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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:42 pm
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Hi everyone,
Something has been playing on my mind a little bit. To all those with children already at Secondary/Grammar schools, if your child (like mine), has never particularly used public transport, definitely never on his own yet. How did you introduce it for their travel to school? Our DS may have to get 2 trains, albeit short journeys or a bus which I believe is a public service not just a school bus. I keep having visions of pathetically over-protective mummy dear, accompanying him on the trip & realising that this can't be possible!! Do we accompany on a trial run? Do we accompany on first day only? Oh what to do?? :oops: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:37 pm 
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My friend's DD went to a school which was a 25 min train journey away. She did a trial run with her and then for a week or so accompanied her on the train. Then 2nd week she would walk to the station with her DD and make sure she got on the right train and the DD would text home once at school. By about the second month DD was doing the journey herself, but would (and still does) text home once at school.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 212
Location: Lincolnshire
Our DS had very rarely used public transport,other than the odd bus with me before GS.
His trip to school is now a car journey-10 to 20 minutes depending on traffic,then a half hour train journey,followed by a ten minute walk !
I only did the train journey once with him,on the 'taster day' in the July. After that he was more than happy to go it alone,& his train journey friends actually text or call him if he seems late getting to the station in the morning ! The school itself has no problem at all with mobile phones as the majority of pupils travel in some distance,as long as they are turned off for lessons.
We've only had one real problem & that was during the dreadful snow earlier this year,when school was let out early then the train broke down halfway home ! DS & his friends thought it was an adventure-that certainly wasn't what the station master called it :lol:
My worst 'fear' is the way the pupils dodge the traffic to get to school after leaving the train,especially if it's running late :( My now 'seasoned' young traveller & his pals see no problem at all !


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:29 am 
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Our son takes two buses, both public services, not very far but takes a long time. His mum took him on a trial run during the summer holidays and then he did a second trip a few weeks later with an out-of-town relative who hadn't a clue where they needed to go, so he had the psychological support but had to sort things out for both of them. He'd been pretty sheltered and wasn't at all streetwise but managed fine. Only ever texts on way home and then usually to find out what he's allowed to eat when he gets in.

There are a lot of boys from his school on the second bus and they all started to get together right from the first day; obviously if you're hanging around you'll prevent that, so I wouldn't go on the second leg with him unless it's unlikely there will be anyone else.

Mike


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:31 am 
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My DSs take two trains. To an area that we really hadn't known before they started school.

I did a trial run during the summer hols with my eldest. On his first day at school he was meant to meet up with a couple of older boys at the train station to go in with them. However, he decided to sit with a friend that was going to another school. He ended up getting off at the right station but couldn't see the boys he was meant to be walking with so he just started following others from his school. They all went a different way to the way my DS knew and he got lost. So called me and I logged onto google maps and directed him to school. He got in safely.

I felt like an awful parent as I felt that I hadn't prepared him or organised things well enough. But the moral of the story is he survived and he learnt a lesson.

I would not accompany him on his journey. If you know someone else from his school doing the same journey then you could maybe arrange for them to travel together. If not then I would suggest you do the journey with him a couple of times during the holidays and then make sure he has a well charged phone and that he knows exactly how he can reach you on his first few days back to school.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
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Location: Berkshire
My youngest gets driven to the station, then a half an hour's train journey plus 20 min walk. We did a trial run before the first time, and he's managed pretty well ever since. He takes his phone with him (school does NOT alow phones - but I insist he takes it , he hides it in his locker during the day) and travels with 2 other boys. He texts me when he gets to school, and then on his way home so that I know all is well. It is a worry, but it is amazing how they cope.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:56 am 
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My dd has a 20/25 minute public bus ride followed by a 15 minute walk (but with the option of a connecting bus).

We did a trial run during the holidays so she would know where to get off and how to walk to school should she miss the connecting bus.

First day I walked to the bus stop with her because it was a 'nice' thing to do and off she went, sitting herself downstairs on the double decker bus whilst everyone else (all 4 of them :lol: ) sat upstairs - she'd immediately isolated herself. As the bus went through the villages it picked up a few more pupils until there was the grand number of 8 traveling to school. I had given her instructions that, when the bus got to the bus station she was to follow the others to the connecting bus. What happened? Everyone else walked!! So there's her ladened down with all her bags (which they insist on taking even though you know they won't need all of them, they still insist as they don't want to get into trouble) frantically running trying to keep up with everyone else as they made their way to school via a different route than the one I'd shown her (I'd taken the main road route whilst all the kids knew the back lanes etc :lol: ). She bravely carried on, losing people she was following along the way, even following a teacher at one point, until finally she spoke ( :shock: ) to a group of 6th formers who took her under their wing and guided her in to school (making sure she was ok once she got there and if she needed anything else - bless them :D ).

She then panicked for the journey back as the timings were tight for getting the connecting bus from school to the bus stations. We didn't even know where it left from and she wouldn't go to the school office and ask :evil: She then found one or two others from her class who use the connecting bus to the station (but then go on to get other buses) so she went with them.

All in all it's a great growing up experience (or should that be grey- hairing experience for the parents) for them and they DO cope admirably well. I think having a mobile available to soothe their fears and yours made it better - or perhaps that was worse because I got a blow-by-blow account of how she was doing :lol: :lol:

It'll be right!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 212
Location: Lincolnshire
These little travellers are pretty resilient-it really does become so routine so fast for most of them.
LFH-I still can't believe your schools attitude to phones :shock: Surely they are essential if only for peace of mind !! Common sense really should prevail.
I know there is a school of thought which says we all travelled safely as children without being in constant touch with home & survived,but the world has moved on & so should the schools.
Ds's school positively promotes the boys having phones. One of the nicest welcome meeting speeches came from a teacher who encouraged us all to text our boys regularly just to tell 'em we loved 'em & were proud of 'em-just not during lesson time please !!And he was not some 'namby-pamby' young teacher,but a lovely gentleman due to retire soon !


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:21 am 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
DS spent a year with me driving him to the station, then two trains and then a 10 min walk to school.

I did a trial run in the holidays and accompanied him on the first morning. He came home alone and was fine from then on.

DD started this year and I didn't bother with the trial journey as she had an older brother. I did accompany her on the first morning though.

Both of mine always took phones, which were very useful in the case of delays.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:23 am 
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I would say its best to do trial runs in the holidays & then let them go by themselves on the first day as its the time when everyone is 'getting lost together' & both staff & other pupils will be most likley to help those looking like they are struggling.

If you are able could you do the trip on a school morning before the end of term so when you take DS in the holidays you can show him what the other children actually do?

Could you contact the school to ask if there are any sixth formers/prefects who travel a similar route who would be prepared to keep a look out for newbies?

If it is an option could you be at home that day at the end of a phone so if there is a real problem you can get there (eg if he misses stop/catches wrong bus or train?) Not thinking this is likely but it might make you both feel bettter if you are in a position to get to him if necessary.

I'm hopeless when it comes to giving DCs independence but they usually manage alot better than I do!


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