OPINION: Can't handle traffic near your home during school runs? Just move!

Ruth Davies says we should give parents who drive their children a break

Ruth Davies says we should give parents who drive their children to a school a break if they leave their cars outside the homes of people who live near schools - Credit: Archant

Before  my husband Jonny and I returned to East Anglia, cashing in on the unsuitable flat we’d bought in London pre-kids for a big family home, we’d tried our best to find a way to stay in London.

We knew we couldn’t afford to do it really but we looked anyway and the only property within our budget (a house in a dire area with absolutely everything you could think of needing doing to it) fell short in not just the work it needed.

Just as we were thinking with a squint it could be a goer, an alarm bell sounded loudly in our ears as the school next door rang theirs to signal the end of the day.

We knew we’d found our deal breaker as kids swarmed out, for while dereliction and building flaws in abundance had us a bit weak at the knees yet prepared to attempt thinking about it, the noise of the school kids was not for us.

I reasoned in my head, still wanting it to work, that it was term time only, twice a day and for minimal amounts of time but… as we left the front door of the home that would never be ours, the cars mounting the pavements told us this was not what we wanted to sign up for.


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Eyes open, we bowed out knowing it meant a compromise in another direction, an entire relocation in fact, but that was our choice.

We could have, of course, not been bothered by it all and for the person who eventually bought that property I assume it was an experience they green lit.

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My point is, we are all different and what works for one won’t for another but unlike dry rot or historical subsidence this is one fairly obvious trait to a house next to a school. No survey required and you easily opt in or, like us, you opt out.

It astounds me then that some of the people who live near to my own village school seem to take such umbrage with parents and children simply going about the school run.

Judging by my own experience and that of friends I’d say community Facebook pages are awash with upset folk who live near schools the country over but why? What did they all expect?

I sympathise that some may park illegally, dangerously or both but I think the vast majority drive and park as capably as they do anywhere else.

Would it would be more ideal if everyone could walk to school? Yes. But it isn’t always possible when people work or live too far away (they keep building houses but make no school provision – another story).

However, nobody goes out of their way to deliberately be obstructive, instead we all go about our day as easily as we possibly can and while I absolutely get the deal about the noise, the parking and the disruption, it wasn’t for me after all, I do wonder why they chose to live there if it upsets them so much?

Reading recently about what looks to be mostly elderly, retired residents who live near to Cleethorpes Academy and I’m afraid I find it hard to be sympathetic to their school parking woes in any way.

They live in a cul-de-sac which apparently gets inundated and they’re not just disgruntled, taking to Facebook to vent their moans, they actually put their bins across the road and stand behind them blocking the way for the children.

Some schools have put up parking signs near their schools to stop deter parents from parking near school gates

Some schools have put up parking signs near their schools to stop deter parents from parking near school gates - Credit: Archant

Now that, to me, is a lot of effort and disruption to their day. Surely it would be easier to wait 20 minutes and calm down as by then everyone will have gone home anyway!

Their points include that this particular gate on this particular road isn’t usually used so it should continue to be that way but as with lots of things during restrictions, it’s a bit different right now.

To help ease a national pandemic the school have opened the gate up to make congestion upon entering school safer. Compromise, something we are all doing to do our bit to make the spread less, mainly for retired people who don’t go out to work in the morning but who are at a higher risk of Covid.

I think it all boils down to a lack of understanding, not from the parents or the kids but the people who are so upset by this minor inconvenience which is at such minimal occurrence I literally rolled my eyes when I heard about it.

Just as I roll my eyes at people who stand in their driveways admonishing those who park near by at my own school each day. Personally I walk, I don’t need to drive but some really do so what are they supposed to do? Fly their kids in?

It’s an inconvenience to have your road congested in the morning but a minor one that doesn’t last long.

I think you also have to appreciate that school runs are stressful, especially for working parents who have to be somewhere, so it’s got to be give and take, live and let live.

We are all just going about trying to make the day run as smoothly as we can so I think on this occasion, if you live near a school, you just have to accept that’s how things are.

There’s always Rightmove if you really cannot.

Houses near to schools are very sought after, a sale would be snapped up by a parent who doesn’t want to drive to school and would gladly live close enough so that they can walk.

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk

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