To be so upset with the school? Leaving dd age 4 alone and scared

(253 Posts)
D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 16:44:05

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Judyandherdreamofhorses Thu 03-Oct-13 16:46:00

My four year old would hate that too. But I wouldn't be leaving her at art club until she was ready for such eventualities.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 16:49:36

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 16:51:17

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Dawndonnaagain Thu 03-Oct-13 16:52:00

Poor wee thing. You need to be having a serious word with the school.
Judy that was a bit unfair. hmm

willyoulistentome Thu 03-Oct-13 16:53:54

That's definitely not good. I would be fuming. It's fine to book a 4yo into an after school club. This eventuality should NOT have happened. Why did they not call you?

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 16:54:00

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hettienne Thu 03-Oct-13 16:54:42

They should have called you - don't they have a policy for uncollected children? I'd be concerned and ask to see their policies/discuss procedure with the head.

PlatinumStart Thu 03-Oct-13 16:55:31

I would be furious. Regardless of after school club you don't leave a four year old confused and alone. Had she not had club and you'd simply forgotten to pick her you would be right to expect a far more rife toys approach to her well being

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 16:55:37

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PlatinumStart Thu 03-Oct-13 16:56:27

Er "rife toys" should be robust

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 16:56:33

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AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 16:57:57

Even when it is your cock up, that is appalling. You don't just leave a four year old for an hour. Our school have a specific policy and would work through the emergency numbers - they ask for at least three if possible and will happily accept four (so we have mine and DH's mobiles, the house and my mum)

christinarossetti Thu 03-Oct-13 16:57:58

She wasn't being punished but when no-one was there to pick her up and she wasn't in an after school club they should have called you.

They didn't know that you would get there at 4 - how long were they going to,leave it to contact you?

WahIzzit Thu 03-Oct-13 16:57:59

Poor thing. I would be pretty angry that they did not try hard enough to get in touch with you.

I remember in Primary school being dropped off home twice by my teacher - a 30 minute walk. Cant remember why, something to do with it being half day and we had no phone at the time. The fact that you live across road and they didn't bother is pretty unfair for your poor DD.

Firstly they should have phoned all your dd contacts and secondly she shouldn't be placed in an area where she could just leave unoticed.

I once done the same, we are human it happens but my daughter's school phoned me to collect her. Not only that but the exit from the office is electronically locked too.

WahIzzit Thu 03-Oct-13 17:00:48

My nephew at that age was in tears because my dsis was late by about 15 minutes, and he was the last child. He reminded her for ages about it as it really upset him. I wonder what your dd must have been thinking sad

moldingsunbeams Thu 03-Oct-13 17:02:10

This would not happen at our school, four year olds are not allowed to leave classroom without an adult and if afterschool club they are not allowed through corridor door unless a parent there.

In our school you would have been rung up after 15 minutes and child would have been kept in classroom with teacher until you arrived.

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 17:02:43

That is not acceptable in any way.

If no one was waiting with her/in line of sight, how on earth were they to know she had been collected at all, rather than just wandered off?

Definitely ask to see copies of their policies on late collection/club cancellation - I would put money on them not saying it is ok to leave 4 year olds alone - and then ask why they didn't follow their own procedures.

Smartiepants79 Thu 03-Oct-13 17:09:21

I do understand why you are upset. Yes your child is quite little to be left sitting alone and maybe they could have tried harder to find you. BUT it's a lot to ask someone to give up half and hour of their working time to watch a child. Are you sure she was alone the whole time? Was the secretary popping in and out?
Did they try to phone you at home at all? I am evey suprised they made no effort to contact you. Maybe make sure they have your numbers correct. I work in a small village school with lots of children who live close to school but I wouldn't consider leaving the premises ( and the child) to go and check and see if the parent was in. Personally I would have kept her in the classroom with me until someone turned up but perhaps the staff were all in a meeting.
Where was your son?
4 is quite little to be doing after school activities. We don't allow reception children to stay until they have done at least one term with us.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:09:22

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Jenny70 Thu 03-Oct-13 17:10:56

Poor safeguarding procedure... my dd would bottle it up until I got there, then lose it. Did they try to call anyone else?

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:11:18

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:11:39

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:11:56

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:12:11

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BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 17:13:43

So what do you expect them to have done? I'm sure someone was aware that she had no club and had not been collected, and that they knew where she was. She was safe, it's not like they put her at risk.

Who exactly do you think should have been sat with her? Support staff probably go home at three, and the teachers have work to do, meetings going on, or clubs to run.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Thu 03-Oct-13 17:15:35

It's not 'poor safeguarding' practice! She was safe, just not being entertained.

I'm very surprised the school didn't call you. Even if it was a mistake on their part (miscommunication with each person assuming someone else would contact you) it is worth talking ot the head to see if they need to amend their policy for children who are not collected on time.

Don't go in fuming though, but more with an attitude of wanting to help them prevent this sort of thing happening again and a child possibly leaving the school without an adult. She shouldn't have been left alone! That is terrible.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:16:29

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:17:45

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Vivacia Thu 03-Oct-13 17:18:58

I think that the school were in the wrong and need to improve their procedures. I think you need to leave it a while before letting your child stay for after school clubs, until she can manage mishaps like this.

sydlexic Thu 03-Oct-13 17:19:51

This happened to my DS when he was 5 and a class was cancelled he was very distressed. I never trusted them again. I would always go and meet him and see that he went to the club. That wouldn't be too inconvenient for you if you are only over the road.

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 17:21:42

She was fine until she saw you. She was there for 25 minutes. They knew you'd be there at 4pm. They tried to contact you.

She was upset that you forgot her not at sitting on a bench.

SaucyJack Thu 03-Oct-13 17:24:48

It's not acceptable. You could've been dead in a ditch and not coming to pick her up at all for all they knew.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 17:24:50

But it's your mistake that caused her to be left alone, you can't blame the school.

You don't know that no one saw her for 25 minutes, there may have been someone checking sticking a head round to see her every five minutes.

Automatic doors in a school doesn't seem very safe, but they must have procedures. If the teacher was having a meeting with another parent or a professional, she simply could not have supervised your child directly.

Four is very young, that's why it's better for new reception children not to do these clubs. I wish my school would stop allowing reception children to join the clubs that cater for the whole of the rest of the school. They quite often don't want to go, or can't get themselves changed alone for the sports ones. It seems pointless. They have done enough in the day, they don't need to do clubs as well.

Floggingmolly Thu 03-Oct-13 17:27:44

They weren't aware you thought she was at Art club, were they? As far as they knew, you were just late and could have walked through the door at any minute.
Maybe they have a standard time they allow before contacting latecomers in case you're in the car or something?

PractialJoke Thu 03-Oct-13 17:27:49

I am almost certain they will have explained to her mummy will be here soon to collect db.

She wasn't upset because she was confused or frightened but because you were late, which was unfortunate but not the end of the world.

How do you know she'd been alone for full 25 mins.?For the first 15 after school there will likely have been loads of people coming and going

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 17:28:06

No four year old should be left in an unsecured area without supervision. It is one thing not being entertained, but she wasn't safe. She could have wandered off. Our god forbid someone else could have wandered in and told her mummy had sent them.

It would be slightly different if she was behind the security area sitting waiting. They still should have rung you, but it wouldn't be a safe-guarding issue in quite the same way.

In our school no child would be left alone in that way. Numbers are tried. If no answer they wait with a teacher or someone (maybe not their own teacher) and, as a last resort, there would be a call to social services.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:28:06

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MrsDeVere Thu 03-Oct-13 17:28:27

She is only four poor thing.

I cannot understand why the didn't phone you.

If a child is not picked up protocol is to phone SS if parents are not contactable.

