The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Mstr A brought home a school newsletter last night. These are sent out periodically to all parents/carers with children at the school, and contain information of forthcoming events, dates, and issues at the school. The second paragraph of this newsletter reads:

"If ever you are unable to get your child to/from school due to family illness....please consider using a local taxi firm to transport your child........all the drivers are very good with unaccompanied children"

I was absolutely appalled, horrified and disgusted to read that. The headteacher of a primary school (aged up to 11 years old), is basically stating that ALL children should be accompanied at all times, and that he would be delighted for 600 taxi's to arrive at the school gates every morning and afternoon!

So I wrote a letter:-)

You can read the whole text here, but it basically outlines all the reasons why taking taxi's to school is wrong:
  • Children are constantly being told to be more active
  • Government & local authorities & schools all run active campaigns to get parents to stop driving their kids to school & start walking.
  • Cars cause pollution, especially cold & idling cars
  • Pollution is bad for the environment - and schools teach ecological living!
  • pollution causes asthma - a massive problem in today's kids
  • The police did a spot check on local taxi's last week & 1/3 were defective or unroadworthy
  • Children do not have to use child seats in taxi's
  • An enormous % of child road deaths happen outside of schools, usually school run cars killing pedestrians
  • Taxi drivers are not CRB checked, and ther are a large number of bogus firm operating. 10 women are raped in "taxi's" each week. Yet the school is happy to assure us ALL the drivers are very good with unaccompanied children!
  • Taxi's cost money - discriminating against the poorer families, and leading to bullying
  • The DfES & HSE state that children need to be taught to be "risk aware" not "risk adverse" and they only do that by experiencing risk!
  • Repeat my immoral, unethical, unsafe, unprofessional & expesive argument from the post below about parental choice

But I haven't sent it yet. I think I should. Aggie thinks I shouldn't rock the boat.

I was intending to CC it to the "old" school, and some local media.

What do you think. Should I send it?


  • At Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:01:00 pm, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said…

    I would be soooo PISSED!! How dare they slip that in the newsletter! I don't know whether you should send the letter or not, you're there and are a better judge as to what reaction you might get. I still think there's safety in numbers. Have you found any other parents who would join with you in a protest?

  • At Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:16:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    VV - I haven't had a chance - what with being ill & starting a new job:-(

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 7:54:00 am, Blogger Miss M. said…

    Awesome letter, JM, I think send it, but considering what Aggie thinks about rocking the boat maybe skip the CC's. If they say anything more after that, then they're just asking for trouble.

    I love the bit in the letter about the current problems with teenagers! Being a teenager still myself I feel quite free to giggle at that one, though I think I've been fairly mild compared to some. Perhaps the reason for that is because my parents encouraged me to make my own decisions re risk, rather than holding my hand all the time?

    My dad especially used to take pride in letting me go my own way. When I was very small, we lived on a quiet street with a small fenced yard out the front and a nice little gate. I was allowed to play in the yard on my own, and the gate was always left open. When we first moved there, I can just remember the conversation with my father about the gate. It wasn't "don't ever go through the gate", but "there are big bad cars out there, bigger than M, so M should be very careful and call Mummy or Daddy first" - telling me the dangers, then leaving me to my own devices (I think I was all of about three at the time).

    Seems to me that Mstr A will be aware enough of the world around him to keep himself - and others even - safe as he gets older. Congrats, and don't let the big bad school people get you down!

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:55:00 am, Blogger RCA said…

    Its getting the tone right - I think there are very valid points there but you don't want them to be able to paint you as the lone dissesnter - support would be helpful, alternatives (Parent Trees, Reasonable distances, School Bus?)and making the point that the school shouldn't discreminate against parents that work and can't get to the school gates.

    Wouldn't CC anyone yet and why CC the old school? But you and media... its inevitable :-)

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 2:29:00 pm, Blogger Aginoth said…

    There is however an additional issue of the one busy junction (a crossroads with a mini-roundabout) that needs to be crossed to approach the school.

    Mstr.A usually asks a nearby adult with children to help him cross at this point, and the nearest traffic light controlled crossing is about 400 yards away (so you'll never get a child to walk to it)

    A better course of action may be to reword the letter to be a constructive suggestion as to why a campaign should be mounted by the school for a crossing at this point. That would make it safer for the children to walk to school and remove an argument that the school could use about road safety.

