Independent travel

There comes a time in every child’s life where they will travel on their own. This is usually when they start secondary school. Some children may do this in years 5 and 6 (Key Stage 2).

Planning the route

When your child starts making their own way to school, help them work out the safest route there and back. You should:

  • Start by using a map software or by drawing a simple map, marking the route and talking it through.
  • Avoid potential danger spots such as busy junctions, bends, and areas where parked cars that restrict visibility. This may make the journey a bit longer but it will be safer.
  • Make the journey together several times before they start on their own to build their confidence. Many parents find this reassuring when letting their child travel independently.
  • Plan alternative routes so they are prepared if their usual route is unavailable.

Bus safety

To help keep children safe when using the bus, you can teach them the following:

  • Wait at the bus stop and keep away from the edge of the kerb.
  • When waiting for a bus in rural locations, ensure you are visible to the driver. If the driver cannot see you, you may miss the bus.
  • When the bus arrives, wait for people to get off before you get on.
  • Never distract the driver.

If you need to cross the road after getting off the bus:

  • Wait for it to drive away. Never attempt to cross in front or behind the bus as it restricts visibility.
  • Use the Green Cross Code to help you cross the road safely.

Staying safe

It is important that your child remains as safe as possible when travelling on their own. You should ensure that they:

  • Keep to public places.
  • Avoid poorly lit areas.
  • Know what to do if approached by a stranger.
  • Never talk to or accept a lift from strangers.
  • Travel with friends where possible.
  •  Keep mobiles, money and other electronic devices out of sight.

You should also make sure that your child knows the following:

  • Home address and relevant telephone numbers.
  • How to contact the emergency services.
  • What to do if they lose their travel card, money or keys.
  • Who to approach in the school if they have a problem.