I think they managed it very poorly.

pixiepotter Thu 03-Oct-13 17:29:28

YABU and precious.You expect there to be a member of staff with nothing better to do than entertain your DD for 25 minutes.They have work to gt on with!!presumably the door has a security lockon it, presumably the secretary was in and out of the office. Presumably your DD told them you thought it was art club and therefore would be along in 20 minutes.
Your dd was not crying until you came along a nd the senco must have been in earshot to come out when she did.You screwed up,and are just looking for someone else to blame.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:29:46

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:30:22

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HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 17:30:47

They did phone the OP and couldn't get through. The OP's DS finished at 4pm, so they were probably waiting until then.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:31:25

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:32:12

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ZiaMaria Thu 03-Oct-13 17:32:31

She should not have been left alone in a corridor from which she could easily walk out of the school and disappear. OP made an error, yes - it happens - but the school should have had her sitting in a classroom with a teacher, or in the head's office, or with the secretaries so that a responsible adult actually knew where she was at all times.

ZiaMaria Thu 03-Oct-13 17:34:26

It has come to my attention (from reading mumsnet) that schools and nurseries hardly ever call dads. My DD's nursery will ring my mobile five times to try and tell me DD had bumped her head (it was off - I was in a client meeting) but won't even try DH.

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 17:35:14

When she has a sibling due to be picked up 25 minutes later and couldn't get through to the parent that does pick ups, I don't think it's unreasonable to wait until the second child finishes. I think a lot of your anger is misdirected. You fucked up. She got hysterical. That's down to you not them.

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 17:37:17

Not unreasonable to wait necessarily. Totally unreasonable not to at least try the second contact number and then keep the child within the security area.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 17:38:47

Who told you she was all alone for 20 minutes? She might have been sat there for 5 minutes whilst the secretary was making an urgent, confidential phone call or having a wee.

When I worked in a playgroup if a parent was that late, regardless of the fact the child had been entertained, they still burst into tears because they think mummy or daddy has forgotten them.

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 17:40:01

Regardless of whether it is 2 minutes, you don't leave a child unsupervised somewhere unsecured where they could wander off or be snatched. At our school , there would be a big difference between sitting at the office (anyone can walk into the foyer) or sitting in the hall (boring, but safe).

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:40:06

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PractialJoke Thu 03-Oct-13 17:40:48

So they ttied you and couldnt get through, they knew you would be a t school in 20 min to collect ds and decided to get on with some work or (heaven forbid) go home at the end if their shif t rather than keep making calls to people who would (usually) tell them they'll take more than 20 min to get there and yourenot being precious?

If you really think "him hard can it be" volunteer to cover the office and phones between 2:45 & 3:00

PractialJoke Thu 03-Oct-13 17:41:16


LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 17:41:18

The teacher actually said she was sat outside the office for 20 minutes and no-one checked on her?

Feenie Thu 03-Oct-13 17:43:05

but the school should have had her sitting in a classroom with a teacher

Do you realise how many parents are late to collect their children every day? Teachers would never get any work done.

I would shut up, if I were you, OP - you messed up, and the school tried to contact you. They also knew you would be there in 25 mins anyway. How much sooner could your dh have got there, fgs?

May09Bump Thu 03-Oct-13 17:44:29

Poor little thing - hope she is ok. I'm sure you gave her loads of cuddles.
Very poor pastoral care from the school, especially at that age.

Maggietess Thu 03-Oct-13 17:45:21

Op I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. I don't understand why it wouldn't have been easiest to let her sit in the art club (even if not allowed to participate), particularly since her brother was there. Much easier environment.

Once my dm was picking up my dd (4 at the time) and she got the time wrong. Our mistake, not the school's. School were fab, rang dm, didn't get her, rang me (I was away on business) and left me a voice mail saying "hello just to let you know we have dd here, she's absolutely fine and she's helping me tidy the classroom, she's a great helper aren't you dd. Can you give me a call quick ring to let me know is all ok and when she'll be collected. Thanks"

Ok it was your screw up but she should have been able to stay with her brother and wait.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:48:15

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:49:08

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They should have called you it pretty remiss to cock up this early on on terms of you leaving her there when no club.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:51:05

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Feenie Thu 03-Oct-13 17:52:00

So now you want a daily room, fully staffed, exclusively for children of parents who cannot organise themselves properly? Right. hmm

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:52:24

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:53:39

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Feenie Thu 03-Oct-13 17:55:03

Parents have a responsibility to pick children up on time - not to demand a daily staffed room if they are not.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:56:21

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D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 17:56:39

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They cancelled a club one day and for some reason they mixed up my number with my neighbours on their contact cards and rang them instead ???!!!?? and left a message but they were at work. Thankfully someone had the common sense to pop her into the junior art club with dd1 and she had fun being mothered by junior school girls. She had clearly been upset and I was a bit annoyed as I had been at home all afternoon.

I do think that they could have found her somewhere more secure to wait, although ours do wait in a similar area. Ours can't start clubs until yr 1 though.

ZiaMaria Thu 03-Oct-13 17:59:03

The school has a responsibility to keep a child safe until they are collected. The situation was such that the child was alone and something could have happened to them. If she had wandered out of the school, maybe onto a main road, the school would have been responsible.

Shit happens sometimes. Parents forget/have car accidents/drop down dead from heart attacks. Schools need to be able to deal with it appropriately, or else they will have safeguarding questions to answer.

pixiepotter Thu 03-Oct-13 18:01:57

I am very surprised at a primary school having no lock on the door

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 18:03:57

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WahIzzit Thu 03-Oct-13 18:05:00

I think OP is getting flamed unnecessarily. She didnt deliberately forget about her dd, she genuinely thought dd was attending the art club.
Have I missed a post by OP where it says they tried to get through to her, failing that they tried her dh, failing that the next of kin? Because thats normal procedure isnt it?

Mistakes do happen, parents can get late, or forget the pickup time, or get muddled up but the school has a duty of care to ensure the child is safe and looked after. Her dd was clearly upset.

happyyonisleepyyoni Thu 03-Oct-13 18:06:02

Can't believe all the haters on this thread. The school should not have left a distressed 4 year old alone unsupervised like this while in their care. Emergencies/mishaps do happen and they should have been making all efforts to contact the parents while keeping an eye on the child in a secure place. All schools have staff knocking around after school so it is not beyond the wit of man or woman to provide supervision to any kids not picked up on time. I'd complain to the Head, but in a nice way- I am sure you'd want to know that this had happened, child could have walked out and was distressed, staff obviously did not realise or they would have done something, etc

cansu Thu 03-Oct-13 18:06:40

Your dd was safe. She was waiting in a corridor for you. Schools are not fortresses. I think your upset is misplaced. You made a mistake your dd got upset when she saw you because you made a mistake. Stop looking for someone else to blame.

redandyellowbits Thu 03-Oct-13 18:10:22

YANBU - I would be absolutely furious in your shoes, my DD has also just started reception and I can only imagine how upset she would be if she thought that mummy had forgotten to pick her up today.

The school should have rung your DH, or at the very least the secretary should have had your DD sat in the office with her so she wasn't alone.

Very poor care from the school. I hope you are ok it must have been distressing to see her so upset.

WahIzzit Thu 03-Oct-13 18:16:03

I agree happy I think people are forgetting op's dd is in reception, so still getting used to the school. Shes still tiny.

maddening Thu 03-Oct-13 18:19:08

Def yanbu - if art club was running her they could have included her or called you and they shouldn't have left her unsupervised.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 18:19:14

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Viviennemary Thu 03-Oct-13 18:19:20

Of course you are upset your child was upset I would be too. But I just simply could not blame the school on this occasion. Your child wasn't in danger, wasn't crying when you first arrived. Who'd be a school secretary or a teacher. They are expected to be superhuman at times.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 18:20:07

Parents have a responsibility to pick children up on time - not to demand a daily staffed room if they are not.

The school has a responsibility, as they are in loco-parentis, to ensure the child is safe until they are handed back to their parents, or another responsible adult.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 03-Oct-13 18:20:25

Blimey, Feenie, rein it in a bit!! Are you a teacher perchance?

OP, YANBU, end of. You screwed up, this happens. That's not really the issue, though. Making sure your 4 yr old DD is safe is. Poor little thing.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 18:23:52

someone stole a handbag from our school in broad day light working hours. I do not think the child was safe. Ian Huntley worked in a school didn't he?

