/ Parents dropping kids at school

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Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
Still not worked out the difference between "off belay" and "down the pub"...
Anyway, after yet another text from my son's primary school politely asking parents to be considerate when dropping their little darlings off at school (instigated by yet another occasion of a child being mown down), can anything realistically be done to discourage parents from squeezing their way down the school road at 60mph, to pull over right next to the gates, before performing a 33 point turn and then zooming off to get to work on time? Im not even going to get started on those who mount the pavement regardless of if anybody is walking on it (bloody pedestrians).
I think this is a fairly common problem. I understand the difficulties in only being able to drop your child off within a small time frame and then needing to get off to work. Its a residential road which connects onto a fairly major A road so an exclusion zone would be impractical.
Possibly speed bumps which force cars to crawl along the road (annoying for the residents but hey..)? Traffic wardens doling out tickets for those who park irresponsibly?
I thought about a drop off zone where parents/teachers could walk the kids to the school but again, so close to a major road could cause congestion.
Staggered starting times or free before school club from, say, 8:15?
Any REALISTIC solutions to suggest to the headteacher/council?
Im getting tired of myself or my dad having to run the gauntlet each morning to avoid ending up under the wheels of a 4x4.
Wonko The Sane - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: Sorry,
I got lost at the dropping kids off bit!!

Back when I was a lad, we walked. even when it was a couple of miles.
And all we had for breakfast was half a lard sandwich.

That said, there were far more crossing patrols then.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane: And now we're no longer in the 17th century...?
MG - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane) And now we're no longer in the 17th century...?

Do children not have legs now? What is stopping them walking? If they are getting mown down at the gates it can't be safety benefits can it?

Otherwise ask the council/police to enforce the rules properly on random days for a few months, with appropriate fines? That might make people a bit more careful.

Wonko The Sane - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane) And now we're no longer in the 17th century...?

Well, now we're no longer in the 17th century, the roads are full of horseless carriages and kiddies miss out on the social aspect of walking to school with their mates.

Perhaps a drop off point should be allocated a little way from the school, or several points from each approaching direction.......... perhaps 150m away or so.
This will lessen the density of the traffic outside the gates.
Tom Last - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane:

Yep same here, I walked to school every day, cannot recall getting a single lift. This was 83-95, not the 1600s.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to MG: Id like it if all who could reasonably walk, walked. My son does. But in reality we're not going to get every kid walking to school for various reasons (too young to walk by themselves, parents can only drop them off from 8:50 so its a 10 minute dash to get them there not too early but not too late. This is why I think a staggered start (say, 8:30 for juniors, 9:00 for infants, with a free half hour breakfast club for siblings who stretch over both of these age groups).
A few slap fines for those who park on the pavement would be a good idea, but is this likely to happen?
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane: Problem with that would be who would walk them to school from there? Would a bunch of kids be stood around in potential p*ssing down rain waiting for sufficient numbers to be walked in? Who would be accountable if something went wrong?
MG - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: Bus? I remember for a while at school I used a bus parents organised and paid for. The route was a bit tortuous and someone presumably had to organise it but the cost was OK I think.
Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Is there any option for parents to arrange a 'walking bus' from a given point, taking it in turns to lead kids into school?

The scenes outside Mr TC's kids' school are similarly chaotic to what you describe, except that as it's a private school there seems to be even more of a sense of 'I'll park where I damn well like'...
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to MG: If you have a catchment area of, for example, 2 miles, even with a few buses that would be major hassle. Some kids would be setting off at 7am just to get round the route! High school buses work cause kids are old enough to walk themselves to a bus stop.
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane) Problem with that would be who would walk them to school from there? Would a bunch of kids be stood around in potential p*ssing down rain waiting for sufficient numbers to be walked in? Who would be accountable if something went wrong?

Sorry, does not compute. I walked a mile and a bit to school from the age of 5. 1978-84, by the way. From 84-91 I was taking the train 20 miles and then walking a mile, as were all of my peers.

OK, I was dropped off on the first day.

"Walked in" presumably means some adult looking after kids who are assumed not to have the capability to walk on their own? Sheesh.
Wonko The Sane - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane) Problem with that would be who would walk them to school from there? Would a bunch of kids be stood around in potential p*ssing down rain waiting for sufficient numbers to be walked in? Who would be accountable if something went wrong?

We had railings on the kerb to keep the kids on the pavement.

I dislike the whole idea of accountability in this context. I think it's important to teach kids to fend for themselves a little. A little self reliance and responsibility given as and when the child is able to manage it is a good thing I say.

Heavy traffic calming measures. and where/if possible, car free zones.
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> This is why I think a staggered start (say, 8:30 for juniors, 9:00 for infants, with a free half hour breakfast club for siblings who stretch over both of these age groups).

