ArabellaScott · 07/12/2021 11:04

we all walked to and from school by ourselves.

Yes, and there were far fewer cars, and cars were slower and smaller. Normally, that's the risk I worry about: traffic.

In this instance, though, it doesn't sound like choices are being made in the interests of the child's wellbeing. It may be dangerous not only because of opportunist people but because if she does it regularly people will know she does - it could put her at risk even from older children, for example.

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bubblesbubbles11 · 07/12/2021 11:14

"The mother has to be somewhere else at 9am? The child getting to school safely with accompanied should be first priority"

I completely agree with the above.
However, and please bear in mind that I have not read the whole thread and specifically I do not know in what ways the mother of this 6 year old is deceptive/untruthful , - BUT I do think the above summarises an ongoing lacuna in the UK in terms of childcare structures.

Specifically

  • they are limited and can be inconsistent (not every school has a breakfast club)
  • they are expensive (breakfast club, and all other childcare is eye wateringly expensive
  • and all against the backdrop of a culture/societal pressure on women which increases day by day - to carry on working when your children are babies/very young.
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bloodycoldagain · 07/12/2021 11:15

My six year old would bunk off in the woods all day if I let him do this Grin

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bloodycoldagain · 07/12/2021 11:18

@NativityDreaming

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

I think that's ridiculously overprotective. Children that age are well old enough to walk to school alone, and if they have safe walking route to school they should be allowed to exercise that independence.
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3WildOnes · 07/12/2021 11:19

If I lived in a country where this was routine I would be perfectly comfortable letting my 6 year old walk to school alone but not in the UK. Developmentally I think my children would have managed this fine.

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Tulips21 · 07/12/2021 11:22

Awful.
Cant believe the mother would feel this is ok.
I have a 6 yr old and there would be no time she would be going on that path until atleast high school and with friends.

You need to report this to school and tell the Mother

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ClaudiaJ1 · 07/12/2021 11:28

People talk about busy roads. Don't they have footpaths (sidewalks) and zebra crossings in the UK? The kids aren't actually walking in the road, are they?

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MLMshouldbeillegal · 07/12/2021 11:29

@RestingMurderousFace

A six year old shouldn't be walking anywhere alone should they?

I don't think there is a blanket rule. Schools in Scotland - where the OP says she is - do not have these rules about children up to a certain year having to be picked up by an adult. Here in suburban Glasgow it is VERY common for 7 or 8 year olds to walk a couple of streets home from school with friends. Or with older siblings. We live across the road from school, I can stand on my doorstep and see the door my children emerged from when they were 5 or 6. So I used to just stand at the window and they would look for me when leaving school and walk along the path to come home. I didn't ever take them to school in the morning after the first day, I would see them across the road then they would make the (100m) walk by themselves.

However, walking in the dark through woodland is a different matter, isn't it?
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PrtScn · 07/12/2021 11:34

I used to walk over a mile to school on my own when I was 6 but this was in the 80s and not through the woods, and hardly no traffic.
No way would I consider that acceptable now. My son’s primary school is round the corner from us but I’d still not let him walk there on his own, certainly not until he was near secondary school age anyway.

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Pixiedust138 · 07/12/2021 11:35

That's awful, dangerous and neglectful. Something bad will happen sooner or later. You could live with yourself if it did? I would talk to her mum about it and tell her it needs to stop or you'll report her to social services. The child's safety is more important than your friendship.

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cushioncovers · 07/12/2021 11:35

When my kids were in primary school one of the parents decided their 7 year old son was old enough to ride his bike on his own to school. On the way he fell off and hurt himself and was screaming his head off. It was us parents who still walked their kids to school that had to help him out and go and a staff member so that his parent who was at home could come to school to take their kid to the minor injuries unit.

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Lockdownbear · 07/12/2021 11:39

@ClaudiaJ1

People talk about busy roads. Don't they have footpaths (sidewalks) and zebra crossings in the UK? The kids aren't actually walking in the road, are they?

No kids are not walking on busy roads.
In order for it to be a 'safe walking route' it must have footpath and street lights.
Max safe walking distance for primary kids is a 2 miles, secondary kids 3 miles. Although most councils provide transport at 1 mile and 2 for secondary.

The path the Op is talking about must also have street lights.
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