I had this too op, my parents - yes their fault didnt used to pick me up from school sometimes, I was left for what seemed like hours, probably not that long, whilst the head master watched me sat outside in the play ground alone, and WE LIVED NEXT DOOR!

Blimey, thats awful. I would be upset too, all the schools Ive worked at when this happens (and its not uncommon) the child either stays quietly in the class with the teacher or in the office. No teacher Ive ever known would leave such a young child in a corridor.

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:31:09

"The school has a responsibility, as they are in loco-parentis, to ensure the child is safe until they are handed back to their parents, or another responsible adult."

And they did this. The child was sitting, perfectly safely, IN THE SCHOOL, with adults nearby, who knew she was there. She was as safe as she had been all day.
Schools have doors, yes. Children could, technically, walk out of any of them at any point, but 99.9% would know to sit and wait, as your dd had presumably been told to do. If she's not up to doing that, then yes, I would say she's too young for after-school clubs.

Nanny0gg Thu 03-Oct-13 18:31:55

Oh come on Feenie! Stuff happens!

And in my school she would either have been in the classroom with a teacher or in Reception where there is a receptionist.

Totally unacceptable. Poor little girl!

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 18:32:56

why couldnt she have been sat in the room with the staff? why the corridor?

Nanny0gg Thu 03-Oct-13 18:33:05

And you know what? A little bit of kindness wouldn't have hurt, would it?

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:33:32

A four year old in the staff room? Er, I don't think so!

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:34:19

Massive over-reaction on this thread, I'm afraid. The child was perfectly safe.

Feenie Thu 03-Oct-13 18:38:43


LIZS Thu 03-Oct-13 18:41:24

So they knew she was there and someone checked on her. It may have seemed like a long time alone to her but perhaps wasn't ? Did you go into the office when you collected her ? How long was the club for? I would have thought they could have been more proactive and including her but not sure she was neglected.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 18:41:29

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CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 03-Oct-13 18:42:27

Wow some nasty replies!

I am guessing they just thought you were late and would be there at some point soon but they shoud have tried harder to call.

There is no way a 4 year old should be left somewhere easy for them to get out of the building. My DS just started junior school and there was a mix up as a club was cancelled and they called DH who got confused about which child he was picking up and DS ended up being left at school.

Even at 7 he was made to wait in the playground for a short time (completely secure) then when they realised no one had turned up he was taken to after school club.They then phoned DH again.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 18:42:59

And they did this. The child was sitting, perfectly safely, IN THE SCHOOL, with adults nearby, who knew she was there. She was as safe as she had been all day.

leaving a 4 yr old alone in that situation is not safe or sensible practice. If something had happened the responsibility would lie entirely with the school. She may have been safe all day in a class room with teachers present, but she wasn't left in a safe situation at the end of the day when they left her alone in a corridor next to the automatic and unlocked front doors.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 18:43:02

Really? At the end of the day in a small school? Or in the school office? For half an hour?

What would be going on in the staff room that would be un suitable for a 4 year old, that would be preferable to leaving her in the corridor?

Do enlighten me.

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:43:10

The nastiest reply on here is the one just now from the OP.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 18:43:38

A four year old in the staff room? Er, I don't think so!

hmm Why not?

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:44:31

Enlighten you? Why would I need to, when most of the posters on MN at the moment seem to know all there ever was to know about how schools are run (or rather should be)?

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 18:45:08

The nastiest reply on here is the one just now from the OP.

maybe the language was uncalled for, but I can see her point.

Topseyt Thu 03-Oct-13 18:45:09

Crikey. No need for this flaming. Mistakes happen. For the last few years I have had three children at three different schools and I have made my share. Not often, but I have. I had close calls regularly. It happens.

This is one of the reasons emergency contact numbers are required in schools.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 18:45:19

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LIZS Thu 03-Oct-13 18:46:59

but the SENCO was nearby ?

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 18:47:09

Enlighten you? Why would I need to, when most of the posters on MN at the moment seem to know all there ever was to know about how schools are run (or rather should be)?

obviously you can't, because there isn't a good answer is there hmm

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 18:47:26

I think its basic common sense not to leave such a small child in such a setting which has been described by our eyes the OP, after school alone.

If any school held its hands up and said - " We think 4 year olds are fine to be left alone in a corridor by doors - un secured" There would be public out cry, and rightly so.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 18:47:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 18:48:48

Wow some very touchy posters here, I think you have touched a nerve op. I really pray some are not teachers and think this is OK practise!

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:48:50

I can think of many good reasons, but do not have to justify them to you. Nor can I be arsed.

And the "flaming" on here seems to be aimed at the school, who minded the OP's child for half an hour, not at the OP.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 03-Oct-13 18:49:14

I think maybe the OP is fed up of the nasty responses. Seemed a genuine question to ask really.

4 yos are erratic at times and should be somewhere safe where they are not able to leave by themselves. The OP could have taken her and no one would have realised if her DD hadn't cried.

I am not particularly precious re my DCs but in YR I would maybe expect a bit more from the school.

I worked in Early Years for a long time and parents were always late, the staff were only employed until half hour after finishing time which including clearing up but they would still ensure a child was safe and secure even if they were livid with the parents, especially as a few did it every day without apology.

blueballoon79 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:49:18

They should have kept trying to contact you our your DH and she shouldn't have been left alone.

She's 4. Far too young to be left alone.

I'd contact the school and ask them what procedures would be put in place should something like this happen again.

One time when I was late for school pick up, a TA waited with my TEN year old son until I managed to get to the school.

Four is far too little to be left alone and shame on all of you other posters who are being so OTT in your flaming of the op.

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 18:50:28

Unbelievable attitude from the teachers.

The child is 4. She has just started school. She should not have been left, out of sight, in an open area where she could have easily wandered off.

The school are wrong to do this. D0G has admitted she made a mistake too, but that does not absolve the school of any responsibility to a child who is already in their care.

I would not be happy if this happened to my children. After-school care has been changed recently at my school, probably as a result of a (very nice and polite) complaint I made - they 'lost' my dd twice in 6 weeks. dd was safe (she is too sensible to be anything other than safe, tbh) but that was not the point. she ended up in the wrong place, despite so-called 'signed and counted' handovers. and her absence from the right place was not noticed until I came ot collect her (this was the bit which concerned me - no one even knew she was missing). She is 5. It is unacceptable for a school to be remiss in looking after any children left in their care, and leaving a young child out of sight of an adult in an open area could not be called 'looking after her' in any way.

Department Thu 03-Oct-13 18:51:15

There are several issues here that have become rolled into one.

1) DD was upset. This is far more likely to be because her mother was late to collect her than because she was left alone. I am almost sure that she was fine until her mother appeared and it was relief that she had not been completely forgotten that caused the tears. An over-reaction (of course mum was going to come) but she's 4. This is bourn out by he behaviour since she has arrived home.

2) She was left unsupervised. Not necessarily an issue in itself if she was in a safe place with adults passing by on a regular basis.

3) She was left unattended where she was not safe. If you feel there was a real chance that she was so poorly supervised she could have come to actual harm (rather than upset, which was most likely the result of being "forgotten" by mum) then you must complain in the strongest terms. As others have pointed out, it is not an unusual occurrence for parents to be late and the school must ensure they are safe until they are collected. Entertained would be too much to expect but contained somewhere safe should be normal policy. If it is not the school needs a new procedure.

OP, you have had a hard time on this thread because you seem most outraged about your daughter's upset, which was essentially your fault. If you believe she was not safe, you must get that dealt with for the sake of others.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 18:51:17

I can think of many good reasons, but do not have to justify them to you. Nor can I be arsed.

no you can't think of any good reasons. Because there isn't any. I'm sure you could think of some stupid reasons though.

clam Thu 03-Oct-13 18:53:13



Hulababy Thu 03-Oct-13 18:53:58


There should be systems in place i the school to ensure this does not occur and a child is not left alone, and that a parent is called.

