PARENTS

Do You Really Need To Do The School Run?

24/08/2009 11:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

<div xmlns:cc=Getting the children ready and out the door on time for school can be a bit of a nightmare. Add to that the school run and it's a wonder I'm not bald from tearing my hair out.

Why? Because we do the school run twenty times a week and it's the worst part of my day.

It's the worst part of my younger children's day too and the battle over getting in the car, who's going to sit in which seat and what music will be played haunts me.

But I'm aware that the educational choices we made for our family necessitate this performance. I grit my teeth and barely grin. I count down how many more years I have to do this (two). And sometimes I play my music. Loudly.

I am also aware that for many families today, it's a necessary evil too.

The reasons why some of our children don't attend our village school are complicated and personal but I know we're not the only ones who choose to send their children out of catchment.

Not only is it not environmentally friendly, it is stressful and not nearly as much fun as walking to school which we used to do.

Parking at their school is a nightmare. The villagers must hate us. Some parents block drive ways and park on the yellow hatchings outside the school, oblivious to why they are painted there. It's as if they think 'Safety? My kids are safe, thank you very much, driven door to door.'

Here's the thing though: if my children and all the others weren't driven to this school, it would have closed down long ago because there aren't enough local children to sustain it.

So while I do feel guilty, I don't feel that guilty. I try to minimise our impact on the village by parking a distance from the school so we do have to walk a bit of the way.

There are alternatives but busy roads and inclement weather can put off the most enthusiastic cyclist, which I'm not. I did consider it (very briefly) but narrow roads, bad bends, large lorries and lots of children to transport meant I soon dismissed it.

But it's not just "outsiders" that drive to school, I've seen villagers doing it too. When you have to shoot off to work, time is a luxury you don't have.

Instead of making parents feel guilty yet again for actually exercising their choice about schools freely given by the Government perhaps a new transport plan should be devised?

Even America, not known for its eco-friendliness, manages the green option of bussing children to school. Why would it be so hard to implement something similar here?

In September I will have four children in three different schools. Two will be bussed into an out of catchment school that most of the older village children attend. They will be transported by parents, using village vehicles. Sometimes you have to get on and do things yourself instead of waiting for others to come up with a solution.

As they head off to school each day I give thanks that someone in our village had the gumption, contacts, time and organisational skills to come up with this innovative scheme.

Do you do feel guilty for driving your children to school or have you hit on a greener option like cycling or lift sharing? Or are you lucky enough to walk?

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