Infant school pupil allowed to wander off by staff

Gillas Lane Primary School, Houghton, Sunderland.
Gillas Lane Primary School, Houghton, Sunderland.
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A FIVE-YEAR-OLD was allowed to wander off from school after a staff blunder.

The reception pupil was discovered by a member of the public 20 minutes later, upset and alone.

The boy, who goes to Gillas Lane Primary School, in Houghton, was found a street away from the school before the police were called.

A teacher at the school had been taking a class when the boy’s parent telephoned to say they would be late picking him up at the end of lessons and asked if he could be looked after until they arrived.

Despite this, the boy was able to wander off at about 3.20pm last Wednesday, with teachers thinking that he had been collected.

The youngster was found distressed 20 minutes later by a passing driver in a street just off busy Gillas Lane East.

The Good Samaritan then took the boy to the nearby Co-op supermarket, in Houghton town centre, where the police were called.

Although he was unharmed, the family of the boy are understood to be upset that he was allowed to wander off.

Terry Hambleton, headteacher at the school, said today: “We can confirm that an incident involving a child took place at school collection time.

“The school has in place robust procedures for the collection of children by their parents or carers, and while we are confident that this was an isolated incident, we are naturally extremely concerned that it has occurred.

“A full briefing to staff took place the morning after the incident, and procedures have been reviewed to make sure that there is no repeat of this incident.

“Our parents were reminded of our collection arrangements the following day.

“I visited the parent of the child involved, who was naturally upset about the incident.

“Thankfully the child came to no harm and has returned to school.”

Coun Colin Wakefield, who serves Copt Hill ward which Gillas Lane Primary is in, said he wants to see action take over the incident to prevent future situations occurring.

Coun Wakefield said: “Obviously this needs to be investigated fully and procedures need to be put in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At 3.47pm on Wednesday, June 20, police received a call from a member of staff at a supermarket in Sunderland about a five-year-old boy.

“The child was collected by a parent and there was no further police involvement.”

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