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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:05 pm
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To choose secondary schools is all too new a topic for us, as neither me or DH grew up in this country! With little idea of anything, I'm hoping to start the research earlier (DS is at Y3) and collect as much information as I can before the time comes!

I know distance is one of the key factor. But how far is too far? DH says 1 hour/day commute is doable. But I fear half an hour one way wouldn't allow sufficient "decent" choices. We live in Barnet, on the edge of M25. Any advice please? Assuming all schools have school bus?

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Most students in your area at state schools travel by public transport, although DAO does have school buses from Barnet and Enfield.

In my opinion two hours total is the max you should consider. We have plenty in our area who do more; the school bus to Habs leaves at 7am every weekday morning and does not return until after 5pm. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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Commuting is not to be underestimated -

I used to do about 1hr 10 to school, 1 hr 20 home and I can honestly say I hated most of it. Going in the morning was quite fun on the bus, doing homework, chatting, more friends getting on etc but at the end of the day there were fewer and fewer on the bus and then there was the very cold 25 minute wait for the second bus (ugh).

What did I do with my kids? Sent them to the local GS (could see it from the kitchen window)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:23 am 
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Location: london
I agree with both of the above. Also, it is not just the length of the journey but is complexity/flexibility. School buses often preclude participation in school events which is a key part of school life. Public transport is more flexible and allows for all sorts of eventualities (eg early morning doctor appointment) and is plentiful in London. However, obviously at the moment there are issues with his - which I really really hope will have gone away by the time your DC are secondary age!. Complexity is a key issue I think - for example is there a change of mode during the journey ? (so 2 things that might let one down), or a long wait (see Hermanmunster's post above) and is there more than one way of doing it? eg if there is a tube strike, can the get a bus? If there is a signal failure is there another line they can go on? And finally - can they cycle? The school we chose for DDs was 25-35 minutes each way, they both cycled once older, but in the meantime had several different choices of public transport and, the one time it snowed, walked to and from school. It is hard to imagine all this when your DC are so young but my recommendation would be to minimise the duration, complexity and restrictiveness of the travel as much as you can. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:37 am 
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Agree with all this. My DD walks to school - about 40 minutes each way - and my son has a journey that is 10 mins walk to station, 25 mins on train then another 10 mins to school, so about 45 mins plus waiting time. They each think the other has got the better journey but I think the walk is better than the train - she doesn't have to factor in waiting on a platform or worry about whether there are delays.

Personally I think my DS's journey is a bit longer than is ideal, and I certainly wouldn't advocate anything longer than an hour, or anything that involves more than one train or bus.

You should also think about how far you're prepared to drive/travel to get to parents evenings, concerts, drop-offs for trips etc. It takes us about 35 mins to drive to my DS's school but only about 10-15 to get to my DD's school - I know which of these I prefer!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 10299
Location: Essex
Rolanda wrote:
To choose secondary schools is all too new a topic for us, as neither me or DH grew up in this country! With little idea of anything, I'm hoping to start the research earlier (DS is at Y3) and collect as much information as I can before the time comes!

I know distance is one of the key factor. But how far is too far? DH says 1 hour/day commute is doable. But I fear half an hour one way wouldn't allow sufficient "decent" choices. We live in Barnet, on the edge of M25. Any advice please? Assuming all schools have school bus?

Thank you!


I do hope that you are asking in advance for at least the 2022 admissions round, not for the one whose deadline for applications was Saturday just gone...?

And no, even if a dedicated, one journey each way per day, leaving school before any after school activity one's DC might want / be required to take part in starts really were the best alternative, not all schools have them, particularly in areas where public transport options (and, for that matter, schools), are plentiful.

Pertinent comment, re accessible schools, just made by someone on the radio (on a different subject, naturally - what else gets any airtime these days :roll:): Don't let 'the best be the enemy of 'the good".

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:19 am 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
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Location: london
ToadMum wrote:
I do hope that you are asking in advance for at least the 2022 admissions round, not for the one whose deadline for applications was Saturday just gone...?

TM OP's DC is in Y3 :D

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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mad? wrote:
ToadMum wrote:
I do hope that you are asking in advance for at least the 2022 admissions round, not for the one whose deadline for applications was Saturday just gone...?

TM OP's DC is in Y3 :D


Phew - going to be a very different world by the time they take the 11 plus - rather less commuting generally


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
mad? wrote:
ToadMum wrote:
I do hope that you are asking in advance for at least the 2022 admissions round, not for the one whose deadline for applications was Saturday just gone...?

TM OP's DC is in Y3 :D


Oh yes - managed to miss that :oops: .

(Re bloke on radio, whose interview I wandered in in the middle of- says she totally ungrammatically - turned out to be the late Anthony Booth's son in law. Despite the familiarity of the voice, I was deflected by the actual sense in what he was saying :shock:).

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 16237
As a teacher, I would say 30 minutes is the max - preferable on one mode of transport. Any longer and there are always excuses for not being in teams or play or music or .... and parents tend not to get involved in school life. [Yes I've done the research]

If there is a school bus then what alternatives are there if they want to stay late or have to because the GCSE exam goes beyond the end of school time. How will you pick them up if they are taken ill?

It always surprises me that the very things people say they value - the extra curriculars - are not important once their child is in the school travelling one hour plus every day.


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