male stranger able to get alone with the kids

(19 Posts)
NamechangedToHeidi Sat 20-Jul-13 13:35:20

I'm a single Mum but Daddy is involved.

Our children are 1 and 3. They attend a good nursery now but we are moving, so we need to find a new one. We went to visit one this week and I'm worried about what we found. I want your thoughts please Mumsnet.

We were met at the wide-open front door by a senior staff member. She took my name but not Daddy's. I made it clear right at the start I was a single parent, so there's this man there and she doesn't even have his name.

Our children's security concerns us. Bad (albeit rare) things have happened to children in our extended family and we like to see good child protection. So Daddy decided to casually break away and wander off while the staff member was talking to me, to see if he could.

He managed to become alone, unsupervised with one or more children (not including our own, who stayed with me) 3 times, in a 25 minute visit. Each time for 3-5 minutes. Each time he and at least one child were not within line of sight from any member of staff or me. Each time he exited the situation himself, he was not retrieved by staff.

To make it worse, he was carrying his mobile phone in his top pocket, where it was quite visible. No one mentioned that either (it doesn't have a camera, but you can't tell that without taking it out of the pocket first).

The potential was sky high. We know he was just checking, but they don't. He could have done anything at all. They don't even have his name, they didn't ask. 3-5mins is a long time.

Obviously our children will not be enrolling.

Mumsnet... is it just me, am I just paranoid because of our unfortunate family history, or is this really, really frightening? I need a second opinion.

I'd not so much worry about the "strange man" aspect but the fact that these children were, presumably, unsupervised and out of sight of staff for considerable amounts of time.

He was not a strange man who had broken in though, he was let in and was a prospective parent/customer. I think you were looking for things to be unhappy about.

It all sounds rather odd.

Tanith Sat 20-Jul-13 15:47:00

Whoever he was, no unauthorised adult should have been able to gain unsupervised access to the children even once.

I'd be very, very concerned about this nursery. I would most certainly inform the nursery as a matter of urgency that they need to tighten their procedures.

NatashaBee Sat 20-Jul-13 16:02:38

But presumably you arrived together and it was obvious to them that he was with you. I could understand your point if he'd wandered in off the street separately.

You arrived together, it would have been obvious he was with you.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sat 20-Jul-13 16:07:30

You arrived together, with your children.

He went to look around the nursery, for his children.

That's why he was there, and who he was with - why would the nursery be concerned?

I agree with PP that you seem to be looking for issues, if that's because of your past experience, it's a shame - you'll miss out on the best place for your children because of it.

Lots of people have phones with them - my first thought would not be 'he's a man, he must be a paedophile' and I'm glad of that!

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:08:36

Your title pissed me off! Why does it matter that he was a male?

FannyFifer Sat 20-Jul-13 16:11:46

You both sound a bit odd, why would he be wandering off and seeking children to be alone with in the first place, what a weird thing to do.

piprabbit Sat 20-Jul-13 16:14:14

I am very surprised that both of you were not asked to sign in using the visitors book. I would ask the nursery about that.

I am also surprised that a nursery has some many nooks and crannies where children and adults can hide unseen - is it a very old building? Perhaps your children's father was not quite as invisible to staff as he assumed - it is possible that they have already flagged up his tendency to seek out lone children and hang around them.

I do think you sound slightly unhinged about the risk of paedophiles.

NamechangedToHeidi Sat 20-Jul-13 16:18:19

That's what we thought Tanith. Where our children are now it would be impossible for this to happen. I expect that to be the case anywhere, but I don't know if that's realistic.

MoaningMingeWhingesAgain I don't expect to take every childcarer at their word alone all of the time. Talk is cheap. Seeing that talk in practice is the only assurance worth heading. It's the same reason why parents will turn up unexpectedly at the childminders/nursery sometimes.

changechangechange Sat 20-Jul-13 16:37:35

Agree with piprabbit.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sat 20-Jul-13 16:40:00

You have picked out the one answer that agrees with your paranoia.

It's not normal to go to such degrees of espionage to 'prove' a nursery isn't for you.

MissMarplesBloomers Sat 20-Jul-13 17:24:18

I don't think the OP is unreasonable at all given her family history, if its something that is important to her then it is a valid concern and not paranoid at all.

I would be more concerned that if the children were out of line of sight of the carers then other accidents could happen, and all visitors should sign in regardless of who they are-that's 2 OFSTED regulations broken right there.

13 years ago when I started my nursery I would have said she was over worrying. Paedophiles tended to groom kids out in the community, rather than in settings and because of the rules & regs and strict application process it was highly unlikely that anything untoward would occur in a nursery setting.

Now sadly, things have changed, camera phones are the norm and children in nurseries have been the victims of some very sick fuckers male & female. Still thankfully rare but not unheard of.

OP if it didn't feel right to you both then fair enough look for another.

ReetPetit Sun 21-Jul-13 11:06:32

you both sound very strange. you actually engineered it so that he would casually wonder off and seek out children with a mobile phone visible from his pocket. You sound a little disturbed, possibly by your family history (both of you) you shouldn't be using childcare. nothing will ever be good enough you.

and 'male stranger' how ridiculous. being male makes no difference!! hmm he wasn't a stranger either, he came in with you and was a parent. I agree it sounds like there security is a bit lax but tbh that sounds like what you wanted it to be.

how odd.

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 21-Jul-13 16:17:12

Reet they were BOTH strangers and therefore should have been accompanied.

I agree it sounds a bit daft engineering it but I get the OP's worries.

maja00 Sun 21-Jul-13 16:25:25

It doesn't matter that he was "with" the OP - who is the OP to the nursery? Does some random woman get to vouch for the safety of random man just because she says she's a prospective parent?

They should have both been signed it.
They should have both been supervised.
Children should not be left alone with complete strangers at a nursery!

Teapig Fri 26-Jul-13 10:55:11

I can understand your concerns OP. The nursery DH and I visited this week asked us both to bring photo ID, sign the visitors book and reminded us not to have our mobiles out. I would inform the nursery manager, the security does not sound good.

I do agree with others that gender doesn't come into it, any stranger left alone with the children for even a moment is not ok.

Littleen Sun 25-Aug-13 10:08:22

I wouldn't care much whether it was a male or female - females can be abusive too! It sounds very, very disturbed the way you behaved however.

Anyway, I think that 5 minutes is a long time to leave a toddler unsupervised in a kindergarden - they can do a lot of mischief in that time :P

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