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Child Collection

Policy for Collecting Children from School at the End of the Day And Safeguarding Pupils Walking To and From School Alone

Updated on: Thu Oct 22, 2020

There are no laws around age or distance of walking to school. A family’s guide to the law states:

“There is no law prohibiting children from being out on their own at any age. It is a matter of judgement for parents to decide when children can play out on their own, walk to the shops or school.”

Parents are legally obliged to ensure their children get to school and attend regularly, but this in itself does not disallow independent travel. However, as a school, we are responsible for the welfare of our pupils and therefore have to consider what we believe is good practice in ensuring the safety of our pupils. We also have an obligation to alert relevant authorities, should we believe a child’s welfare is at risk.

In setting our protocol for collecting children we have taken advice from the DfE that states:

  • It is for each school to decide, and enforce its own pupil collection policy and request that parent/carers formalise collection arrangements in writing.
  • The school is not responsible for a child’s safety on his or her way home.

NSPCC that states:

Children under eight can’t judge the speed and distance of moving vehicles. They still need help when crossing roads.

All Pupils

Permission and arrangements for children leaving the school at the end of the day will be confirmed in writing by the parent/carer.

All Primary children must be collected from After School Clubs by an adult.

No adult other than those named will be allowed to leave the school with a child. In the event that someone else should arrive without prior knowledge, the school will telephone the parent/carer immediately and await their advice.

If a child is to be collected before the end of the school day, the school is to be notified on the same morning. On arrival to school to collect the child the parent/carer will report to the School Office. The child will then be brought, by staff, to the reception to be taken home by the parent/carer.

If the person who normally picks a child up is not doing so then a note should be sent to school to inform us who is to pick up that day.

Should arrangements change during the day the school should be contacted by telephone.

If the parent/carer or alternative nominated adult is going to be late to collect their child, they should let the school know as soon as possible. We will keep children in school until their arrival.

Pupils in Foundation Stage or KS1 (Years 1 & 2)

All children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 should be dropped off and picked up from the school site by a known adult.

Pupils in KS2 (Years 3, 4, 5 & 6)

We expect all children in KS2 to be brought to and collected from school by an adult.

Walking Home Alone

We advise parents to think about whether your child is ready to walk to and from school and assess any risks associated with the route and your child’s confidence.

Work with your children to build up their independence while walking to school through route finding, road safety skills and general awareness.

There are lots of ways you can prepare your child to make an independent journey.

Children who are driven to school do not have the opportunity to develop road awareness and are therefore more vulnerable when they start to walk to school independently. Walking to school is a great opportunity to learn road safety skills.

The best way to do this is to walk with your children from a young age, teaching them about crossing the road, learning how to navigate and a host of other skills. This helps them gain the experience and self-assurance to deal with traffic and way finding on their own, in preparation for walking with friends or alone when they are older.

Teach your child

Pay attention to traffic at all times when crossing the street; never become distracted. Always cross at the intersection where there are traffic lights; do not cross in the middle of the road. Alternatively, cross in a place where you can see clearly in all directions. Avoid parked cars or bends in the road. Look both ways before crossing; listen for traffic coming and cross while keeping an eye on traffic.

Look out for cyclists. Remember that drivers may not see a child, even if the child can see the driver. Remember that it is hard to judge the speed of a car so be cautious. Never, ever, follow someone who is either a stranger or someone they know but is not a designated "safe" adult. (A safe adult is someone who has been previously agreed upon by you and your child to be safe, such as a grandparent or trusted neighbour.) If that person tries to convince the child to go with him or tries to physically get close, then scream, "Help! This is not my dad!" or "Help! This is not my mum!" and run away. If they grab them, tell your child to kick, punch, and hit as hard as they can.

When deciding whether your child is ready for this responsibility you might want to consider the following:

  • Do you trust them to walk straight home?
  • Do you trust them to behave sensibly when with a friend?
  • Are they road safety aware?
  • Would they know what to do if a stranger approaches them?
  • Would they have the confidence to refuse to do what a stranger asked?
  • Would they know the best action to take if a stranger tried to make them do something
  • they didn’t want to do (scream, shout, kick or fight)?
  • Would they know what to do if they needed help?
  • Would they know who best to approach to get help?
  • If you are not confident about how your child would react then you should seriously consider whether you should allow them to walk on their own.

Your child will also be responsible for their behaviour whilst on the school premises either before or after school. Should their behaviour not be acceptable you will be asked to accompany or collect them until they have proved they can be trusted again.

The following procedures will be followed for any child who is not picked up

  • The child will remain with the class teacher for up to 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes the child should be taken to the School Reception. The administrative team in the School Office will contact the parents by telephone. If other contacts are given on the child’s confidential sheet, they will be contacted. If no contact can be made with the emergency contact or parents the school will continue to try and make contact for a reasonable amount of time until 5.00pm. If we have not been able to make contact then Social Services may be contacted for advice.

School staff (which should include at least one Senior Member of Staff) will remain at school until Social Services make their decision as to whether it is a case of abandonment.

The school will ensure that these protocols have been followed by staff and a note of all calls will be completed. If a child is frequently not collected on time, then parents will be called in for a meeting with the Principal before deciding if the Educational Welfare Officer/Services will be contacted.


If the person picking up a child is, in the judgement of staff, impaired (under the influence of drugs or alcohol) and unable to adequately care for the child, the staff will not release the child to that person. The child will be taken to the School Office and the Principal or a Senior Member of Staff will offer to call a relative or friend to pick up the person and child. If no contact can be made then Social Services may be contacted for advice.


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