I work in an infant school and our system is:

* school ends at 3:20pm
* if child not collected by about 3:25pm, they're taken to office and signed in Late Collection book
* there is a named teacher on duty each evening who supervises children and monitors late book
* children sit on chairs outside office; teacher on duty stands nearby in front of the main entrance (inside building still) with LC book
* when parent arrives they are signed out by named teacher on duty
* if no parent by 3:30pm, office staff or another member of staff call parents using their contacts info on the child's file - normally 2-3 numbers for each
* if no answer, they keep trying
* after a set time the duty teacher will be released to leave, but then the HT or DT take over, or a member of SMT if they're not in
* no child is ever left alone - though they might not have someone sat right next to them - they will be in eye sight though

JohnnyUtah Thu 03-Oct-13 18:54:10

She wasn't left alone, she was told to sit and wait by reception. People are overreacting here. This is the sort of thing schoolchildren are expected to be able to do.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 03-Oct-13 18:55:10

I'd have been furious but it would never happen at our school as any child not signed for (and this goes up to year 6) is automatically taken to late care.

I think its poor procedure and you should raise it with the teacher to prevent it happening again to any other children.

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 18:55:48

it is not the sort of thing a 4 year old is expected to do. At all. What a ridiculous statement.

Hulababy Thu 03-Oct-13 18:56:20

Forgot to add - if parents not arrived by 4pm - child goes to ASC and parent is charge full amount for the session (£10 iirr)

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 18:56:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 18:57:03

A school child of 4 who has just started school be able to do?

noblegiraffe Thu 03-Oct-13 18:58:35

Remember that school that was in the news because one of the four year olds in their care was found half a mile away from the school and no one had noticed?

That could have happened here. It didn't, which is good, but it apparently easily could have which means procedures need to be rewritten.

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 18:59:07

yes, our school has a signing out procedure too. class teacher will hand over to known adult at end of school, or sign over to a club. child either collected from club (and signed out) by known adult, or signed into late room.

there should never be a moment when a reception child is 'unaccounted' for - and from the OP's account, her dd was unaccounted for for enough time for her to have gone missing (which thankfully she didn't. however school should in no way be relying on an upset 4 year old to be 'sensible')

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-13 18:59:43

Agree with Department . Once you upset has subsided, ask about the procedures for late pick up and safeguarding . I'm not certain whether your dd really was at risk or left unsupervised , although it may have felt so at the time - she may have only been sat there a few minutes in anticipation that you would be coming along then. I do think you have reason to question it but need to be less emotional when you do so.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 19:00:18

Also time is a different concept for small children, minuets seem like long long hours....

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 03-Oct-13 19:01:58

It isn't acceptable. Very poor procedure

From my experience schools have to have a late collection policy, so if not collected by a certain time, try all contact numbers. Ultimately if a child isn't collected and no contact can be made ( and the emergency numbers have been exhausted) social services will come and collect

Hulababy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:02:07

I am surprised that some teachers are saying that this is okay, and for the child not to be supervised - by at least being in direct eye contact.

This would be a safeguarding issue if OFSTED were visiting that day.

A young child, in school's care, not supervised (ie someone could see her), an open and/or unlocked door nearby...

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 19:02:17

5 minutes is not an acceptable time to leave a 4 year old alone in an open area, though, it takes far less time than that for a small child to get up, walk out and seemingly vanish. and the child was already upset (by missing art club, by mum not being there)

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 03-Oct-13 19:02:47

She's a good girl for sitting tight, bless her.

wine for you

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 03-Oct-13 19:03:37

Tbf, I'd have kept her with me, pottering about, helping to tidy, whilst contact numbers were being worked through.

greenfolder Thu 03-Oct-13 19:04:46

Op- I am with you! My dd goes to afterschool club everyday. A few weeks in her name wasn't on the list. Her teacher took her along to the office to check what had happened and gave her lots of grown up tasks to do (sorting out pencils). She was nothing but reassuring. If you can't make a 4 year reassured and in your sight something is wrong.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 03-Oct-13 19:07:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 19:07:42

Did the teacher say "D0G she was sent to the office at 3:35. She has been sat on that bench since then, no-one has checked her and the door has been wedged open the whole time".

Or did the teacher say"D0G she was sent to the office at 3:35" and because you saw her alone, on the bench with the door wedged open, you have decided that is what had been happening for the past 20 minutes?

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:11:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

missinglalaland Thu 03-Oct-13 19:11:34

When she thought she was in art club, the adults should have instantly surmised that no one would be picking her up till 4pm, and tried to contact the emergency numbers.

In my eyes they fell short twice. First for not calling you, second for not watching her.

It might not be the school secretary's job to watch her, but surely it was her job to attempt contacting you.

Also, couldn't she have been rolled into art club for just one day?

Hulababy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:11:36

LittleMissWise - safeguarding wise it would make very little difference if 5 minutes or 25 minutes. The school didn't do their job properly and would fail on safeguarding grounds for such a situation. Have been through OFSTED only in February and it was their main concern, far more so than anything else, especially in infants.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 03-Oct-13 19:11:53

It is absolutely utterly standard four year old behaviour to go quiet and say nothing if they are upset/worried/scared but no adults they trust are around. Poor thing sad

She should have been left with someone, absolutely. Anybody! I know they're not babysitters, but it's a primary school FGS - safeguarding anyone?? What if there had been a fire or something?!

I've been getting the "delayed upset" with DS as he has been at a German kindergarten for 3 weeks and it's absolutely heartbreaking. Seem to be getting somewhere with him asking a trusted teacher for help now though (fingers crossed)

Growlithe Thu 03-Oct-13 19:13:39

I personally think after school clubs should not be made available to reception children until at least after Christmas. They are only just getting used to the school and school life and they are tired after full school days. They may want to go but it is just too much for them, especially the younger ones. But that is my personal opinion and is by the by.

My main problem here would be the door being open for people to freely walk in, and for children to walk out. If you were going to complain about anything, that should be it.

I don't think it is unreasonable to leave a school aged child sitting in a corridor (if the door was secure). They should be able at that age to sit and stay where they are told to.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 19:19:41

Hula I was asking because I was interested to know how much the teacher had said! how much the OP's DD had said and how much the OP had decided for herself. 2 minutes to a four yo is a lifetime so the OP's DD could have said she was sat there hours when she wasn't IYSWIM.

Having been in a childcare setting, one more than one occasion, during an OFSTED inspection I do know how hot they are on safeguarding.

Now, I know all the facts I think the OP should put this in writing, actually. This school need a formal record that it has happened and it needs raising and addressing to ensure it doesn't happen again. Next time they might not be so lucky, especially if another DC can see their home from the school.

Turniptwirl Thu 03-Oct-13 19:24:03

I help at brownies (so older than your dd) and at least two leaders stay until the last child has gone. Yes, we Finnish at. 7.30 but will stay and pack up anyway then if we still have the same children as always we'll go outside to wait do we can lock up but we would never leave the child alone at 7, never mind. 4!

Hulababy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:25:06

LittleMissWise - no problem smile Just seen OP had been getting a fair bit of flack, was just commenting on key issue tht's all - not everyone sees it as a big issue, not even some with afeguarding knowledge, on the thread.

judgejudithjudy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:26:36

yabu & i dont for one second believe that the school has automatic doors with no security - what school is this?!you messed up not the school so if i was you - take a long hard look in the mirror!

happyyonisleepyyoni Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:13

I'm relieved to see that some teachers have now appeared on this thread to confirm this would not be acceptable in their school or to Ofsted.

I am still amazed by the people who think this is ok for a 4 year old. Talk about low

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:30:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Floggingmolly Thu 03-Oct-13 19:32:09

The school hadn't packed up and put her out on the doorstep, turnip!
Slightly different scenario there.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:32:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 19:33:40

It's OK Hula. I wanted to know the facts first!

D0G put in writing to the head what has happened. They need to look at their policies for children who are picked up late.

