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4 year old DS went "missing" at home time-Long sorry....

(55 Posts)
wakemewhenitsover Wed 17-Oct-12 09:50:49

Ok, I need a reality check. Am I overreacting or not?
I collect my Ds from the school gates every day and he is escorted by 2 teachers with about 9 other children. Yesterday I waited and it wasn't until the last 2 pupils when his teacher said "oh where's wakeme's child? He's probably slipped out of line and gone to a different gate, why don't you come into school and look for him?"
So I ran through and searched but he was not at the other gate, he was not in the other lines in the playground. I did eventually find him in the school front office and when he saw me he burst into tears because he got lost. His teacher came and it went like this;
Me: I'm not happy you didnt know where DS was
Teacher: (laughing) oh we have a great safety record here, nothing would have happened.
Me: I think you need to implement some policy to ensure that children can't just "wander off"
Teacher: Oh we do have a policy, and it is your Ds responsibility to stay in the line too...the teachers know if there's somebody in the line who shouldn't be there and would take them to the office.
Me: But if he's not supposed to be in that line would they even notice him or think it strange if he left the line? (assuming he was going to join the correct one)
Teacher: They wouldn't let him wander off, they always know who's in the line
Me: Well that didn't happen today!
Teacher: Oh, well he must have slipped by the other teacher...
Cue 2 other staff joining in with how great the schools safety policy was and generally dismissing me.
Grrrrr! What annoys me is the jokey manner in which they dealt with the situation. No apologies, just denial.
The school had volunteers in that day to help with the garden so there were lots of "helpers" (friends/relations) around the school.
Who would have questioned someone walking out with a child? (as there are always parents & children wandering around the school at home time).
What if he hadn't joined another line and panicked and went to toilet block which (unvetted) volunteers were free to use?
I know he was found ok but surely they need to acknowledge there is a problem?
How would you react?

LadyMargolotta Wed 17-Oct-12 09:54:32

You are over thinking this. No-one tried to walk off with your son, and there is no evidence that this would have happened.

He was found in a safe place in the office.

Rockchick1984 Wed 17-Oct-12 09:54:47

I think I would be unhappy with not getting an apology, however being completely honest, the teacher can't be one-on-one with the children so I think your DS needs to learn to stay in the line.

aldiwhore Wed 17-Oct-12 09:54:51

Firstly all 'helpers' should be CRB checked.

Secondly, I think you ARE over reacting.

You wouldn't have been if you'd found your child wandering the streets though.

Nancy66 Wed 17-Oct-12 09:56:32

I see both sides.

i see that it was frightening for you and that, on that occasion, the school did slip up - and even if they didn't think it a big deal they could have accepted more responsibility.

But you really need to drum into your child the importance of doing what he's told at school, staying with the others and not wandering off in his own.

he's safe that's the main thing.

Chopstheduck Wed 17-Oct-12 09:56:51

I agree, volunteers will have been crb checked, and he didn't leave the premises.

I've had two of mine walk right off school grounds - that is when you start screwing at teachers!

PropositionJoe Wed 17-Oct-12 09:59:19

You need to stress to him that he must stay in the line. Why did he leave it?

shesariver Wed 17-Oct-12 09:59:26

Why cant you collect him at the school door, thats what happens at our school.

squeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 09:59:46

How old is he?

Whistlingwaves Wed 17-Oct-12 10:00:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GhostofMammaTJ Wed 17-Oct-12 10:00:30

I cannot imagine the helpers are 'unvetted' by any stretch of the imagination.

They should have apologised though. I would not have been happy about that.

wakemewhenitsover Wed 17-Oct-12 10:01:06

Yes I did drill it into ds that he needs to stay in the line or go straight to the office if he gets left behind but he is 4 and easily distracted.
Rockchick: I'm not expecting 1to1 but surely 2 teachers could keep an eye on 10 children? One in the front of the line and one behind the last child doesn't seem too difficult IMO.
Aldi: Volunteers normally do have to be checked for everything else but for some reason this invitation was open to "friends, family anyone who can spare the time to help..."
I guess with the news recently I have jumped straight to worst case scenario...

squeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 10:02:17

Sorry, ignore, just saw the thread title.

