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Less freedom for children in England – compared to Germany


New research from the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) shows that children in Germany have much more freedom than those in England.

The Children’s Independent Mobility in England and Germany, 1971-2010 research conducted over 40 years shows that ‘In 1971, 86 per cent of the parents of primary school children surveyed said that their children were allowed to travel home from school alone. By 1990, this had dropped markedly to 35 per cent, and there was a further drop to 25 per cent being allowed to do so in 2010’.

Although there was a reduction in Germany between 1990 and 2010, 51 per cent more children walked from school alone in 2010 compared to England.

The report also stresses the importance of ‘children’s independent mobility’ for wellbeing and developmental benefits.

In his latest blog posting Tim Gill responds to the research:

‘The study itself has only limited insights to offer about why English children’s independent mobility has fallen so much over the last forty years, and so much more than in Germany. [Media responses] take the easy option by pointing the finger of blame at English parents, with their use of the phrase “cotton wool kids”. My own view is that it is differences in car culture, not parenting culture, that are key …’

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