Translation:I had never arrived late to school before.
Clunky, but OK. Imo, this is better :-
- I had never before arrived late to school.
Not really. "Escuela" is one of those "location nouns" that need the definite article when going to them.
Others include: carcel, prision, cama, hospital, casa,
clase, iglesia, colegio, universidad, trabajo.
Also, cena, comida, and meal names need the "definite article, even though they aren't locations.
"To" sounds wrong; I wrote "at" (which was accepted) and "for" also sounds good. I would say "arrived late for an event" (which might be school) and "arrived late at a venue (which might also be school)...can't think what "arrived late to" would be good for.... of course one "goes to school".
I think is is more that one 'arrives AT school' and one 'comes TO school' and 'late' is an adverb describing ones coming/arriving. 'Arrives TO' is not English in my experience. One can also 'Arrive late 'FOR (the purpose of attending) school' which is why I think 'for' feels comfortable here) and (not relevant to this sentence ) one can 'BE late for school'.
It depends on the context. Here supposedly it's in a context where then later (but still in the past) something else happened (that's usually the reason to use past perfect). The whole exercise is about this tense, so it makes sense to use the same tense in the English translation.
This sentence sounds a bit strange in english, but with some context I can see how it could work as a sentence. For instance in a book you might read something like, "I was honors student, an over achiever to some, but sometimes you can't play by the rules. I had never arrived late to school before. There was just no going back now. I was in too deep."
Well, the program is free and usually enjoyable and I'm learning all the time. But maybe if the endorsed translation gets above some threshold of thumbs down, DL would do some fiddling with the software and allow 'before' in the sentence above to follow 'never', which sounds better to me than being placed at the end of the sentence.
Duolingo accepts "I had never been late to school before," which is what I believe should be the preferred answer.
"To be late" is the most natural English phrase, and "llegar tarde appears to be the most natural Spanish phrase. (They don't ever say "estar tarde").
"I had never arrived late at school before" should be accepted. It is common English usage to use either to or at in a sentence like this one, although in my experience of scholastic tardiness, at is by far the more common of the two. Harumph.
Reported July 26, 2018 (for whatever it's worth on a 4-year-old sentence that's been complained about repeatedly).