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What is the law about this - year1 children have been found wandering the streets. school not taking any action

(39 Posts)
Pollyanna Wed 20-May-09 13:15:40

ok this sounds very dramatic, but twice this term children in dd2s class (aged 5-6) have left school at home time on their own. In each case this was because the parent was late, but in one case the child got all the way home across 2 very busy roads. The school is in a city centre.

We got a crappy newsletter home after the first event which put the blame firmly on the parent. there is no process for letting children out, I often meet dd2 at the gate although I don't think she will leave on her own.

I want to write a letter to the school threatening that I will take my child out as I really don't feel that she is safe. Can I threaten to tell ofsted? I have told the governers who have done nothing. I am livid about this situation - I can't believe 5 and 6 year old children are wandering the street and can't believe that the school is doing nothing about it

(I'm sure I've outed myself here to several parents!)

bobblehat Wed 20-May-09 13:19:32

sorry, don't know the law on this one.

However, my dc's have been to 2 different infant schools (in different parts of the country) and at each one they are not allowed to go home until the teacher has seen the parent ( or whoever usually picks the children up). I presumed this was the norm.

theninthtailor Wed 20-May-09 13:20:13

Our school lets year 1 children out only to parents (so no parent being there would mean they'd go back inside with the teacher until the parent had been contacted), but they just walk out by themselves from year 2 on (obviously they're supposed to go back inside if the parent doesn't arrive, but it's left up to them to do that). Given that some year 1 children are only just five when they start I think that seems sensible.

Not sure what the best thing to do about it in your case is though, sorry.

heronsfly Wed 20-May-09 13:25:23

Im not sure on the law either,seems a bit of a grey area as once school is over the children are the parents responsability.
At our school.year R and year 1 are not allowed out untill parents are seen,but the rest of the school are just let go,although they are all told to go back to the office if no one collects them.

coppertop Wed 20-May-09 13:27:18

Can you ask for a copy of the school's health and safety policy? There might be something in there that can help you.

paddingtonbear1 Wed 20-May-09 13:28:06

I don't know the law either, but there is no way dd's school would do this (she is in yr 1 as well). They hand over to a parent/other carer, and if there's noone there they go back in school. I would be angry in your situation as well, I would be horrified if dd was allowed to leave on her own.

Surfermum Wed 20-May-09 13:28:13

DD is Y1 and we have to be present before they will let her go. If we are late they are kept at the after school club until we arrive and the ring us to see where we are (more to make sure nothing has happened).

Pollyanna Wed 20-May-09 13:31:50

I have several older children and we have moved cities and schools previously- in each of the schools my older children have been in, they haven't been let out without at least eye contact with the parent.

at dd2s school there is no eye contact, and you can just pick up another child with no notice being given to the parent. It just seems wrong to me that the children are allowed to leave in such a haphazard manner. I wouldn't want my y2 child leaving on their own either tbh.

I wouldn't threaten to tell Ofsted, I'd just do it. Also the LEA.

DD's old school recently had a bad Ofsted report (though purely on teaching, nothing to do with safety). However that week there were officals from the LEA/council at teh gate asking parents if they thought their children were safe at the school. They seemed worried that if the teaching is so poor there might be other problems.

Whats happening at your child's school is not acceptable. If a child minder was doing tis you would ring Ofsted and a school is no different.

ThePellyandMe Wed 20-May-09 13:40:44

I'm quite shocked by that TBH.

At the ds's school they have to see you before they will let the children out until Y3. The won't let a child go to someone different unless they have had a phonecall for the parent to say that is what's happening.

The teacher waits with any children whose parents are late.

I would certainly want to check what the schools official policy on this is. they must have one. Security is such a big issue in schools nowadays, I mean what would happen if one of those children came to harm?

I have a 6 year old and the thought of him walking home alone beggars belief. He has no road sense at all.

Pollyanna Wed 20-May-09 13:45:23

my au pair, who unfortunately was new and a bit clueless, saw the first child walking home - he was apparently sobbing. He was so lucky on the roads - one of them is really busy and I find it very difficult to cross. I wouldn't trust my 10 year old on it.

I am a pretty relaxed parent, but this really upsets me.

cat64 Wed 20-May-09 13:48:09

Message withdrawn

Hulababy Wed 20-May-09 13:48:52

I would want to see their H&S policy regarding keeping the children safe.