My kids are in grades I and II at our school but have different starting times on some days, 8.30 or 9.20, and some days one is early and one is late. It's seems to me an odd idea that adds a little bit of grief to life. They do have a morning club they can go to, although they don't love that (boring I'm told) and you have to pay for a full week, not just the days where the kids go to morning club. The variable start system must be a hassle for families that don't have flexible work places.
Duncan Bourne - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
For some reason some parents lose all road sense around schools. I remember one occasion driving past a school with a crew cab van and trailer. Both sides of the road in the "drop off zone" were full of parked cars as I neared the top of the street yet another car suddenly turned into the road and to my amazement stopped and waited for me to reverse (a nigh on impossibility with a large van and trailer down a narrow car filled street). After several minutes of non-activity we decided to illustrate the fact that we weren't moving by getting out of the van and starting to unload the trailer. The other driver got the message and amidst a screech of rubber and engine roar reversed out of the road and into one of the plentiful parking spots in the adjoining street.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to John_Hat: You walked on your own from age 5?! My son is almost 10 and we're only just now thinking about when he will be able to walk the mile himself. In truth he would PROBABLY be ok, but he has to cross two roads where cars travel fast down and i dont want to take that risk. Dont forget, there are many more cars on the roads these days than in 1978.
wbo - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA: What's the accepted wisdom in Finland on driving kids to school. It's frowned upon in Norway. We live a couple of kms from the school - year 1 they get a taxi bus. In year 2 the can get it in the winter and in 3 they are under there own steam - cycle or walk. Only foreigners, orthe very later, drive them in

For the OP lots of traffic calming or even one waying the street might be the way to go, and make it generally inconcveniant.
Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Your situation is like Mr TC's kids when they're at their mum's - the school is really close, but the road they'd have to cross to get to it is very fast, with a sweeping blind bend. Yes, I used to walk to school, to a lovely village primary school, but times have changed.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA: Theres not THAT much variation in what im suggesting. Changing the start times on different days as you say would be a pain though.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to wbo: Unfortunately a one way system wouldnt work cause it would mean overhauling an entire estate. There must be some way though to make it a major hassle for those who choose to enter the school road instead of parking further away and walking in. Theres a lollipop lady who patrols the main road. She has been helping kids across that road there for over 35 years and always has a smile on her face... Amazing lady!
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Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

What do other parents say about the situation? Can you come up with a collective solution?
Duncan Bourne - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane) Problem with that would be who would walk them to school from there? Would a bunch of kids be stood around in potential p*ssing down rain waiting for sufficient numbers to be walked in? Who would be accountable if something went wrong?

Really the only good reason for not walking to school is the increased traffic but that can be got around with a little planning. The other reason is working parents. As a child most mothers didn't work and thus had ample time to walk their children to school.
I always walked to school. At first when young with other children and a local mother and then when I started secondary school by myself, a distance of about 2 miles which took me about half an hour to 45 minutes. Generally we set off about 7.30 am. In the winter we took torches. The route crossed two main roads and we kept to paths and back alleys where possible. Rain is not a problem that is what coats are for. If anything went wrong then accountability fell on the source of the problem (car driver or other kids) Parents or teachers were not regarded as accountable. Parents were only accountable to a small degree if there child had caused trouble.
Wonko The Sane - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: I do think it's a two part problem.

Because people drive their kids to school, we're no longer set up with enough crossing patrols to allow kids to walk to school.

It's sadly impractical to beleive people would use them if they were set up, so I think the answer is drop off points away from the school and kerbside barriers to keep the little monsters herded in the right direction.

Stiff penalties for parents who stop illegally.
timjones - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to MG) If you have a catchment area of, for example, 2 miles, even with a few buses that would be major hassle. Some kids would be setting off at 7am just to get round the route! High school buses work cause kids are old enough to walk themselves to a bus stop.

It's the way it has to work in rural areas. Why shouldn't it be done in urban areas?
Enty - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to John_Hat) You walked on your own from age 5?! My son is almost 10 and we're only just now thinking about when he will be able to walk the mile himself. In truth he would PROBABLY be ok, but he has to cross two roads where cars travel fast down and i dont want to take that risk. Dont forget, there are many more cars on the roads these days than in 1978.

You're right. it's unfair to compare the mid 70's with today. I walked a mile from the age of 5. Sometimes we'd take a shortcut across the top of an old railway banking. Sometimes I'd go on my bike.

I'd be horrified at the thought of little Ent doing the same.

E
tom_in_edinburgh - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Someone from Mexico told me at the school their kids went to there they had a 'drive through' drop off/pick up point (because they were worried about rich kids getting kidnapped). The cars queued up and as they got to the head of the queue a teacher organised the kids jumping out or getting in so each vehicle was only stopped for a short time.

It's parking and walking the last few metres or parking and waiting for kids to emerge which uses up the kerb space and causes the congestion.
Sir Chasm - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: Identify the offending parents, school punishes respective children, children bring pressure to bear on offending parents.
EeeByGum - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: Agreed. I cycle past Manchester Girls School (secondary) every morning and find it hilarious that so many parents seem to insist on driving their kids to the school gates and then queue for 15 minutes to get back onto the main road. Surely by 11, children are capable of walking 100 yards from a main road to the school gates?
woolsack - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
>
> Any REALISTIC solutions to suggest to the headteacher/council?