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 19:34:32

It is possible to walk straight in (or out!) of my school too. Gate to playground has a simple latch, late room door always propped open. Also possible to walk straight in /out of the main door by the office.

"cold hearted twat"
op you really aren't coming across well on here.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 19:35:42

Yabu & i dont for one second believe that the school has automatic doors with no security - what school is this

why would you even ask what school it was, on a public forum, knowing there are possible issues with security? What exactly would you need that information for?

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:36:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

oh well that makes it all ok then....

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:39:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

like I said...

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 19:41:49

Don't rise to it op. Its a waste of good energy.

Actually I agree that there are issues with supervision and a door wedged open is a concern but I am also allowed to find the op rude.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:44:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 19:46:03

Do you know what? I don't think there are many parents who, faced with the situation D0G was faced with today, wouldn't have been upset, or angry TBH.

Thinking back to when my kids were four, I would have been raging and I probably would have lost my temper. But when my 2 were in reception they had the most kind, lovely, patient teacher I have ever, ever met. She wouldn't have let it happen.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 03-Oct-13 19:46:53

Come on, enough! The OP is fraught, and this doesn't help.

The school is in the wrong, and it was brought about by a mistake on the OPs part. One of those things, no more, no less.

They should have used the emergency numbers.
They should have made sure the child was aafe and felt safe.

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 03-Oct-13 19:47:02

Blimey, how many after school clubs is she going to? And she has just started Reception?! Surely there is enough to be getting used to in class without a plethora of after school activities for her to be thinking about as well?

Anyhoo, in the circumstances the school were unreasonable. They should have rung you when they realised the club wasn't on and someone should have supervised her until you came to collect her. A 4 year old should not be unsupervised.

fuckwittery Thu 03-Oct-13 19:50:03

Definitely not unreasonable! 4 year olds should not be left to sit where they could walk out of school for 5 minutes. Layout sounds similar to our school, in school time there are buzzer gates to get onto site, and closed door to office area. Classroom doors are locked after drop off. However at pick up school gates are opened and door to office waiting area opened. Once playground etc is clear, gate and doors are not locked as I've been able to walk in after hours. If my 4 year child had been left outside our school office with no one in office even for a few minutes they could have walked out and it would only take 30 seconds for a scared reception child to decide they'd walk out. In fact the school should think themselves damned lucky that your child didn't decide that given that you live over the road. Popping head round every 5 minutes is no use when the child is sat next to open doors!

OP made a genuine mistake but anything could have happened to her, child should not have been left alone in an unsecured area.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:50:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 19:53:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JenaiMorris Thu 03-Oct-13 19:55:41

Surely in reception they're still counted out and handed over to a grown up?

Had this happened at ds's school he would have been able to walk right out. Thing is it wouldn't have happened, because the staff would have been supervising.


I've no problem with the Op's posting. She's had an upsetting and concerning experience today. Quite what excuse there is for some of the rest of you though I've no idea hmm

OP - I agree 25 minutes is a long time for a very little child to be waiting. I would have expected to be called AND the other contacts to be called if I didn't answer. I would also have expected to find the child in the corner of a classroom quietly looking at books or playing with something small that could be quickly tidied away. By the sounds of things that's what the SENCO would have expected too. I don't think the school carried out their procedures correctly and I would raise this politely and as calmly as possible (because personally my voice would start to wobble on 'and she was left alone' - I have a third dd too grin) with the relevant person. I would also go to the office tomorrow and ask to check all their contact numbers for you. Especially when you've had dc at school for a while the files can start to get a bit confused.

Department Thu 03-Oct-13 20:00:20

OP, as I said earlier, you have to decide what the actual issues are, which once are yours and which are the schools and then address them with the school.

Please don't go into school with the added anger that has been built though some of the responses you've had here.

JenaiMorris Thu 03-Oct-13 20:04:08

Me neither, northern confused

Playdoughcaterpillar Thu 03-Oct-13 20:04:17

Just wanted to back you up. I agree it's an odd parent that wouldn't be upset by their 4 year old, new to reception, being so upset in this situation. YANBU but plenty of posters are, my 4 yo DD would have been distraught and she's pretty tough. Absolutely unsafe for her to be waiting in unlocked area and very uncaring to leave her all alone. Have no idea why she couldn't have stayed with her sibling in art club, how unreasonable of them. They definitely need to review their policy. hope she's ok.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 20:08:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pozzled Thu 03-Oct-13 20:10:02

OP, I can't believe so many people think this was ok. I'm a teacher, and have often had to supervise the 'late room' as part of my role. I'll be honest, it's a pain in the arse supervising children who haven't been collected- I worked in a large school, so everyday we would have 3-4 children (minimum) sometimes half an hour or more past collection time.

However, we would never, NEVER leave a new reception starter on their own somewhere they could just walk out of the building. They'd be outside the office, people walking past all the time, I'd phone every number on their contact list and then go back and wait with them and chat to them.

In the situation you describe, if the child thought they were going to art class (and their brother was there- is that right?) then they'd almost certainly be allowed to stay for that session and just informed of the mistake for next time.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 20:12:19


In the face of some harsh and vitriolic posts against you, I think you have remained amazingly calm.

It does not really matter why the child was left there, OP could have had a car accident, been ill, had to rush to hospital, had her roof blown off in a gale, any number of things happen and in this case, OP was at fault as to why the child was left. That, however in no way shape or form, excuses an obvious lack of safe care provision, for such eventualities that will happen!

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 20:13:26

If I was working at the school I would have used my imagination and initiative and sat the child with me, made a few phone calls, left messages and given the child some paper clips to play with!

AgentZigzag Thu 03-Oct-13 20:13:56

At 4 they're just so small, they don't look big enough to be going to school (especially when they're in a uniform a couple of sizes too big).

I can't believe anyone could possibly argue that the OP's being unreasonable in expecting her very small child to be closely supervised while they're in the care of someone else.

Couldn't give a flying fuck whether it's the OP's 'fault' or not that her DD's there, does that mean it's OK to treat the DC of flakey parents (not saying you are OP) with a bit less care? Fuck off does it.

I can only think the posters arguing this are arguing it for another reason, because that can't be right.

Precious?? For wanting your DC to be looked after properly? I don't think so.

wine <hug> for you OP.

ParkerTheThief Thu 03-Oct-13 20:16:42

Perhaps the school safeguarding policy doesn't allow one adult to be alone in a room with a single child and this was why she was in the corridor.

I've just remembered I saw a Year 6 child left at school for 1/2 an hour the other week. (Parent was stuck in a meeting apparently). As far as I can remember the child sat with teachers near the door and then in the staffroom. She wasn't left alone because not being picked up IS upsetting whatever the reason and whatever your age.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 03-Oct-13 20:19:28

DOG - has she gone to bed ok now? Poor little mite sad

I can't believe the hard time you have been given by some posters on this thread. Although it's been a crap week on here for teachers, so I think they're feeling a bit bruised & battered just now and maybe a tad touchy. No excuse for anyone else though.

It is ridiculous, given all the over the top safeguarding everywhere, that a FOUR year old was left somewhere, on her own, that she could just walk out of and actually, even more so when she only lives across the road! The temptation for her to have gone home to Mummy must have been quite strong, she was really good to stay there.

Their 'uncollected children' policy needs reviewing - big time.

What would have happened if she had just walked out? Who would have noticed? How long would it have taken?

Also, those saying 'she is too young for afterschool clubs' and 'I wouldn't leave her until she could cope with this type of situation' WTAF - it is a school - it should be the safest place for afterschool activites and handing the children from their classroom teacher to their after school club is not rocket science.

They should have called all of her contact numbers or nipped across the road to see if you were home. In the meantime, they should have popped her into the Art Class with her brother so that she wasn't upset.

Someone (or rather, several someones!!) need to learn a valuable lesson from this.

I hope it doesn't upset her longterm.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 20:28:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blimey Halloween has come early on this thread! Give op a break!!!
She made a mistake, since when is anyone one hundred percent perfect.

Op asked whether the school was unreasonable, not herself.