At DD's school, infants (up to Y2) are only released if ther teacher has seen the parent/carer who is collecting.

ICANDOTHAT Wed 20-May-09 13:52:20

The school are required to release the child to the parent/carer. They will have their own procedures in place should the parent/carer be late ie: a waiting period, a phone call to carer etc. If the child is let go without the teacher knowing that they are with an adult, the blame lays squarely with the school. If you are getting no joy from the HT, write to the board of guvernors - you can do this anonymously if you think there will be a come back on you or your child. They have to act upon it.

Pollyanna Wed 20-May-09 13:53:22

the Headteacher is a cow. Parents tried to speak to her after the first incident and she just included a paragraph in the newsletter about how it was parents responsibility to be on time. Nothing has changed since, and it was a shock to find that the same thing happened again this week.

sarana Wed 20-May-09 14:10:00

Whatever the law says, I'd be very unhappy leaving a child in the care of a head who would rather argue about whose fault it is that the child is put into danger than take simple steps to keep her safe.

smee Wed 20-May-09 14:22:12

If the Head Teacher won't listen, you have to go to the Governors. Why not write a simple letter saying you're unhappy about the current system and go round all the parents before school and get them to sign? If you act en masse they'd have to change it. Can't imagine there are many schools where this still happens tbh. I thought all had a handover system.

NoFurtherQuestions Wed 20-May-09 14:36:39

Message withdrawn

thirtysomething Wed 20-May-09 14:36:43

Agree that OFSTED and/or Governors is the way to go. It's totally unacceptable and the school surely has a duty of care to make sure the cildren leave school with a recognised adult? imagine if all schools just let children loose at end of school time because there's no-one there to pick them up? It's outrageous - all parents are late picking up at some time or another - for any number of reasons - car breaking-down, rubbish lorry blocking the road etc etc and the school has a duty to make sure the child is cared for until a parent or other carer can take the child home

wolfnipplechips Wed 20-May-09 14:37:07

You need to report them to ofted, its really important something terrible could happen. I'm sure on the ofsted report there is a place where it mentions complaints since last report. Don't bother threatening it'll only give you a bad reputation at the school.

hellywobs Wed 20-May-09 14:46:46

At out school they only let the children (year R and 1, I think it's the same for Y2 - we are na infant school) go if they can see a parent/authorised adult is waiting (or an older sibling of secondary school age, who they know). What does surprise me is that they have recently told us that they do not need a phone call to tell them if a child is ill and it's fine to send a letter in when they retur. I think they should require a phone call and investigate if they don't get one, in case a child has gone missing eg goes into classroom and in melee of parents and children dropping off, goes out again and gets lost/abducted/decides to walk into town to visit toy shop/whatever.

Write to the head, if you get a snotty reply, write to the governors, copying in the LEA and OFSTED. If you can photocopy the letter and get other parents to write in as well, so much the better. Even better if you can get the parents to write their own original letters. Don't do it anonymously, governors won't act on anonymous complaints generally as they tend to feel that they are not genuine (stupid I know, seeing as most parents will worry about the come-back on their child).

scarybear Wed 20-May-09 18:40:52

If it was me, I would tell the local press as well.

It is truly appalling.

eskimum Wed 20-May-09 19:02:13

Hellywobs - I'm surprised by your school not needing a phone call too. A good few years ago in Sussex I think 2 girls were abducted on their way to school (and found alive a number of days later to everyone's relief) but no-one noticed they were missing until late afternoon when they didn't return from school, you might remember the case it was national news. Following this case, schools nationally were told to change their policy so that they had to chase up unauthorised absences with a phonecall hence schools now require you to phone in if dcs are unwell rather than a note next day.

Pollyanna Wed 20-May-09 21:17:08

thanks everyone. I am writing a formal letter to the head and the governors. Hopefully this will get something done. I really don't feel that dd is safe there at the moment (I don't think the mother of the second child thought that her child would ever leave the school either).

memoo Thu 21-May-09 11:25:47

I'm sorry but that is totally disgraceful. A school has a duty of care to the children and tbh I have never heard of a school letting the children out before the parent/carer is there!

I'm a TA and in our school we will only let the child out to a parent/carer who is known to us.

I would really kick up a huge fuss about this!

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