    I agree though that the CC's should be remnoved...for now...

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 4:13:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Ah, but the junction is ONLY busy because of all the parents and taxi's driving to the school! Outside of school run times, you'd have to wait a good 1/2 hour to be sure of seeing a vehicle on the road!

    And he crosses it safely - I watched (& waited for) him looking for a clear spot.

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 4:14:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    And the CC's were originally you're idea Aggie!

    I'll take them off

    for now

    and write an extra paragraph offering some helpful advice.

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 4:44:00 pm, Blogger Emily said…

    Hi JM

    I am as angry as you are about this. I might write a bit on my blog about it if that is ok.

    Have you called the education dept at your local council to see what they say about children making their own way to school and advocating ALL taxis as safe? Would be interesting. You should tell them you are writing a news story about it and go to the press office and ask for the official line.

    if I was you, I would take it to the press. Obviously you'd expect some of the real earth mothers to condemn you into the ground for letting a child actually walk to school, but I reckon the majority would think it as ridiculous as I do.

    Out of interest, is there a walking bus near your house? If not, why not try and set one up and add that into your campaign too?

    Bloody irritating school though, making it public as if to put you in your place for good. Go and make some noise!

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 4:48:00 pm, Blogger Emily said…

    Your other half makes a good point about the crossing. It would be good from the media point of view as well....

    Why stop kids walking to school and getting healthy just because there isn't a safe crossing point?

    The media would get the council in on that one on getting a crossing or a lollipop lady.

    Try to add in as many constructive improvements as possible.

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 7:56:00 pm, Anonymous Nanny A said…

    I am not going to diagree with you in principle- but having today taken the route to school with Mstr.A. I truely believe you shouldnt send the letter to school at present,instead so that it is safer for him to go alone the letter that is most urgently needed is one to bring to the attention of the council how highly dangerous it is to cross the road at the mini roundabout.I had to ask for help to hold up the traffic which was coming at us from four roads at once.So please DinLaw just for now could you channel your protesting towards that and after it is truely safe for Mstr A to go it alone go get him.!!!!!

  • At Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:08:00 pm, Blogger Fat Eric said…

    Interesting discussion (I am a primary school teacher). Of course I don't know what the area round your school is like - we have a terrible road right outside our school (outskirts of London) where there is no footpath and no proper crossing, it is very dodgy, and we don't really like kids tackling the route alone until they are about 9. Having said that, it depends on the child - we have some 11 year olds with no common sense whatsoever and some 7 year olds who are far more sensible! I think your letter makes some good points but maybe is a little bit rambling - could you tighten it up a bit to make your points more concise? I certainly agree with you that the last thing the school should be doing is encouraging MORE cars! We have loads of parents dropping off kids in 4x4s who live less than 10 mins walk from school. The other issue at the moment is that on the other approach to our school there is a zebra crossing and we used to have a lollipop man there. He retired two years ago and we've been unable to recruit a replacement. Last week a mum who'd just dropped off her kids at school got knocked down by a car on that crossing. Thankfully she only has minor injuries. It's not just the kids who have to take care! :-)
    Kate (Fat Eric's mum)

  • At Thursday, October 05, 2006 7:03:00 am, Blogger Emily said…

    Lollipop person campaign AND the letter together. You are campaigning for kids having healthy exercise walking to school and being safe crossing the road. I think that is a basic right for kids really. The council should give a response.

  • At Monday, October 09, 2006 2:39:00 pm, Anonymous Linda said…

    I'm a big fan of walking buses - is there any chance of one of those? Also as I work in that area, I'm also a big fan of going to the press. I helped organise demos at our school over nursery provsion and was pigeonholed as a 'troublemaker' by other mums but really couldn't give a whatsit, I want my daughters to see that some people can and will stand up for what they believe in. Good luck to you. On a personal note I really should walk to school more often, I am massively overweight.

  • At Sunday, October 15, 2006 9:14:00 pm, Anonymous Ned said…

    Re CRB checks for Taxi Drivers;

    Certainly my authority does require CRB checks for Taxi Drivers (I'm a councillor) and I think that is normal and probably the legislation.
    You might want to speak to your local council - both as taxi licensing authority and education authority.


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