I have the same issue with my kids Primary school. I was going to suggest that the head puts a name and shame board up outside the school and the parents can post pictures of the offending vehicles up in a top ten fashion like the lap time board on Top Gear
foxjerk - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: my childrens school got the police down for a few mornings to offer advice (or fines) to the pedestrians who got in the drivers way. seriously though, a lot of driving parents got a lot of grief!
zebidee - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger) Agreed. I cycle past Manchester Girls School (secondary) every morning ...

It's a 10 mile detour but it's worth it.

;)
prog99 on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
The private school near me has vigilante parents with speed guns.
Ramblin dave - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger)
>
> Is there any option for parents to arrange a 'walking bus' from a given point, taking it in turns to lead kids into school?

Walking buses are generally a Good Thing.

AIUI, the general idea is that if the kids are on a walking bus from the age of 5 then after a few years they've actually developed some sort of road-sense and are able to look after themselves and walk independently if they want to. This also helps to reduce the sudden spike in road deaths at age 11 where kids go off to secondary school and suddenly have no option but to look after themselves but very little previous experience of doing so...
another_mark on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: In terms of things that the school can do, then the stupid rules around the time children can arrive could be changed.

It seems to be common now that kids are not allowed onto the school grounds until 8:50 and must be there by 9:00. Obviously this leads to massive congestion and crap driving/parking in that 10 minute period.
Neil Williams - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

"A few slap fines for those who park on the pavement would be a good idea, but is this likely to happen?"

How about a bigger thing?

Go US-style, require the schools to provide transport and implement no-parking zones around the school?

How do they build new schools - are they built with large drop-off and pick-up zones expecting this? If not, time they were.

Would park-and-rides be feasible?

Neil
Neil Williams - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to another_mark:

That window is too narrow - a half hour window might be more sensible.

Neil
In reply to wbo:
> (In reply to TobyA) What's the accepted wisdom in Finland on driving kids to school. It's frowned upon in Norway.

I think it depends. School only starts when kids are 7, and many schools seem to have afternoon clubs that the two first grades can go to (they've often finished actual school by 12.30!). This seems to be premised on parents being expected to collect their kids by foot, bus, car, bike or whatever - and by car on the way back from work seems quite normal for many families. But once kids hit third grade (so 9 yrs) there is no afternoon club and they are expected to get home (and be at home) alone. This will be by bus or walking/bike for most kids I guess.

Our situation is a bit special as my kids are in the one school in our municipality that teaches in English. It's just a standard state school, but everything is in English (except for Finnish obviously). But it attracts lots of bi-lingual and (semi-)immigrant families like us from all across Vantaa (which is a huge area of what is really Helsinki's outer suburbs). So I guess kids coming by car to the school is more normal at our school. We live 12 kms away for instance, and my kids have friends who come a similar distance from the other direction. They'll use buses when they are a bit older (or cycle if they can face it!), but they'll need to change buses etc. so it's too much to ask them at their current age I feel.

I think out in the country, school buses are a big thing, more like the US perhaps?

How do families manage in Norway?
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> This also helps to reduce the sudden spike in road deaths at age 11

Is this true? How big a spike is it?

I try to be ultra rational about my kids. They probably face the least dangers that any children anywhere at anytime in history have ever faced, plus they're backed up by excellent state healthcare and well ordered and policed society (I think that's true of the UK too). But having said all that, you are left with the worrying realisation that crossing roads is about the most dangerous thing they do - and that's terrifying!
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to John_Hat) You walked on your own from age 5?! My son is almost 10 and we're only just now thinking about when he will be able to walk the mile himself. In truth he would PROBABLY be ok, but he has to cross two roads where cars travel fast down and i dont want to take that risk. Dont forget, there are many more cars on the roads these days than in 1978.

Not really. From 5 I was walking to my infants school, about a mile along back streets, with only one major road to cross. At Junior school (7?) The road I used to walk down was the A129, a busy road. It had footpaths both sides, not a problem, and a 5 year old can happily cope with crossing a road (I know, I did). Walking to school I had to cross, oh, I don't know, 20 side roads. When I didn't want to walk (e.g. it was a monsoon) I got the bus - not a school bus, a normal bus. From the age of 11 I used to get a train and walk a mile up the B186 - a busy urban road in Brentwood.

This idea that kids are not capable and need to be wrapped in cotton wool is one I have difficulty with. Adults look at kids and assume that because they cannot do everything for themselves they cannot do anything for themselves, then prevent them from doing anything for themselves to the point where it becomes self-fufilling. They cannot do anything for themselves because they've never had the chance.
winhill - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to another_mark:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger) In terms of things that the school can do, then the stupid rules around the time children can arrive could be changed.
>
> It seems to be common now that kids are not allowed onto the school grounds until 8:50 and must be there by 9:00. Obviously this leads to massive congestion and crap driving/parking in that 10 minute period.

I've never heard of a school that does this, where have you seen this?
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Steve John B - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: If everyone just sent their children to boarding school we wouldn't have this problem.
winhill - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

> Possibly speed bumps which force cars to crawl along the road (annoying for the residents but hey..)? Traffic wardens doling out tickets for those who park irresponsibly?
> I thought about a drop off zone where parents/teachers could walk the kids to the school but again, so close to a major road could cause congestion.
> Staggered starting times or free before school club from, say, 8:15?

