Wiki-Wednesday – School Run

22 08 2007

School run

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The School Run is a modern phenomenon associated with parents taking their children to school by car. Outside most British schools parents park cars near the school gates and drop off and pick up their children at the appropriate times.

In the past it was not unusual for most children to walk to school, either on their own, with friends, or accompanied by an adult. Walking to school has fallen from 61% of primary school pupils in 1992/4 to 50% in 2004. [1] Walking to school is being replaced by parents using cars, sometimes in a rota with other parents.

The reasons for this are manifold. Firstly, in many cases both parents work and do not have time to walk their children to school, and do not know any other parents who have the time either. Secondly, even if the children are old enough to walk on their own (or cycle), most parents are worried that something may happen to them, e.g. abduction, car accidents etc. Some schools do not offer bus service and can be too far to walk to school anyway, forcing the school run.

Ironically, the risk of children being run over near their schools is much higher than in the past due to all the parents driving their own children to school and parking in unsafe places near the school gates. It is not unusual to see cars parking in bus stops, on pedestrian crossings or facing the wrong way, with children getting in or out of the car.

The fear that something may happen to the children is perhaps more to do with media coverage of isolated (but tragic) cases than any real threat.

Some schools now have a 20 mph (~30 km/h) speed limit operating when the children are about, though traffic congestion often necessitates a lower speed.

A further problem in recent times has been an increasing level of choice by parents as to which school their children go to. Obviously the inevitable result is that kids may have further to travel and are more likely to require a bus or a lift in the car.

It is claimed that the school run is responsible for a large amount of the traffic problems in the morning rush hour. However, the often dramatic reduction in congestion at the start of school holidays, is also due to the fact that many parents have to go on holiday at this time.

The decreasing amount of exercise and associated increase in obesity are also partly blamed on the school run.

In the United Kingdom, the school run has become a popular target for some politicians and campaigners against the use of cars for journeys which could be better walked or cycled. One of the campaigns promoting this alternative is the walk to school campaign.


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One response

23 08 2007
Andy D

I drive my daughter to school because the school is a few miles away. I think the “school run” also has to do with the number of people living in larger metro areas. I grew up in a small town where walking to school was possible. Now I live in a large Metro area, and it isn’t practical, safe, or efficient.

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