McKayz Wed 17-Oct-12 10:02:51

Why don't you pick him from his classroom? It's what we do. He really should know not to leave his line.

Also the volunteers will have to be crb checked.

Whistlingwaves Wed 17-Oct-12 10:04:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aldiwhore Wed 17-Oct-12 10:05:41

Ah right, that does happen sometimes if there's no contact directly with the children.

It is scary, been there done that!

The fact is, in this case, both you and school have proven their policies to be okay. You told your DS to go to the office, that's where he went. I think your experience is an example of a policy working rather than failing.

Whistlingwaves Wed 17-Oct-12 10:06:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FolkGhoul Wed 17-Oct-12 10:07:42


I think you're over reacting in terms of the risk to your child.

However, the problem for me would be the flippant way in which they attempted to minimise your concerns. Of course you are going to be concerned at what happened and what they should have done is reassure you and apologise rather than try and laugh it off as though it was 'something and nothing'.

Because whilst, in the grand scheme of things, it was something and nothing, you need to be reassured that their glib response isn't a reflection of their attitude generally.

FolkGhoul Wed 17-Oct-12 10:08:40

Not all parents are checked.

I wasn't when I volunteered and I know that I've worked in schools where there were volunteers who weren't checked.

Other members of staff said they were "prepared to vouch" for them.

wakemewhenitsover Wed 17-Oct-12 10:10:23

There's no option to pick him up from his classroom, you have to designate a gate and collect him there. I think a teacher did take him to the office, it was not made entirely clear.
Regarding the police checking of volunteers, I can only find one one of the notices that came home saying they were looking for "parent and friends of the school" to volunteer. I can't even help out at the school disco until I get my police check through so wonder why this was different? I have helped the last 2 years and did have direct contact with pupils without a teacher being present...

squeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 10:13:07

Your child is not going to get snatched from school.

It doesn't sound like he could have wandered out into the road on his own, not if they have teachers at each gate.

He did the right thing by making his way to the office - well done, him.

The teachers were possibly over-flippant considering you were obviously so upset.

Take a breath.

LadyMargolotta Wed 17-Oct-12 10:15:57

As another poster said, it sounds like the policy worked; your ds was taken by a teacher to the office where you found him safe. He did not wander out of school alone; he was not snatched by a volunteer.

If the volunteers are not CRB checked, this is a separate issue, and you can bring this up with the school.

noblegiraffe Wed 17-Oct-12 10:16:19

Was there a chance he could have got out of a gate and onto the street had he not gone to the office? If yes, then absolutely there's a concern (that he didn't isn't the issue).

Safeguarding is incredibly important, the school should not have simply laughed it off but gone through the potential scenarios with you to reassure you that your son would not have been able to escape wherever he'd gone.

Obviously there was a case recently where a 4 year old was found half a mile away from a school, and Ofsted will be down on them like a tonne of bricks. If you don't think your concerns have been addressed, that you are not reassured that this couldn't have happened then policies need to be amended. Take it to the head/governors and then Ofsted if you think they are trying to simply brush you off.

wakemewhenitsover Wed 17-Oct-12 10:31:43

Thank you noblegiraffe-you put into words what I was trying to say. Basically, I know he's safe, but it's what could have happened.
I firmly believe he could have wandered out of the school. No-one knew where he was for a time! Only one of the school gates was locked after the last teacher had left the gate (there are 3 gates).
Fundamentally, I don't feel reassured and it's my job to worry about his safety.
Thinking of speaking to the Head now but judging by the frosty reception I got from his teachers this morning, I won't be winning any popularity contests...

halcyondays Wed 17-Oct-12 10:38:51

It is unlikely that he would have come to harm, but they should have apologised. Picking up from the classroom isn't an option at our school, but they come to the gate and I've seen one or two trying to "escape" but the teacher was straight on to them.

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