Our school crossing was converted to elevated a few years ago, it cost £12,000!(literally tarmac and bricks).

Most LEAs provide schools so primary pupils don't have to walk too far, I think we have 7 in two mile radius. Ours is a 5 minutes walk.

I often hang about til they go in and walking back you always see the same faces who are now obviously late.

The problem rests completely with the parents, even if they need to go to work they could set off earlier, drive down, leave the kid and walk back to the car. How many parking opportunities are there within a five minute walk to the school?

The council's road safety team could come down and suggest this to the pupils, who feed it back to parents and then they can visit the school in the mornings handing out An Idiot's Guide to Bringing Your Child To School leaflets.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to winhill: Errrr... in my son's school. The kids cant be dropped off and left before 8:50 even if they are left to play in the playground. Its all litigious nonsense. The only way they can be left earlier is if you pay for breakfast club.
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: The school is currently going through an extensive remodelling. This is mainly to upgrade and to cater for an increase in pupil numbers. Unfortunately remodelling to allow drop off zones or somesuch would involve demolishing several adjoining houses. The homeowners might object to that.
Chris the Tall - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger)
> [...]
>
> You're right. it's unfair to compare the mid 70's with today.

Absolutely, we sometimes forget how lucky we are to have grown up in decade where there was no risk from peadophiles!
chris j on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to John_Hat) You walked on your own from age 5?! My son is almost 10 and we're only just now thinking about when he will be able to walk the mile himself. In truth he would PROBABLY be ok, but he has to cross two roads where cars travel fast down and i dont want to take that risk. Dont forget, there are many more cars on the roads these days than in 1978.

Cue aged anecdote - From age 11 (big boys school, mid 80's) me and my brother were kicked out at a set of traffic lights on the wrong side of a busy road half a mile from school (in rush hour) by Dad on the way to work - it would have cost him probably 20 minutes to get round the one way system to drop us outside school and then back out to carry on to work. On the way home we walked a mile through Leicester city centre to get a bus home (30 minute journey) which would drop us on the wrong side of the main road 2 miles from home.

I hate to think what I'll be like as a parent, I hope I can bring myself to let my children do much the same, though from what the missus tells me the school will probably set social services on me if I do...
owlart - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Chris the Tall: I suspect in the previous century there was less awareness and more acceptance of risks. The fact that X kids got killed each year crossing busy roads was accepted as a fact of life. These days we're much more risk aware and risk averse.

Perhaps we should go back to the days when we accepted X kids being killed each year, but only so long as it's someone elses child, and not our own, I suspect.
tony on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to owlart:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall) I suspect in the previous century there was less awareness and more acceptance of risks.

Less awareness of what? Are you suggesting that parents in the 70s and 80s weren't aware of the possibility that crossing main roads might be dangerous?

> The fact that X kids got killed each year crossing busy roads was accepted as a fact of life. These days we're much more risk aware and risk averse.
>
Do you have any data as to the relative numbers of children killed crossing busy roads then and now?
Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to tony:

It's got me wondering - is there a modern equivalent of the Green Cross Code man and the Tufty Club?
Carolyn - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

It's not necessarily just parents who are stopping their kids walking to/from school, though. There was something in the papers a year or two back about school reporting family to social services for letting 5 year old cycle to school "alone" (with older sibling, along safe track from what I remember).

Infant school mine are at certainly expects kids to be picked up by an adult, though I haven't challenged it as we're over a mile away with a couple of fairly nasty road crossings. Mind you, they do look a bit concerned when the 7 year old arrives alone (he'll often run on ahead after the last road crossing) At least here it seems they're deemed to be OK to sort themselves out by Juniors (so from 7/8 onwards), and plenty do walk home alone.

The practical solution here is an independent (charity) before/after school club that runs out of local Scout hall, and walks kids across town to all 3 primary schools. Traffic's dreadful round the Scout Hut though, so there's an element of it just moving the problem.
owlart - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to tony: Not necessarily crossing roads specifically (although I would think that a 'busy road' these days is much busier than one in the 70s), but these days we're hyper-aware of the risks of letting your kids out of your sight, rather more so than previously. Whether this is a good thing or not is a matter of opinion. We're certainly more risk averse these days, hence fewer children walking to school and crossing busy roads at age 5.

I've not got any specific data, I can't be bothered to google for a link to every single thought expressed on these forums, but I do recall various news stories saying how child road deaths had reduced significantly in recent years.
winhill - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to winhill) Errrr... in my son's school. The kids cant be dropped off and left before 8:50 even if they are left to play in the playground. Its all litigious nonsense. The only way they can be left earlier is if you pay for breakfast club.

So they are allowed in the grounds?

What time does school start?

How does this affect parents who should park five minutes from school and walk down?
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to chris j:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger)
> [...]
>
>
> I hate to think what I'll be like as a parent, I hope I can bring myself to let my children do much the same, though from what the missus tells me the school will probably set social services on me if I do...

