Travelling to/from school alone
PUPILS TRAVELLING TO AND FROM SCHOOL ALONE
There are no laws regarding the age at which children are allowed to travel to school unaccompanied.
Parents are legally obliged to ensure their children get to school and attend regularly, but this in itself does not disallow independent travel. However, as a school we are responsible for the welfare of our pupils and therefore we have put together what we believe is good practice in ensuring the safety of our pupils.
We have an obligation to alert relevant authorities should we believe a child’s welfare is at risk.
Pupils in Foundation Stage or KS1
Our school policy is that no pupil in Early Years or Key Stage 1 should walk to or from school on their own or be left unaccompanied on the school premises either before or after school. We will only dismiss pupils to named individuals who are at least 16 years old.
Pupils will not be dismissed to other adults unless the school has been informed by the parent that they have made this arrangement. We ask that you keep us informed of any changes in arrangements by notifying the office in writing.
If an adult arrives to collect your child and the school has not been notified, that adult will have to wait until we have verified his or her identity. If nobody arrives to collect a child in these year groups, they will be kept in school and parents contacted. If the child is not collected and we have failed to make contact with the child’s carer, we will consult with family services. We will not allow older brothers or sisters who attend Alexandra Primary School to collect younger siblings.
Pupils in Year 3, 4 and 5
While there is no set age at which children are ready to walk to school or home on their own, we believe that pupils in year 3, 4 and 5 should be still brought to and collected from school and this is our school policy. We will only dismiss pupils in these year groups to named individuals who are over the age of 14 years.
The only exception to this is that in the Summer term of Year 5 children are allowed to walk home unaccompanied, under the same provisions as those set out below for Pupils in Year 6.
Pupils in Year 6
We believe that parents should decide whether a child in Year 6 (or Year 5, in the Summer term) is ready for the responsibility of walking to and from school alone.
In deciding whether a child is ready to walk to school alone, parents should consider the length of the journey, the route the child will take and the mode of transport. We would not expect, for example, a child to ride their bicycle to school alone unless and until they have completed their Bikeability training.
Parents might want to consider whether their child:
- will walk straight home
- will behave sensibly when with a friend
- the child is road safety aware
- would know what to do if a stranger approaches them
- would know what to do and who to approach if they needed help.
If you are not confident about the above then you may decide not to allow your child to walk on their own.
If you decide that your child is ready to travel unaccompanied then you must inform the school by completing the form below. Your child will not be dismissed from school alone unless this permission has been given in writing. You must also ensure that you notify the school in writing if at any time you need to change the arrangements currently in place.
If the school is concerned about a child’s behaviour, either on site or whilst walking to or from school, the option of children doing this independently may be withdrawn and parents would be asked to collect and pick up.
Parents should also note that we will not allow children to walk home alone in the dark. Please bear in mind that if they are attending an after school club it may be dark when the club finishes.
Where children walk to, or home, from school alone we would usually expect that a parent, or other responsible person, is at home when they leave or arrive. If the child will be leaving from, or returning to, an empty house, we would expect that this is only for a short period of time and that the child knows how, and is able, to access emergency adult support if needed.
There are many ways you can prepare your child to make an independent journey. Parents should work with their children to build up their independence while walking to school through route finding, road safety skills and general awareness.
Parents should bear in mind that children who are driven to school may not have as much opportunity to develop road awareness and could therefore be more vulnerable when they start to walk to school independently.
Walking to school is a great opportunity to learn road safety skills. The best way to do this is to walk with your children from a young age, teaching them about crossing the road, learning how to navigate and a host of other skills. This helps them gain the experience and confidence to deal with traffic and way finding on their own, in preparation for walking with friends, or alone, when they are older.
There are many online resources to support parents teaching their children about road safety, including:
Please fill in this form if you would like your Year 6 (or Year 5 in the summer term) child to walk home alone.