At first the council were unwilling to provide transport to and from school so tiger mum came into action and after a stroppy email a taxi was miraculously provided. To save the few remnants of my sanity Heidi joined the after school homework club 3 afternoons a week and the taxi was provided for that.
At about year 9 I
suggested to school that she should be travel trained to and from school by bus. The travel trainer visited us to get to know
Heidi and explain to me how training would work. We are lucky that the bus stop is right outside
the house, but the trainer taught Heidi how to keep a look out for landmarks so
she knew that she was nearly at school or home.
The trainer also taught Heidi how to show her bus pass, how to behave on
the bus and showing the safest (though not nearest) bus stop for return
journey. Heidi loved this independence
but even after being signed off it didn’t stop me peeking from behind hedges to
make sure she was safe!
I know of others who
have tried travel training and may not pass to travel alone but have been
passed to travel with a buddy; this is still great independence. The young person can travel with the buddy to
places that they want to go to rather than just where mum/dad want to take
I have heard parents’ concerns about “stranger danger” incidents on buses and independent travelling – these are incredibly rare and teaching Heidi how to deal with them seemed safer to me than shielding her completely and not allowing her to enjoy some freedom, like her siblings and her friends.
(Though apologies to
the lady who kindly told Heidi that her skirt was caught up at the back and she
was showing her knickers to the world.
Heidi retorted with a loud “I don’t know you.” The lady explained that
she knew me and that she was only trying to help. Heidi sorted her skirt out and continued on
her way but was not convinced that the lady was only helping!)
A repeated fear that I hear
is that our youngsters could find themselves stranded without any idea how to
get home. Allowing them to travel train
(to their ability) means that they would at least know the basics if they were
stranded. It might mean that you follow
them at a distance a few times to allay your fears but let them try it – they
will probably surprise you.
I have never had to
rescue Heidi from the opposite side of the city, because she got on the number
10 to Longford rather than the number 10 to Canley – hang your heads in shame