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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:13 pm 
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As we will soon be filling out DS's CAF, I would welcome any comments - good, bad or indifferent - on how far is too far to travel to secondary school. DS could be looking at anywhere between a 10 minute bus ride to the nearest comp to a 40 minute train journey (plus getting to and from the station) to the furthest Superselective we're considering.

With hindsight, would any of you have chosen different schools based on your/your DC's experience of long commutes to school?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:36 pm 
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The only relevant experience I have here is one of my godchildren who commuted about 45 minutes on a bus until sixth form; then switched to a local school within walking distance. DGC felt that this was a revolution, was very much happier and said life was so much better, even though the school itself was less satisfactory really. So that is the opinion of one child. My son does a 20 minute bus journey which seems fine; personally I reckon more than 30 minutes each way on public transport might be verging on difficult or unpleasant and rather tiring, but I know many do more than that and will say it's fine. Over an hour would definitely not even be considered in this house- I am sure no matter how wonderful the school is deemed to be, nowhere could be worth that. But I know this arouses strong emotions and some parents think this quite acceptable.


Good luck. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:47 pm 
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You might find this thread handy:

viewtopic.php?t=24739


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Thanks Amber and thingsbehindthesun. Ah yes, the London to Colchester thread! I'd forgotten about that one - a tad extreme but many valid points raised by many posters. I agree Amber, that anything over an hour door to door would be out of the question for us too. Once we have the results for the various tests, we'll have a clearer idea of what our options are and can do some practice journeys before filling out the dreaded form. We are even considering moving closer to the main train line should the furthest SS be the best option (although I really hope it doesn't come to that!)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:46 pm 
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My son gets on his bus at 07.10 in the morning to get to school 8 miles away for 08.21 ( exactly ! ). We do live in quite a rural area and so it does go all around the houses. He doesn't seem to mind and will often get 1 bus and then change halfway if the other bus looks more exciting. The only time it's a bit wearing is in the depth of winter .However , because the school is nearby, so are his friends and it's relatively easy for us to pick him up or attend school events.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:10 pm 
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I went to my local comp until GCSE and did really well. However, I was desperate to change school for 6th form. I went to a high achieving 6th form college for A level but had a long commute, 1 mile walk, 25 mins train, 20 mins bus each way. I was extremely happy socially but exhausted at the end of each day and my results plumetted. It was the best move I made socially (had a great time chatting to friends on the train etc), but the worst academically.

I would think very carefully, as the children who study locally often do better than ones who go to grammar with a long commute. But then some people are not as lucky as others with their local options.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Thanks Scarlett and Blitz. More food for thought! I've heard from friends with DCs with long-ish journeys to and from school that most of their social life is conducted on the bus/train. We went with the local comp for DD rather than the nearest GS (not actually that far at 6 miles), one of the reasons being location and being able to walk to school, close to friends etc. It is a great school too but unfortunately it's a girls' school so not an option for DS! I'm not quite as happy with the comps on offer for DS :?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Hi Bondgirl! I would get the offers first, then do some trial runs during actual school mornings and afternoons and then decide. There is no right answer, only what's best for your child in your particular circumstances at the time (or what's least 'bad'!)

Here in North London, we did get some offers eventually in March 2010, for a September 2010 start. In the end, safety-transport-travel time was a major factor, together with which school would suit DD best. The chosen school is 8 minutes drive away but not safe for a girl to go alone on the bus and walk. There have been a number of disturbing incidents in these two adjoining districts, both against school girls and against women. A bunch of girls often come back together by public bus and this is a small mercy. Child safety (girl safety) remains an issue.

Good luck with it all!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Sometimes, it's not distance but ease of transport that makes the difference. Someone near a train/ bus station may have an easier longer journey, then someone who has an awkward journey in.

My son has a longer journey then some of his former classmates, but he gets home a similar time, as train times works to his favour, compared to local bus routes. He's aso gained some good train-friends, many from older year.

Ps. Forgot to say to say has my son has a 30 minute commute, and for popular schools, many pupils will be doing similar journeys.


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