The school was unreasonable only 3 counts

1:Leaving a 4yo alone

2: not phoning op or another person on the contact list!

3: leaving her alone in an unlocked, unmanned office!

LiegeAndLief Thu 03-Oct-13 20:40:11

Wow. I really feel for you OP, must have been pretty upsetting at the time and then you had to wade through all the crap on this thread.

I have a 7yo and a 4yo who has just started school. I have never been late to pick up either of them but I can easily imagine making a mistake (or not, maybe school cocked up the club list) and the same thing happening. I would be happy with this happening to my 7yo, but a 4yo is a very different thing. Quite aside from the safety aspect, mine would be scared and panicky and confused being left alone in a corridor and not knowing where Mummy was. And yes I would expect a teacher or staff member to have a little compassion and stay with her as reassurance because, even if the parent has left their child on purpose and gone down the pub, it's not that little 4yo's fault, is it?

SPBisResisting Thu 03-Oct-13 20:42:43

Exactly slave. A bit of common sense. Something many postes seem to lack. Would it really have killed them to sit her in art club with some colouring in? If keepjng her in eyeshot is so difficult and there's an orgy taking place in the staff room?

Nevernonever Thu 03-Oct-13 20:44:05

Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of how well she may or may not have been, (and the likelihood is that she was in sight of responsible adults for much of her wait), I agree that the school probably ought to look at their safeguarding policy here.

However, it is also worth pointing out that the child herself probably had no idea of any risk she might have been at. She's 4. If she was upset, it's highly unlikely to have been because of her fear of a "bad man" coming to whisk her away, or of her wandering off and getting lost. It's much more likely that she cried out of relief at seeing her mum after she thought that she'd been forgotten, and also out of exhaustion after a long day at school when she's only been in Reception a few weeks.

SPBisResisting Thu 03-Oct-13 20:46:20

Not all children are exhausted after a day at school. Ds used to come out as full of energy as when he went in

Nevernonever Thu 03-Oct-13 20:48:06

And not all children would have been so upset at waiting for a late pick-up. They're all different.

Although it is also possible that this little one has picked up on some of her mum's tension this evening.

SPBisResisting Thu 03-Oct-13 20:48:34

On another note im amazed at how common it seems to be for kids to be collected late. Is it the same children? What do the parents say? I assumed it might be 3 or 4 occasions per term, sounds like it's most days!

ParkerTheThief Thu 03-Oct-13 20:53:16

SPB, we were laughing after school tonight because its the first time this school year we haven't had pupils being collected late.
Only a month into term!

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 03-Oct-13 20:53:26

I'm not even that convinced it was DOG that made the mistake TBH. If I was a gambler I'd put money on it being the school... but either way, people (parents or admin) make mistakes, it's how it was handled that is the issue.

D0G - not tooo bad, you?? (Other than this!!) I hope she isn't too upset by it going forward?! They're lucky she's not a bolter & they're lucky she didn't just decide to walk home. It needs sorting... they might not be so lucky next time.

judgejudithjudy Thu 03-Oct-13 20:53:42

sorry, its rubbish re: school automatic doors - being an army wife i move around alot & school doors are LOCKED at all times & school did try to contact OP. OP sounds like she wants to blame the school for her mistake. PFB by any chance?

babybythesea Thu 03-Oct-13 20:55:14

I'm intrigued by the idea that the doors need to be locked to contain the kids.

DD's school (very small village school) doesn't have any locked doors.
The door from the classrooms (all two of them) open out on to the playground. The doors are never locked - the kids have 'free-flow' access to the deck area, with two steps down from there on to the playground. They are told that they are not supposed to go into the playground, and as far as I can tell, they don't (to judge from my dd's horror when a child did try it....) Walk across the playground and there is a gate, which opens straight on to the road. No pavement. The gate is waist high for me, the bolt is on the outside but the gate is slatted so a child could easily stand on the bottom rung or two to undo it if they wanted to.

DD is also in reception, and it also applies to nursery kids. In the morning, I take her into the classroom to hang her stuff up and then we come back out to the playground, where I leave her. In common with most of the parents, we don't wait to see them safely into the classroom, we leave them playing in the playground while others are still arriving and thus opening (and sometimes shutting!) the gate. If any of them wanted to I guess they could easily slip out. Now, it's a tiny school, tiny village, everyone mostly knows everyone else, but still, not a locked door in sight but the children do know not just to wander off.

judge Re-Read the thread, op was not contacted. Judgey you are indeed

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 20:58:22

school doors are LOCKED at all times

No they're not. Not always.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 20:59:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trapper Thu 03-Oct-13 21:00:43

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 03-Oct-13 21:01:55

Judgey if you are going to be so judgey at least RTFT. The door was not locked, DD is not the OP's PFB and they may or may not have tried to ring the OP, but they certainly didn't ring her DH. What's your problem?

Babybythesea - none of my schools were ever locked either, but most schools are these days and things have changed in most schools/places re safeguarding and along with it, expectations.

judgejudithjudy Thu 03-Oct-13 21:02:21

judgey i am because i would double check any first day club my 4 year old was going to. i know op is in the wrong - so fucked off with schools/teachers being blamed for parents fuck ups!

pozzled Thu 03-Oct-13 21:02:45

Like Chipping I'm not convinced that it was OP's mistake. Obviously a mistake was made, but why the automatic assumption that it was not the school?

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 21:03:09

Baby your very lucky, my own primary was in a small village, but there were a few serial runners! They would deliberately abscond at all funny times when they could.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 21:03:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

The school in this situation should definetly shoulder the blame.

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 21:04:07

Judge - My school has an inner locked door, a foyer with the office and then an outer unlocked door. A child left in the foyer would be in an unlocked area. Moving a lot doesn't mean you've seen the layout of every school in the country. Thinking about it, the same thing applies to the school I attended (which I visited recently).

judgejudithjudy Thu 03-Oct-13 21:04:08

so dog - you ask if youre bu & i say yes + others say yes but you think yanbu so why the fuck ask?

CrohnicallyLurking Thu 03-Oct-13 21:04:22

Baby- we had a similar system with a line painted across the playground an arm's length from the gate. It was the most daring thing ever to place one toe over the line at playtime!

However, one day my mum had got held up in traffic after picking me up from nursery. She had to drive past home to pick my brother up, and spotted a little crumpled heap on the doorstep. My brother had thought he'd been forgotten about and walked home, across 2 roads at the age of 5.

This was also a tiny village, tiny school (we had 3 classrooms but they weren't full!). Yet nobody stopped my brother. And he knew he shouldn't wander off, but the fear and worry at not being picked up straight away overrode that.

Just a cautionary tale.

Growlithe Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:09

babybythesea I think the locked doors are to prevent events like Dunblane happening again as well as to contain the children.

SPBisResisting Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:27

Parker, I had no idea! What do they say when they arrive? I guess it's the same faces each time?
(poor kids sad)

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Panzee Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:48

In my school we'd have tried to phone you all several times, then two of us would have walked her home. I don't care how busy I am after school, why am I there if it wasn't for the children?

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 21:06:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgentZigzag Thu 03-Oct-13 21:07:14

You don't understand what PFB means do you Judgey?

It's when parents don't want their DC to play in the snow because they'll get cold and might get a snowball thrown at them.

A responsible parent correctly expects the place they have to send their child to by law, to be seen to be looking after their small child until they hand them over in person.

And if they don't, then they loudly ask why to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else's child, including yours and mine.

Totally different.

BrianTheMole Thu 03-Oct-13 21:08:16

so fucked off with schools/teachers being blamed for parents fuck ups!

If the op is correct in what happened Judy, then the school are to blame. No matter how angry that might make you feel, the school were responsible for the safety of the child, and the blame lies with them. Get over it.

judgejudithjudy Thu 03-Oct-13 21:08:34

yes dog have read & funniest thing is you wanting a room.for parents who pick up late!!!! really?! whos gonna pay for this room?

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 21:09:16

I think OP has 95% of the posters agreeing with her, bar one or two bitter sounding possible teachers lets hope not.

