My daughter, Sydney, is now in year two. She’s been at the same school since nursery, though they moved to a new building during her time in year one. The shiny new building is bigger, now able to accommodate two classes per year.
The last Ofsted report marked it as ‘Outstanding’, one of the few with such a grade in the area. Oversubscription has been a problem for a long time. The consequence of this is that the children accepted are generally a very short distance away. Based on the admissions data, we were the furthest away – the boundary map literally goes half way across our house. This was, of course, based on the old buildings location, which was just shy of a 0.5-mile walk.
The new building, a few streets away, is 0.65 miles away. We tend to take a fairly easy-pace when walking and it takes us 15 minutes. We are fortunate that it’s quite a pleasant walk – we go via the park at the end of our street, before crisscrossing through the streets.
Personally, I enjoy this time to and from school. We talk about anything and everything or play ‘eye spy’ games. A network of one-way streets means if we were to drive, it would actually take us longer than walking. That’s a consequence of having to go via one of the towns busiest roads to get there from our home. So, regardless of the weather, we still walk.
I’m forever puzzled at the sheer number of parents that drive their children to school though. I understand that perhaps a few may have moved further away since their children joined the school. In those cases it’s clearly unavoidable. However, on our walk, we go past – at the halfway point – 2 families that always drive. It’s not unusual for us to walk past a family getting into their car, and still arrive at the school gates at the same time. Very rarely do they beat us there.
It’s not just a handful of families doing this either. At a guess, at least half the children in school are driven there. Much, I imagine, to the annoyance of the neighbours that have to put up with an influx of cars blocking the streets and driveways each morning and afternoon.
Regardless of whether it keeps you warm and dry for longer, I wouldn’t give up my 30 minutes of ‘one on one’ chat time with my daughter each day for anything.