I think this is the problem. Helicopter parenting has become so much the norm that if you don't wrap your kids in cotton wool and never, ever, let them take anything that could, when looking at it with a high degree of paranoia, be described as a risk, you're de facto a bad parent and kids will be swiped off you and given to a couch potato whose idea of good parenting is to give the kids an X-box and leave them in front of the telly all day.
Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to John_Hat:

Perhaps a *slight* overexaggeration there... ;-)

toad - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: I have a primary school a few hundred yards down the road from me. Whenever there is a park considerately/walk to school type initiative, you are met by the ludicrous sight of parents parking round the corner and then ostentatiously walking to school. I've seen their newsletters, so the head thinks this is a roaring success, even though the vehicle movements are exactly the same, just displaced 200yds.

There is also a more fundemental problem of schools being designed to serve the local community, but all this choice and league table nonsense means that parents aren't all that local. This is a small primary, on a split site (so there are constant crocodiles of kids moving from one to the other), at the end of a turn of the century cul-de-sac with only on street parking. It isn't really the parents fault, it's just a 19th century site with 21st century users
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to owlart:
> (In reply to tony) Not necessarily crossing roads specifically (although I would think that a 'busy road' these days is much busier than one in the 70s), but these days we're hyper-aware of the risks of letting your kids out of your sight, rather more so than previously. Whether this is a good thing or not is a matter of opinion. We're certainly more risk averse these days, hence fewer children walking to school and crossing busy roads at age 5.
>

I'm not convinced about this. I used to drive to school from age 17 (1990), and the A127 was a car park, as it is today. You can't make a twenty mile tailback "busier". I'm sure there are more cars on the road, but whether this makes road safety significantly worse I suspect not.


> I've not got any specific data, I can't be bothered to google for a link to every single thought expressed on these forums, but I do recall various news stories saying how child road deaths had reduced significantly in recent years.

ALL road deaths have decreased massively since the 80's. Mainly as a result of better cars (as in better for both passengers and pedestrians).

So, one could argue that although I, say, walked to achool in an era with less cars, the chances of being killed if me and one of those cars interacted was significantly higher than it is now.
Steve John B - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to toad:
> ...you are met by the ludicrous sight of parents parking round the corner and then ostentatiously walking to school.

I'm trying to picture parents "ostenatiously walking to school", sounds like something you'd try out in drama class :)
owlart - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to John_Hat: Not every road has entirely stationary traffic during school start/finish times though. I suspect that the majority of non-stationary roads are quite a bit busier with both moe cars and lorries travelling on them than almost 40years ago.

That's fine, if you're happy to let your child cross the busy A27 say (4 lanes of 60mph traffic, no pedestrian lights, painted footpath across the road!), that's up to you as a parent, but it seems many other parents aren't so keen on it these days. Maybe they're too risk averse, maybe not.
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to John_Hat)
>
> Perhaps a *slight* overexaggeration there... ;-)

Might be less than you think :-)

http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2010/07/05/parents-threatened-with-social-services-after-letting-their-k...

Both of our neighbours drive their kids to school. It's about 400 yards down a leafy suburban road.

Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to John_Hat:

So do you drive your kids to school or do you make them walk?
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: Just to clarify, the road the school is on is essentially a cul-de-sac; i.e. there are roads which lead off it but they all lead to dead ends, so if a car enters the school road, the driver then HAS to turn around at some point and come back the way they came in.
winhill - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to John_Hat)
>
> So do you drive your kids to school or do you make them walk?

For Christ's sake don't get John_Hat started on why he hasn't got kids and it's none of anyone's business if he doesn't want them.
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I don't, we do not have kids:-)
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
> [...]
>
> For Christ's sake don't get John_Hat started on why he hasn't got kids and it's none of anyone's business if he doesn't want them.

WTF?
Scarab9 - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Nice ideas like shared busses/lifts/walking busses only work if people don't feel they should have special treatment - which some always will. Those ideas can come afterwards once the easy fix of being a knob is fixed.

the best solution I can think of:
a combination of no parking areas, someone present who can enforce them (I don't think for very short stops can be enforced by parking inspectors or from CCTV so it might have to be police) which would have to be discussed between the school and the council.
To avoid outcry a similarly discussed and agreed drop off area in a better place would be needed, potentially with agreed supervision (crossing guard, a teacher, a parent rota) to monitor the walking route to the school.
Coel Hellier - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

> You walked on your own from age 5?!

I did (admittedly where there was little traffic). My mum tells me that she walked to pre-school on her own from age three and a half (sometimes, but not always, accompanied by her brother aged 5); that was in the 1940s.
Heike - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
I used to walk to school from age 6 on my own all the time or cycled when I was about 8 or 9.

My sister used to fetch milk occasionally from the local shop down then road from about age 3 1/2... (you'd be arrested for that here probably!)

Both was in a village, though. We had loads of teaching on road safety from kindergarten onwards.
Bobling - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

I often wonder if there could be some legislation that you should work/go to school within walking/cycling/riding distance of where you live. I know it would never work but it's an interesting thought. Too much time and energy is spent in this country simply sitting in traffic, seems like such a stupid waste of time and resources.
Timmd on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Heike:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> I used to walk to school from age 6 on my own all the time or cycled when I was about 8 or 9.
>
> My sister used to fetch milk occasionally from the local shop down then road from about age 3 1/2... (you'd be arrested for that here probably!)
>
> Both was in a village, though. We had loads of teaching on road safety from kindergarten onwards.

