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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:08 pm 
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There have been a number of posts over the last few months discussing options of applying to selective schools miles away from home or trying to establish the most sensible travel arrangements to schools which are difficult to get to.

Secondary schools usually advise that travel to school should not exceed 1 hour each way, door to door. This is to prevent children from becoming so tired that they fall asleep in the lessons and to enable them to participate in after-school activities, such as sports teams training, music ensembles practice etc. I am terrified when I read that some parents consider a 2-hour journey each way suitable for an 11-year-old.

As adults, we often have no choice but to put up with a lengthy and stressful commute to work and some parents appear to think it is perfectly fine for their children to do the same. What gets missed is that growing children and teenagers need more sleep than grown-ups and that when they get back home from school late in the evening, they still have homework and revision to do and that the higher up at school they get, the more homework they will have - easily up to 2 hours a night, if not more. How can anyone learn anything if they are exhausted most of the time? When are they to follow their hobbies or spend time with their friends?

Many people may disagree, but to my mind, there is no such thing as 'the best school'; there is, however, the best school for a particular child, given their personality, interests, where they live etc.

When we were choosing which schools' exams we should go for, we discounted straight away those that were too awkward to get to; some of the schools we rejected were among the best-regarded schools in our area but they were simply not feasible options for us. When filling in the CAF, our preferences were based on whether a given school was a good fit for our DC and how easy the commute would be. If a school was difficult to get to, it didn't make it to the CAF at all - not even as a last preference. What would we do if we were allocated our last preference and DC struggled getting to it? We want our DCs to go to schools where, in our view, they will do best, but we also want them to have a life outside of school and homework.

Please think about selecting your school preferences from your 11-year-old children's point of view and don't push them into 7 years of secondary education marred by a long daily commute and exhaustion that comes with it. Please let them be children and enjoy their time at school.

Should they choose to, they will have a chance to spend their life commuting when they grow up.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Purpleduck, I agree with every word you write. I would however correct this point:

PurpleDuck wrote:
Secondary schools usually advise that travel to school should not exceed 1 hour each way, door to door.

We have always said that the maximum recommended journey time for Secondary age children is 90 minutes. Don't ask me to quote where that came from because it is lost in the mists of time. If anyone finds more recent advice from an authoritative source, I am happy to stand corrected.

A point I would add to your post is this. My own school journey (to a grammar school) was a 10 minute walk, an 8 minute train ride and then a 40 minute walk. Just short of the hour you mention.

I fear that for many parents these days, a 40 minute walk, twice a day, would be classified as some form of child cruelty. It wasn't always a laugh when it was raining or cold, but it kept me very fit and it was mostly fun.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:40 pm
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Hear hear purpleduck. I'm amazed at how many people sit children for schools they realistically have little chance of being able to commute to for 7 years. Especially when the poster decides to choose one more prestigious miles away offering over an excellent more local school (where they will do just as well but not be knackered and resentful). We entered DC for 3 good local independent schools and when they got all 3 the main deciding factor was which one was easiest and quickest to get to and from. Teenagers want to have active social lives, live near their friends and to get back home without fuss. Agree that they have the rest of their lives to deal with the **** that is commuting.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11954
5.6
Suitability of arrangements
As a general guide, transport arrangements should not require a child to make several changes on public transport resulting in an unreasonably long journey time. Best practice suggests that the maximum each way length of journey for a child of primary school age to be 45 minutes and for secondary school age 75 minutes, but these should be regarded as the maximum. For children with SEN and/or disabilities a shorter journey time is usually more appropriate.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... cument.pdf


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:40 pm
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OldBean wrote:
Hear hear purpleduck. I'm amazed at how many people sit children for schools they realistically have little chance of being able to commute to for 7 years. Especially when the poster decides to choose one more prestigious miles away offering over an excellent more local school (where they will do just as well but not be knackered and resentful). We entered DC for 3 good local independent schools and when they got all 3 the main deciding factor was which one was easiest and quickest to get to and from. Teenagers want to have active social lives, live near their friends and to get back home without fuss. Agree that they have the rest of their lives to deal with the **** that is commuting.


Sorry that wasn't a swear word, no idea why it was censored!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Guest55 wrote:
5.6
Suitability of arrangements
As a general guide, transport arrangements should not require a child to make several changes on public transport resulting in an unreasonably long journey time. Best practice suggests that the maximum each way length of journey for a child of primary school age to be 45 minutes and for secondary school age 75 minutes, but these should be regarded as the maximum. For children with SEN and/or disabilities a shorter journey time is usually more appropriate.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... cument.pdf

I am happy to stand corrected on the basis of that document, and thank you, G55!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:01 pm
Posts: 437
Sally-Anne wrote:
A point I would add to your post is this. My own school journey (to a grammar school) was a 10 minute walk, an 8 minute train ride and then a 40 minute walk. Just short of the hour you mention.

I fear that for many parents these days, a 40 minute walk, twice a day, would be classified as some form of child cruelty. It wasn't always a laugh when it was raining or cold, but it kept me very fit and it was mostly fun.


My own journey was a 45 min walk and that was because I chose the "local" High School and not the "better" High School (I remember making my decision based on distance as i would have been an extra half hour. I remember many a walk through the driving snow, and yes, because of my experiences I am not sure I would be happy with DS doing the same.

I drive DS to school now and it takes about 45mins; if we had succeeded at appeal for the nearer school then that time would have been halved. But, in some instances, a longer journey is worth the trouble to know that your DC does not have to suffer the local failing (as seen on YouTube) school. I guess what I am saying is that, although a lot of parents on here choose to have long travel times to get to the "best" schools, some of us choose to have long travel times to get to a better/more suitable school.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
It all depends.
Here in the wilds of East Kent, children travel to Folkestone from Romney Marsh. It is the nearest Grammar School , but the Marsh is rural, bus journeys take a while.

Similarly, when I was at Pates' in the 70's many girls travelled in from the villages around ; if you live in a rural village then part of the deal is poor transport links. However, this is not the same as travelling 2 hours from Central London to a Grammar miles away when there is a local alternative.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Sally-Anne wrote:
I am happy to stand corrected on the basis of that document, and thank you, G55!


Thank Mr Google!

I would love to never see another thread on 'How do I get from place X to school Y'

Clearly the parent has never visited the school before applying or considered the length of/time taken for the journey or they would know!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:08 pm
Posts: 373
Exactly! And when I dared to raise it as an issue, I was told I was being unkind.


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