Panzee Thu 03-Oct-13 21:10:00

I'm a grumpy teacher and I agree with OP grin

Probably a bitter teacher of whom is only in it for the cash unlike most teachers who actually care about the children that are in their care. Or a headteacher who has their priorities wrong...

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 21:11:44

I am the child of a teacher. An infant teacher who got messed around by late-collecting parents and had a (rightful) moan about the repeat offenders. I agree with the OP.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 21:11:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pozzled Thu 03-Oct-13 21:12:07

SPB- yes, there are ALWAYS late colllections at my school, but it is a very large school.

Same faces a lot of the time- some children will be in the late room 2-3 times a week, for 20 minutes or more. Parents don't say much. There's often a language barrier. We do follow it up if it's an ongoing problem, obviously.

Other children are slightly less frequent visitors- a few times every half term. Sometimes it's where a secondary age sibling is in charge of collecting them, and they get a detention or wander along after they've been to the chip shop with their mate's.

dietcokeandwine Thu 03-Oct-13 21:12:19

OP I think you are not at all unreasonable to be upset, it sounds as if the school could have handled the situation a lot better, and I would have been angry and upset too. I hope your DD is okay.

I would try and take a deep breath and compose a sensible letter or email outlining your concerns - acknowledging that you were in the wrong for the club mix up but stating clearly that you feel it was not acceptable that school left DD waiting with no attempt to contact either parent/emergency contact etc.

As an aside, though, I am another who feels reception children should not be doing after school clubs like this in the first term...they have enough to cope with tbh...our local school only allows them to do them from year one onwards which is probably a bit draconian but this first term is one hell of an adjustment for so many of them. Could you just let DD come home at normal time until after Christmas and let her settle in to school a bit before adding any extra curricular stuff?

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 21:13:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BangOn Thu 03-Oct-13 21:14:28

the school should have called you. that's the real issue here. i would definitely demand an explanation & take as high as possible.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 21:14:34

blush I am so sorry I hope I have not offended any teachers on here! flowers

I did see a number of teachers had supported op, was just wondering why the one or two posters who have been so viscous are perhaps taking it too personally..

5madthings Thu 03-Oct-13 21:14:39

Yanbu op, our schoo h a system likes hula has described, I thought that would be standard tbh.

I was once late due to a newborn poo explodsiin over me and baby as I was heading out the door. I tried callng the school to say I would be Kate but got no answer, they took my children though to school office and they were signed as late and watched by a staff member. On my way to school my mobile rang and it was the school, i explained i was on my way, then when I gt to school i had to sign them out.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 21:16:37

Why are people commenting on her DD doing after school stuff? Op has a few DC, I think she is best placed to decide and JUDGE on what her DD is capable of handling!

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 21:16:46

I'm an Airforce wife(not that it makes one iota of a difference).I've moved around a lot, seen lots of different set ups in schools and I totally believe the school has automatic doors. D0G is a longstanding poster, she has nothing to gain from embellishing the story with untruths about doors.

D0G made a mistake. Everyone makes them, it still doesn't make it right that her DD was left unattended by an open door. When we had children left late at pre-school we would get Duplo out, or some crayons or read a book with them. Not leave the sitting fretting all by their self.

pozzled Thu 03-Oct-13 21:16:55

X-post. Yes, judge, we have a 'late room'. And it is paid for by the tax-payers as it is supervised by a teacher or member of office staff.

What would you prefer us to do with the 4+ young children left 10 min after collection time every single time- just throw them out into the playground?

AmandaPayneVersusThePainballer Thu 03-Oct-13 21:17:28

5Mad - Are you normally Kate or was that a new identity for you grin

ShakeAndVac Thu 03-Oct-13 21:25:16

*YABU and precious.You expect there to be a member of staff with nothing better to do than entertain your DD for 25 minutes.They have work to gt on with!!presumably the door has a security lockon it, presumably the secretary was in and out of the office. Presumably your DD told them you thought it was art club and therefore would be along in 20 minutes.
Your dd was not crying until you came along a nd the senco must have been in earshot to come out when she did.You screwed up,and are just looking for someone else to blame.*

FFS, that's a bit uncalled for. The OP has every right to be fuming. OK, she cocked up about art class and not being on the list, but NO 4 year old should be left for an hour without SOMEBODY at the school working their way through the emergency contact list for said child and getting them picked up.
Not to do so is disgusting. What are emergency contacts for if not to ring the parents when needed? Which they blatantly were when she wasn't picked up.
Poor little thing will have been upset when she was left to sit by herself/
It's all very well saying "she wasn't crying until you came along". Well, you've either never had kids or forgotten what it was like when they were small.
Mine would be bottling it up and pretending he was fine while panicking inside. Then he'd have seen me and the sheer relief will have had it all coming out in floods of tears. sad
OP, YADNBU and have every reason to be fuming.

ShakeAndVac Thu 03-Oct-13 21:26:38

bold fail. Oops

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 03-Oct-13 21:30:06

This reminds me of the time my 4 year old started to get the school bus
The bus eventually pulled up at 5 with my ds in tears
They had forgotten he was on there and even done anther job with him still there!

5madthings Thu 03-Oct-13 21:33:49

lol amanda i had to read back to see what you meant! obviously i meant late...

seriously tho this is just one of those threads where people seem to be nasty for the sake of it. the oo is nbu, the school should have kept her daughter somewhere safe and they should have tried to contact her and her dh. i am amazed they didnt, i have five children from 14-2 and ime its standatd practise to have a system such as the one hula described.

MollyBear Thu 03-Oct-13 21:39:31

re: locked school doors. As I said earlier, my school doesn't have locked doors, either.

I had to pick dd up for a dentist appt last week. I told her teacher in the morning, and we arranged I would pick her up from the classroom.

I got there (it was about 11.30, so not break/lunch time - place was deserted as everyone in class) and parked up. Strolled through the playground gate, across and up to the classroom door (admittedly itis technically not possible to open this door from the playground, but it was left propped open). To be met with a note on the whiteboard (was really hard not to type blackboard then grin showing my age ) saying 'we are in the hall, please come across and collect dd'.

So I strolled back out of the classroom (although should I have wanted to, I had direct access to the whole of the infant block at this point, having never seen a teacher/official, nor encountered any locks), and across the playground, out through the other gate, up to the hall, and in I went. wandered about a bit to find out where exactly dd's class was, then collected dd.

as is then common practice, I stopped off at the office and told them I had collected dd. until that point, I had not seen anyone official (dd's class were with a sport's assistant whenI collected her) who actually knew who I was.

same for when I dropped her back. parked up and wandered in to deliver her to her classroom.

not a locked door in sight.

Playboxpony Thu 03-Oct-13 21:39:55

Just wanted to say I don't think you're being unreasonable in the slightest. Your dd is only 4 for goodness sake! And you're quite rightly upset that she was upset. The school could have handled this better. I really feel for you. And I am really gobsmacked at some of the sanctimonious, judgemental bile posted by some people here. Are you all really so perfect??

Give the op a break, she is upset, has had to comfort a young upset daughter. Bit of kindness and sensitivity....

ParkerTheThief Thu 03-Oct-13 21:44:34

SPB, same faces and it's really difficult.
We phone, but never get an answer.

On the last day of the summer term one persistent offender turned up 35 minutes late, came in, shouted at me because her child's PE kit wasn't on her hook.
She then had the nerve to say 'it's alright for you, you're on holiday now'
I don't think she was very pleased when I replied that actually I'd been on holiday for half an hour already.

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 21:50:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hulababy Thu 03-Oct-13 22:08:13

Judge - schools doors areNOT looked at all times in many schools. I've worked in various schools for past nearly 20 years and know this isn't true!

My own school has doors on timers, so actually there are various times of the day when the doors are unlocked: morning arrival times, break times, lunch time and home time. There are also occasions where the timers fail and doors remain unlocked. They shouldn't but sometimes there are failures . Obviously rectified as soon as known, but it occurs in all workplaces. We have to check and double check to ensure it isn't an issue. But there are plenty of times when doors are not locked due to the need for parental access. These times, ESP morning and night, overlap children being in school's care.

