THE BLOG

Grumpy Dad Takes on the School Run

13/02/2015 12:27 GMT | Updated 13/04/2015 10:59 BST

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I'm not much of a fan of the school run, especially when it comes to driving kids to school. I never had the luxury of being driven, I walked or cycled, and we have tried to punish... force... set this precedent with our daughter (it's much healthier and better for the environment if nothing else).

This was easy to do when we lived only a few streets away, but when we moved, over three miles away, things got trickier. However it hasn't stopped us trying (as much as you can try anything with a 5 year old, she's very Yoda - "do or do not, there is no try").

She will invariably catch a bus most days and it is very rare that we drive her, (only if there have been missed or late buses, or she is just grumpy as hell, anything for an easy life) yet the school to which she goes is full of children who have been driven there.

So why, when most live nearby and those who don't could catch the bus, do parents insist on clogging up the already busy roads, and disrupting other people's time starved lives, just so their little bag of snot bundle of joy doesn't have to walk?

Others may live further away

I can picture you now shouting at the screen "maybe they live a good distance away, you don't know" and yes maybe some do, but I know for a fact some don't and are still driven in, and I don't mean the occasional drop off as the parent is heading out or to work. I mean every single day.

When we did live near to the school there was another child one street over, attending the same school, and yet, living as close as us she was still driven in every day by her mum.

The Story

We would dutifully leave our house with 15 minutes to go before the gates opened, any parents will understand that this allows time for the inevitable dawdling, feet dragging, forgotten school bags, the "I don't want to go to school" rants or the running off to walk with friends and chatting in the playground, and we would still beat the other, driven, child to the school gates.

We'd also then beat them home (I should point out the mum was fully able bodied as was the daughter and she didn't go somewhere else after but came home). Afternoon pick up was the same; we'd get there first and be home first.

This proves to me one thing; It was slower to drive than to walk, and yet she still drove, why?

Parking

One reason driving is inevitably slower is the sheer numbers of other cars also arriving at the school for drop off or pick up (to paraphrase Futurama - nobody drives there are too many cars).

It is a well-known fact that parents are incapable of parking when they drop their kids off; They dump the car and run, or hover in the middle of car-parks rather than sensibly pulling over in a side street, this further adds to the delays (and carnage) outside of schools.

At my daughters school this is no different, there is very limited parking room, the shared car-park is split between a busy health centre and a pub (probably a good job with all the bad driving, I think most of us need one or the other after a school run), as well as the school. A pain at the best of times (especially for patients who end up late as there is nowhere to park, and don't get me started on why staff park in there!), yet this lack of parking is made worse by the parents who think it is their right to dump their cars (often blocking roads, paths and safe views at crossing points) and all so their precious child doesn't have to walk too far!

Buses

This parking chaos is more evident on our bus journey in. Coming through one estate, one with a larger school and therefore larger school run, the cars dropping children off block the entire road.

Grid lock is achieved every morning at 08:30 on the dot, the bus ends up remaining stationary for what feels like hours, just so little Jenny or Timmy can be dropped at the front door, heaven forbid they actually walk! - It's an outrage!

Personally if I were a local council I'd be sending my traffic wardens to hover outside of the local schools, they'd either make enough to clear the deficit or at least prevent the bad parking from happening. Either way I win.

I can't be alone in despising the school run and lazy parents can I?