Think the social services would be paying a visit. Possibly not in a villiage, but probably in a city I think.

tlm - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

What age is it ok for children to go place on their own then, these days?
Timmd on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Bobling:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger)
> Too much time and energy is spent in this country simply sitting in traffic, seems like such a stupid waste of time and resources.

That's my thoughts when i'm cycling along the flat(ish).
Timmd on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger)
>
> What age is it ok for children to go place on their own then, these days?

10?
andy - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm: our kids walked to and from school on their own from Y5 (so that's 9 ish) and part way from the year before. But it's only half a mile and only one road to cross. Eldest (12) goes on the bus to secondary school and refuses to be dropped off, even though I drive past school most days.

I get very cross with the same people dropping their kids off at our primary - it's a narrow road with kids walking along it with cars parked along one side. The same lazy, self-important bastards (usually women who have sunglasses permanently on top of their head for some reason) stop right outside school, on the zig zags, every morning. If they got their arses out 5 minutes earlier they could drop them in the village square and they could walk the last 200m to school and the road would be safer for everyone.
Martin W on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger) Just to clarify, the road the school is on is essentially a cul-de-sac

They have a similar problem in Haddington, and the council's proposed solution is to close those streets to cars during the morning drop-off and evening pick-up times: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-20356036 All it means is that the kids have to walk a short distance from where it is safe for their parents to drop them off (all the schools involved have other entrances on through roads which wouldn't require cars to turn round).

FWIW I walked just over a mile to and from my primary school, on my own, from the day I started there - so age 7 I think. Before that I went to the infants school next door, walking again but accompanied by my sister who was attending the primary school at the time. The journey included crossing a fairly busy road at a patrolled but not controlled crossing point (ie just a crossing patrol, not a pelican crossing with a lollipop person as well). This was in Sarf Lunnun http://tinyurl.com/boet3ue in the mid to late 1960s. The worst that ever happened to me - apart from the irrepairable damage I did to my teeth as a result of daily visits to the sweetie shop near the park - was that a nasty little sh1t in my class tried to beat me up once.

It does seem that schools imposing unrealistically restrictive rules about arrival times is not particularly helpful, but the problem is clearly exacerbated by the volume of kids being dropped off.
owlart - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Martin W:
> It does seem that schools imposing unrealistically restrictive rules about arrival times is not particularly helpful, but the problem is clearly exacerbated by the volume of kids being dropped off.

Agreed. At the other end of the scale, when I was teaching (primary) we used to regularly get one or two kids who were dropped off in the school playground between 7 & 7.30 in the morning (school started at 9.00, no breakfast club etc. in those days), and other kids who weren't picked up until between 4.30 & 5pm in the evenings (school finished a 3.30). School was basically used as a free child-sitting service since they knew that once on the premises they'd be kept an eye on (duty of care etc.).
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger: I was also mulling over the possibility of making it a total pain in the knickers for anybody who enters the road, meaning they arent going to get out of there in a hurry. Along the lines of speed bumps and priority islands to traffic going into the road, but those wanting to leave will be at the mercy of those entering.
Penalty for attempting a 33 point turn before the priority island: instant execution by firing squad*.
(*Or something)
pebbles - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane: when I was at junior school it would be more than your life was worth to turn up at the school gates with mum or dad in tow. We walked to school with friends from the age of 6, and our parents talked to us first about not going off with strangers.
Flinticus - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
I live on a quite road with a secondary school at one end (so the pupils are not young children) and still many parents insist on tortuously squeezing their generally large 4x4 (it is a grammar school) to as close to the main entrance as possible, despite the fact that the surrounding roads are actually wider, quieter & with less local parked cars. They could save themselves 5 minutes by dropping off not so little Lord Fauntleroy a mere 30 metres away along the more accessible roads. It becomes a bit of a farce somtimes.
John_Hat - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Flinticus:

We've got a few schools in our area, and the carnage around picking up and dropping off time is unbelieveable. Because the schools are on main roads, and Mr and Mrs 4x4 do the stop-in-middle-of-road-to-drop-little-Johnny-off, it gridlocks the whole area.

I regularly drive up to Leeds and Manchester, our house is 2 miles from the motorway junction (in a directon where to get to the motorway we drive away from the centre of Brum - i.e. in the opposite direction to the prevailing rush hour flow). If you leave at 7.30 - 8 o'clock this takes 5-10 mins. If you leave at 8.30 it can take up to an hour.
In reply to Jamming Dodger: I love all the parenting experts that creep out of the woodwork on threads like this, all with the common denominator of not having kids.

I couldn't give a flying f*ck in a rolling doughnut how far I walked to school, in what weather or if it was uphill there and back - there is a degree of risk I won't let my daughter be exposed to. She's not a disposable commodity to me.

