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 Post subject: So how far is too far?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:21 pm
Posts: 316
Hi all,

I am posting this on the Independent schools page (though really its relevant for maintained schools as well) but somehow I get the impression that parents are more inclined to travel further for a school they are paying for! (Obviously this is a gross generalisation, and certainly I know of people who travel from miles away to get into some of the local grammars.)

Anyway, I have started fretting about DC3 and where he will go for secondary education. The competition for grammars is so fierce in SW London, that although reasonably bright, the chances of him getting into one of them is tiny, so I'm widening the net and looking at independents. We have several within reasonably easy striking distance, but I am interested to know just how far children travel to get to a school they really love (or alternatively were just lucky to get into!)

So how far is too far? Anything up to an hour? 20 minutes on a train? Two buses with a 10 minute wait between? Personally, I would be interested in looking at Whitgift and Trinity - particularly because they seem to have quite a generous sponsorhip/bursary policy. But we live in borough of kingston, so a long old haul on two buses or a train into clapham and change. Pretty much everyone we know attends the nearest state school, so anything over a 10 minute walk is frowned on!

I suppose I'm looking for confirmation that I'm not being a desperately pushy mum by even contemplating that my DS get the train to school....... :oops:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:51 am
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well looking around on this site you soon realise that many children travel quite a way to their chosen school. Often this is because the grammar(for example) is not as local as the secondary - but still after passing the 11 plus is the nearest appropriate school for your child. So i wouldnt worry too much. How far -time wise- are the schools you are thinking off?
My dd2 goes to our nearest grammar and has to be out the house at 7.10 - hops on the bus at 7.20, the bus journey takes about 40 min. walks from bus stop to school where she arrives at about 8.10. An hour door to door, but seems quite a long time for our nearest grammar :lol: but thats the way it is. The children seem to get used to it very quickly.
dd1 chose to go to another grammar and her journey takes about an hour and ten mins.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:32 pm 
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Thanks Tiredmum,

I haven't got as far as doing the journey myself, but if we did look at those schools it would involve two trains (both quite short journeys though - 10/15 mins) but a wait in between trains and then a walk at the other end. Seems like a horrible commute for an 11 year old (I'm probably biased as I hate commuting myself :) )


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
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Location: london
I think it is definitely worth doing the journey yourself, at the time your son would. It will give you a much clearer idea of what it will be like for him. You will be able to see if there are lots of other children doing the same journey, which is probably the biggest single thing which might make it enjoyable! Along iwht the complexity of the journey you should consider train timetables etc (which of course may change!). My DC use the tube and the fact that there will always be another tube along in a minute makes a huge difference to their journey in that there is rarely any hanging around. On that note consider what you would do if there was a strike/line closure etc etc. We have several alternatives before we become taxi drivers but if we were solely dependent on the tube the past year would have been a nightmare. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:02 pm
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Our DS is looking at a 40 minute journey to either Petersfield or Portsmouth. I did the same length of journey daily to my own school in Glasgow, so I feel comfortable that this is not excessive. To be fair, I think only one leg of transport is reasonable (in Year 7 anyway), coupled with a walk at both ends.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:00 pm 
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2outof3 wrote:
Thanks Tiredmum,

I haven't got as far as doing the journey myself, but if we did look at those schools it would involve two trains (both quite short journeys though - 10/15 mins) but a wait in between trains and then a walk at the other end. Seems like a horrible commute for an 11 year old (I'm probably biased as I hate commuting myself :) )


when dd1 started grammar - shes year 11 now - the bus service didnt run at the right times so her and a couple of school friends used to take 2 trains. This involved first a 10 min train journey, then a 10 min wait, then a 5 min train journey followed by a 5 min walk to the school. A change of train sounds harsh but the door to door time was just over half hour which is fine and they managed it really well. When the bus finally sorted itself out the kids often chose the train as they prefered it.

I agree with others that you should try the journey at the time your dc would be doing it and see what you think :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:24 pm
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My DS takes about an hour to get to school. He can go by bus, train, or tube or a combination. Whichever route he takes requires a change. I think if you don't live in London you might think the journeys are horribly complicated, but each bit of the journey can be quite short.

My DS has adapted to it very easily and we think it well worth it, and yes it is good to have different options. It is useful to consider where they would need to walk, how busy it is etc as they can be a target for muggers in some areas (we have not experienced this personally).


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:29 pm
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Unfortunately in Hampshire we have no grammar schools and hardly any day schools for boys (north Hants) so DS will either have to leave home at 7.15am to be dropped off at bus stop for 7.30am school bus and an hour's journey to school in Farnborough or 7.40am bus with a 50 min journey to Petersfield. In all fairness Petersfield only 30mins by car but 50 mins on school bus. Not perfect but no other choice here I'm afraid. :( DD has a 10 min bus ride to her girl's school though.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:29 pm
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Kesteven wrote:
Our DS is looking at a 40 minute journey to either Petersfield or Portsmouth. I did the same length of journey daily to my own school in Glasgow, so I feel comfortable that this is not excessive. To be fair, I think only one leg of transport is reasonable (in Year 7 anyway), coupled with a walk at both ends.


Only 2 schools in Petersfield that I am aware of, so good luck tomorrow for exams at CC if applicable!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 4:40 pm
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2outof3, my ds is at Trinity and I can tell you that so many boys change trains at Clapham Junction that the school has a member of staff there for the first term to help boys get used to negotiating the station!!

As for Whitgift, when I visited I was shown around by a boy who travelled from Watford every day. :shock:

Do look into the school bus routes - they run from quite far afield and can be useful for the early days.


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