I think it's really important that children should be allowed the responsibility of walking home from school once they get into Y6 - providing, of course, that it's a safe and appropriate journey to make on foot.
It's excellent preparation for senior school but, more importantly, it gives them the confidence to deal with any problems that may arise when you're not at the end of the phone or waiting at home.
This was one of several things I implemented for each of mine, between the ages of 10-11, as I wanted to give my kids opportunities to feel that they were 'in charge' and that they had some choice and control. Mine started, little by little, to walk the mile into our small town, meet friends for the cinema alone, go out on their bikes to the woods, walk the dog, go into swimming lessons/football/judo by themselves and return home by an agreed time - this is what helps them grown into young people who know their own minds, get involved, have a voice and, in turn, I hope will make positive choices when challenged or unsure of behaviour around them or of decisions being made by others.
It was also fairly easy for us as most of our/their friends were giving similar amounts of freedom - and we were pretty confident about their safety because of the area we live in so I appreciate this may not be so easy for everyone - what impact does it have on your child though if you feel that you can't 'let them go'?