The School Run

children crossing sign

We speak to three Wealden parents to find out how they manage to fit drop-offs and pick-ups into their busy work lives...


The pre-schoolers

Helena Barker
2 daughters, Constance, 3, at nursery, and Poppy, 5, at school

Who takes the children to school and picks them up? Thankfully my job is local and starts at 9.30. I take them to school by car every day, and, for the three days that I'm at work, my wonderful mother is in charge of pick-up and teatime. If she's away, I have to try to rope in other grandparents to help or juggle days off with my husband, Rodney.

What happens when you're at work during the holidays? The nursery has a fantastic holiday club which is a lifesaver. As Constance is not yet 5 she can attend this. It's open from 8am to 4.30pm, so, again, my mum will do a pick up on a work day.

Is there an opportunity to lift-share with other children at nursery or school? This would be ideal, but isn't necessarily an easy option as children up to the age of 12 require a car seat to travel (or at least until they're 135cm in height - whichever comes first). We live too far away from the school to walk, but lots of my friends with children in the surrounding villages have started a 'walking bus' to cut down on petrol costs and promote healthy living.

In your opinion is there anything that the school or nursery could do to make your school run easier? A car park would be fantastic - at the moment I have to park on the main road which is not ideal. However, there's a wonderful lollipop man who controls the traffic and ensures a safe crossing. Between us as parents we've decided to share a list of all our contact numbers and email addresses in case of pick-up problems. There are breakfast and after-school clubs which are designed to help working families and the school and nursery that my children attend are incredibly supportive.



The primary schoolers

Jonathan Simmons
1 daughter, Juliet, aged 10

Who takes your child to school and picks them up? Because I am a teacher, in order to fit my work around the school day I decided to apply for a position at the school my daughter was to attend which I was fortunate enough to be offered. This means that I am able to ferry her to and from school by car - meaning that she has to get there a little earlier and leave a little later which isn't always very popular, along with occasionally popping in with me during the school holidays!

What happens during the holidays? Because my holidays are the same as the school's, give or take a few days, we save money on childcare costs as I am around to look after Juliet and her friends when they come over to play.

Is there an opportunity to lift-share with other parents? If I am working late, or have a parents' evening, fellow parents, who are now also friends that we have made through the school, kindly take Juliet back to their own homes until either myself or my wife can pick her up when either she or I finish work. This balances out when it comes to the holidays, when I look after their children in return during the day if they're working.

In your opinion is there anything that the school could do to make travelling there easier? We're really lucky in that the school offers a mini-bus to collect children in the morning and take them home in the evening. There are also lots of late afternoon activities to take part in, along with summer schools and sports matches at weekends. There's also an opportunity to have tea and do prep with the boarders too, which is a great way for the children to socialise during the week as well as helping us parents out.



The sixth formers

Jane Laws
1 son, Josh, 16 and 1 daughter, Beth, 18

Who takes the children to college and picks them up? My children go to college by train. I drop them off in the morning on my way to work and pick them up on my way back in the evening. If they finish earlier than I do, they catch the bus home from their college, which takes much longer than the train - they hate it - it takes an hour compared to 20 mins on the train! When Josh and Beth were at school, I dropped them at the school bus stop in the mornings and then in the evening they would walk home from the bus stop.

What happens in the holidays? Because they're old enough, they look after themselves in the holidays. I give them the odd lift here and there, but they're pretty self-sufficient which is great.

Is there an opportunity to lift-share with other parents or pupils? Some of their friends now drive which means that they don't have to rely on me and my husband for lifts. My seventeen year old is currently learning to drive and saving up money, through working at a local shop during the weekends, to buy her own car.

In your opinion is there anything that the college could do to make travelling there easier? Hastings College is right next to the station, and there are several bus stops nearby so it's very convenient when it comes to transport links. When we lived in East Sussex, Josh and Beth could get a special student train ticket from Southern Rail because their travel was within a certain region. Now we're Kent-based they unfortunately don't qualify for this so we have to pay extra. It would be great if these kind of discounts were across the board and not dependent on a particular council.