According to research by car insurer Sheila’s Wheels, the average school run takes parents in the South-East 63 minutes every day – more than anywhere else in the UK. Of parents polled, the average school run in the South-East will take up eight days, seven hours and 30 minutes of their lives over the course of each school year.
One fifth of British parents drive their children to school every day, with the journey taking those in the South-East an average of 63 minutes to complete despite the average UK family living just 1.6 miles[ii] from their local school. When asked if they’d allow their children to walk to school or take public transport instead, more than half of the relevant respondents admitted that they wouldn’t.
The team at www.sheilaswheels.com undertook the study as part of ongoing research into how much time Brits spend in their cars. 2,197 UK drivers, all of whom had at least one child aged between four & 11 years old were quizzed about their car journeys; with a particular focus on the school run.
All respondents were asked ‘How often do you drive your child/children to school?’ to which the most common responses were every day (21%), between 2-4 days a week (17%), never (16%) and once a week’ (13%). The remaining 33% stated either ‘fortnightly’, monthly or rarely.
All respondents were then asked to state how long the school run took them each day. Once all of the responses were collated, the results showed that the average school run takes parents in the South-East 63 minutes from beginning to end. With the average child attending school 190 days per year[iii], a parent from the South-East who takes their child to and from school every day will spend more than 199 hours – which equates to eight days, seven hours and 30 minutes – per year on the school run.
Respondents were also asked if they allow their children to walk to school by themselves, or take public transport by themselves, to which more than half of respondents, 52%, admitted that they wouldn’t. The reasons given were; it would be a waste of money (46%), I wouldn’t trust my child to get to school on time (45%), I wouldn’t feel comfortable (23%), I enjoy the school run too much (8%).
Elspeth Hackett, spokesperson for Sheila’s Wheels, commented: “The school run is part of everyday life for millions of parents across the UK and it takes place during the time the roads are often clogged up as shown in the length of time it takes for what is usually a pretty short journey. The morning school run coincides with many people’s commute to work meaning it’s the busiest time on the roads and consequently many accidents happen, so it’s important to stay fully focused on your driving.”
[i] According to ONS there are 8 million families in the UK with dependent children living with them. 38% of parents said they take their child to school every day or 2 – 4 days a week. 38% of 8 million = 3.04 million
[ii] National Travel Survey 2014
[iii] Research according to the House of Commons Library, The School Day and Year (ENGLAND) – number 07148
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