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Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity: Im not sure ive got your point :/
Jenny C on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger) I love all the parenting experts that creep out of the woodwork on threads like this, all with the common denominator of not having kids.
>
> I couldn't give a flying f*ck in a rolling doughnut how far I walked to school, in what weather or if it was uphill there and back - there is a degree of risk I won't let my daughter be exposed to. She's not a disposable commodity to me.

And I love the way that some doting parents are happy to put other peoples kids at risk by flouting road traffic restrictions outside schools.



pebbles - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity: I think you will find theyve all been kids though. And gone to school.And I'll lay money most of them had parents who cared about them as much as you care about your kids. Its just the perception of the journey to school as packed with danger that seems to have changed.
Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to pebbles:

I used to be a lot more 'eeh, kids today, they should person the f*ck up and stop being so mollycoddled' and then I acquired a couple, so I'm starting to see things differently. I'm still a bit like that but that's mostly because I'm an uncharitable crabby old witch.

I'm sure a lot of our parents thought we had it easy compared to them. And so on, and so forth...
In reply to Jamming Dodger: I don't know what :/ means.

My point is that, while I also get pissed-off with people driving too fast around the school, parking like tw*ts etc, it annoys me that people who have no idea what it's like to be a parent always pop up on these types of threads and spout shite about how "darling johnny" is always wrapped up in cotton wool, it wasn't like that in my day, blah, blah f*cking blah...

You may have gathered I'm not in a very good mood.
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to Submit to Gravity) I think you will find theyve all been kids though. And gone to school.And I'll lay money most of them had parents who cared about them as much as you care about your kids. Its just the perception of the journey to school as packed with danger that seems to have changed.

I suspect it's the distance from the house to the school that's changed, along with societal perception of what degree of risk it's acceptable to expose your children to.
pebbles - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: yeah, but the other side of that is a generation of obese, unfit kids who are likely to die younger than their parents.
In reply to pebbles: Walking to school or not isn't the sole factor in that.

Anyway, I'm confused - are we all fat and going to die in our 60s, or will we all live to 100 and bankrupt the country with our pensions?
Jamming Dodger on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity: No, you sound in an awful mood.
Whilst as ive already mentioned I can agree that days arent like they used to be, its fact that most kids who could walk or be walked to school dont. And I was looking for practical solutions. I take it you drive your kids to school. What are the reasons for this? Not to have a dig, im genuinely interested in people's reasons for driving their kids to school because otherwise how can the problem of crowding at the school gates be resolved?
pebbles - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity: I dont think its a rational perception of risk though. Its a perception thats been fed by the media until its out of all proportion to the degree of risk involved. And (playing devils advocate here) I wonder how much the objective danger of the journey to school has been increased by the traffic around the school gates. Like the OP, I'm incensed by the parents who park right up on the zigzags round the zebra crossings at the gates to drop their own kids off, citing their own kids safety and oblivious to the fact they are endangering others
In reply to Jamming Dodger: I don't think I disagree with either you or Pebbles. We drive my daughter to school because it's 4 miles away. I park about 200 yards away. There's an unofficial one-way system to make things safer, some parents don't comply with it. Some parents park on the zig-zags and drive too fast. I don't.
Jenny C on 22 Nov 2012
Thinking back to when I was at primary school most Mum's either didn't work or only did so part time. Also the vast majority of us came from "Single Car Families" so if Dad needed the car to get to work Mum no little choice other than to walk us in (come rain or shine).

These days rather than taking time out to be a full time Mum, parents are trying to juggle full time jobs (possibly also a single parent) and childcare. I guess it's impossible for them to fit everything into the day without a car to rush them from home to work via school each day.
Ramblin dave - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger) I don't think I disagree with either you or Pebbles. We drive my daughter to school because it's 4 miles away.

Fair enough. Out of interest, is it actually the nearest school to you or did you decide not to go with somewhere nearer?

Not judging, btw, just interested. I've got issues with the system that enshrines Parental Choice as the solution to all ills[1], but none with the parents who've got to do the best with what they've got.

[1] ie, some schools are crap, but that's alright because we've got Parental Choice so everyone can Choose not to go to the crap ones.
In reply to Ramblin dave: There is a closer one within walking distance, but we chose what we felt was the better school. I think I agree with you btw.
Jenny C on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jenny C: Still doesn't in any way excuse ignoring the traffic restrictions which are put in place for the safety of ALL kids.

Perhaps there is a need for a designated dropping off zone a (very) short walk from the school (with no roads to cross), coupled with a much stricter enforcement of the existing parking restrictions outside all schools.

It is very clear to me as a driver that there is far less traffic on the roads outside school term and as such I do feel that schools create a great deal of additional road traffic. Be that because parents are (rightly or wrongly) terrified of letting their little darlings out of their sight, or or simply the logistics of getting everyone to school/work on time.
In reply to Jenny C:
terrified of letting their little darlings out of their sight,

It's that sort of snidy remark that annoys me.

Bobling - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jenny C:

I used to think that when term was on school drop off created a disproportionate amount of additional road traffic, but it is a little more complex than that - during school holidays lots of parents are on leave staying home to look after the kids. So its a combination of the school run and that fact that there are loads more people at work that stuffs the traffic.
Neil Williams - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jenny C:

Am I the only one who thinks "good" when I hear of it becoming uneconomic to pay for childcare and better for one parent[1] to stay at home and bring up their own kids, as IMO it should be?