ParkerTheThief Thu 03-Oct-13 22:10:33

It's difficult.
I hate lateness, but I have no problem with a one off incident when a parent phones or apologies when they arrive.
The ones that really piss me off are the repeat offenders who just don't care.
My colleague phoned a parent recently because no one picked up a child. The mother went mad, not with her husband who had forgotten, but with the teacher for daring to interrupt her at work.

Levantine Thu 03-Oct-13 22:10:50

When something similair happened to my ds he played with Lego in a corner of the head's office. That school isn't perfect but it is pretty good on making sure that children are safe and happy. Your school did badly OP your poor dd

babybythesea Thu 03-Oct-13 22:26:53

Yes, there are adults (teachers, all 2 of them, and the TAs) in the playground. But not by the gate, and with all the other parents coming and going if anyone wanted to scoot out they could. In the chaos of drop-off it would be easy to do. So far the only child I know of that has escaped was a toddler belonging to one of the parents who legged it as she was getting the older one into class. As it is a small school though, he was spotted by another parent who knew who he was and grabbed him and took him back in to his mum. I recognise it may not be quite the same, but it honestly hadn't occurred to me to question the lack of locking the kids in. I just assume dd, also 4, will go in and stay in unless she's told she can do otherwise. Am now wondering if I'm very lucky or very neglectful!

I'm not defending your dd's school, in that if she was upset someone should have been with her. But I do think there may have been an element of the school knowing you were coming anyway so when they couldn't get hold of you (say after 10 minutes of trying), thinking 'Well, her mum will be here in 10 minutes now anyway so we may as well wait.' I do think they should have put her in to the art club. But I can see why they didn't put her into an office with just one other adult - there are potential safe-guarding issues here too (having seen what my dad went through when a 7yo falsely accused him of hitting him, I would always recommend a teacher avoids putting themselves in that position.) I just wonder if the staff sat her down, she seemed happy enough to them, so they kept an eye on her, as in kept popping their heads round to check on her and she seemed fine, they tried to call you but couldn't get through and thought as it would only be a few minutes more it would be fine, and it all got too much for your dd when she saw you.

I think you may be being a fraction U, but I think it's understandable as your dd was upset by it all.

SPBisResisting Thu 03-Oct-13 22:39:59

"judgejudithjudy Thu 03-Oct-13 21:08:34

yes dog have read & funniest thing is you wanting a room.for parents who pick up late!!!! really?! whos gonna pay for this room?

Since when? Use your common sense, if you have any. There are plenty of solutions that don't involve special rooms paid for by god-knows-who. Plenty on this thread alone.

Thanks to those who explained about late kids. Amazing.
Next question - what does go on in staff rooms that has made teachers on this thread clutch their pearls at the thought of a 4yo sitting in the corner? Am I far off the mark with my orgy guess? grin

D0G Thu 03-Oct-13 22:42:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SPBisResisting Thu 03-Oct-13 23:10:39

No I can completely understand that in general staff don't want students tramping through the staff room. But as a one off...
We looked at a lovely infants school for DS. The headmistress's office had a huge sofa with a load of stuffed toys on it. She said most days she had a child sitting on the sofa who just wanted to cuddle a toy or fall asleep grin

Canthisonebeused Thu 03-Oct-13 23:20:20

I think they were terribly mean to have her sit in the corridor and not let her join art club with her brother and just try to clear up the misunderstanding once you arrived.

MidniteScribbler Thu 03-Oct-13 23:23:41

I think it's pretty terrifying that there are teachers here who think it would be ok to leave a child unattended when their parent is late. We all know it happens, and we all complain about the persistent offenders, and we internally roll our eyes at the knots they tie themselves in trying to come up with excuses, but ultimately it is the children that matter, and that's what takes priority.

Shit happens. Cars break down, people get stuck in traffic, public transport doesn't run on time, people have accidents. Our school fees include the right to charge a parent late fees (equivalent to an afternoon in after school care) if they are late. Those that are genuinely late generally come in with their wallets open ready to pay (and we usually say don't worry about it). Persistent offenders will be charged without hesitation.

Children could end up in any number of places at our school if they aren't collected on time. In the classroom with the teacher, or with another teacher that is staying late to work in their classroom if their own teacher has a meeting or even the library if the librarian is still there, or the office where they might end up doing some jobs for the head or the secretary depending on who is around. Even if everyone is in a whole staff meeting, it's not hard to set the child up in the corner of the staff room and hand them a couple of books to keep them amused for a while. Usually we tell them to get started on their homework.

edam Thu 03-Oct-13 23:23:53

Aw, that's really sad for poor dd. The school should have MUCH better procedures for looking after children who haven't been collected - a 4yo shouldn't be expected to sit on their own by automatic doors. It's not safe and it's not kind.

What if you'd been taken ill suddenly, or run over or something?

As an ex-school governor, I would have been very concerned to hear of something like this happening at ds's primary. And it would have been taken very seriously.

In fact, ds did manage to escape and make his own way nearly home once when he was six. He was supposed to be at after-school club (which is off-site - they collect the children and walk them in a crocodile to the other school involved) but took it into his head to go home. Managed to sneak past his teacher - he pretended he'd seen me in the playground, so she let him go.

There was a BIG hoo-hah when this was discovered - not caused by me, I was just glad to have ds home and told him off very clearly, but the school and after-school club were horrified and had already worked out what had gone wrong and how to make sure it didn't happen again before I'd calmed down enough to ask searching questions.

OrchidLass Fri 04-Oct-13 06:40:04

The whys and where fors are irrelevant IMO. OP admits she fucked up and I don't understand why they didn't just put the child in one of the after school clubs until they found out what was happening. You don't just stick a four year old on a chair to wait when that child will have no idea why they haven't been picked up, any idiot can see that. I hate that just showing concern for a very small child is seen as 'precious'.

pixiepotter Fri 04-Oct-13 08:47:50

shakeand vac It wasn't an hour it was 20 minutes .By the timethey had found your number, rung you and you had set off, you would have almost been there anyway.There clearly were adults about- the SENCO and the secretary.Almost every night there will be a parent late because of traffic, or some other unforeseen reason.It is absolutely standard practice to have kids wait in the reception area in every school I have had any dealings with.

Sparkleandshine Fri 04-Oct-13 13:15:10

I think its odd that given art club was on they didn't just pop her in there anyway.... that's what our school would do. Any parent who doesn't get there within 10 mins of pickup, kid automatically goes into late club with all the others who have parents who pick up later due to work. They would never sit them in a corridor....

Hulababy Fri 04-Oct-13 13:45:58

We don't take children into our staffroom either. It is tidy and cramped as it is, not enough room for the teaching staff to all sit down. Its also cluttered and with confidential information about specific children in there - so teaching staff can see it obviously. Also there will be cards and/or photos from staff events sometimes. If staff are in there they may be chatting about things not suitable for a young child - confidential information about other children, information about staff and general adult chit chat. There isn't often teachers working due to no table space but it wouldn't be fair on other staff to have a child in the corner.

However, we have other systems in place for late collection of children.

Hulababy Fri 04-Oct-13 13:46:52

We don't invite volunteers and students into the staff room either - primarily due to the confidential information available in there. They have another area to go to.

MrsBungle Fri 04-Oct-13 14:06:51

I'm shocked anyone would think it's reasonable to leave a 3 year old sitting unattended next to an automatic opening non-locked door.

Op yanbu at all.

MrsBungle Fri 04-Oct-13 14:07:17

Sorry 4 year old - fat fingers and iPhone!

Jenny70 Fri 04-Oct-13 14:50:24

Did you speak to the school today about what their proper procedure was for no-show collections? Even if they are misunderstandings and you didn't just no-show, what should they have done if you didn't show up?

pixiepotter Fri 04-Oct-13 15:35:45

I am guessing that they don't want to set a precedent of allowing non collected children join oversubscribed clubs or some parents might take advantage of this.

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