The way some parents talk about sorting out "the childcare" is so impersonal it makes me sad. Almost a commodity, not something that should be the most important thing in the world to the parents.

While she doesn't read in here and so won't see it, I was incredibly pleased that my sister decided she would bring her own kids up at home, using some of that time to do things to save money so they could make it financially viable as well. They're not rich, but they've got what they need, and their two kids (a girl about 6 months old, a boy just over 3 years) are getting a loving upbringing by their own parents, to me so much more important than whether they'll be able to afford a big flat screen telly and an iPad.

They have one car (and pushbikes), but live in a small, walkable town (Ulverston, if anyone cares). I'm certain the kids will be walked to school when they're old enough to go, just as I was, not hurriedly dropped off on the way to work in the city.

[1] Note that I don't care which one, or even if it's both doing part-time jobs that don't overlap.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

"a girl about 6 months old"

Who, for a bit of amusement to the assembled masses, looks scarily like...me! Really!

Neil
another_mark on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to another_mark)
> [...]
>
> I've never heard of a school that does this, where have you seen this?

I live next to a primary school which has this policy. The kids can't actually get into the school grounds until the gate is unlocked.

On a cold morning with the rain pissing down the queue of damp children waiting to get in at 8:45 is quite pathetic. (I take my children to the school in the next village which doesn't have such a stupid pissy attitude and 8:45 is the latest that I can leave and not be late.).
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another_mark on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to another_mark: I should say that at the other end I usually park in a community centre car park and walk the kids in to school.

Sensibly, the pre-school which uses the community centre doesn't start until 9:15 so the two lots of traffic don't overlap.
Pinkelephant - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
Do you have kids, then? Or only a your sister? It's a very different ting if you and your partner are involved personally.

Me and my partner have both worked long and hard to get some reasonable jobs and, yes, we have decided to have a kid and we shall look after him, of course, but for that to be possible we need some childcare. However, to say one of us has to stay at home completely (hence completely taking yourself out of the job market) is completely unrealistic in today's times. Assume my wife stays at home for 20 years -where will she be in terms of pension? There is nothing whatsover accounted in for that. So, I think it's nice idea to say one of you should stay at home, but in today's current climate this is not possible at all unless you want to be poor and homeless in old age.

Also, how do you decide who shoud give up your career? I think these are things at always very clearcut until you find yourself in this position ;-)
ranger*goy on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

I havent read all this thread yet but here's my view. Many parents are lazy feckers.

I always walk my son to school, even if its raining. The kids actually enjoy the walk. They race ahead on scooters. Thurs & Fri we cycle.

We only live 10 mins away and there are families that live closer who drive!

The road by the school is lined with cars with a nasty right hand bend at one end. They park everywhere and it gets on my nerves. We have to cycle up to that bend in the middle of the road because of bloody parked cars.

And this is a small village school with 60 odd kids in it.

I could rant for ages but I'll stop now and read the thread.
ranger*goy on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I've started letting my son go by himself a couple of times a week. He's 7. I tend to pick him up else he forgets all his reading books and homework.
Timmd on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to ranger*goy:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> I've started letting my son go by himself a couple of times a week. He's 7. I tend to pick him up else he forgets all his reading books and homework.

I can remember you not having had a child yet, could be time I stopped posting and lurking on UKC?!?
Bobling - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

Grrrr, that's all I'm saying.
trouserburp - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Big beanbag on the pavement. No need to slow down as the kids can just jump out. No queues, no dangerous maneuvers, work on time, everyone's a winner
Orgsm on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane:
> (In reply to Jamming Dodger)
> [...]

> Perhaps a drop off point should be allocated a little way from the school, or several points from each approaching direction.......... perhaps 150m away or so.
> This will lessen the density of the traffic outside the gates.

I think 150 miles away is about right. Walk to school! We see increasing levels of obesity and wonder why. It all starts with the parent's poor attitudes and behaviour. Such as driving a kid to school when there is absolutely no need.

ranger*goy on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Timmd:

I know, I tend to lurk more these days :)
krikoman - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Neil Williams: Really?? and donít you think that kids miss playing with their peers and learning from that how to negotiate arguments, fights, sharing, self-assertiveness, competitiveness and all the other things that kids miss out on by being at home with one parent. It breeds dependency and can be difficult to break the reliance on the "main" parent.

I always thought that I didn't like the idea of childcare but the one our daughter went to was fantastic and set her on her life with a wide range of emotional tools, social skills and an enquiring mind.

It was very hard to leave her there, as someone quite rightly said itís the most important thing in your life, but in modern times when kids might not have siblings of the same age or even close friends in the neighbourhood; childcare can be very beneficial.


stevieb - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamming Dodger:
What about a raised zebra crossing? At school drop off time with a constant stream of kids and parents, the cars could be stuck there for ages.
It might only displace the problem by 200m, but the area directly outside the school is most important from a safety standpoint.

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