Boy, 4, walks a mile home alone from school club

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A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy managed to leave an after-school club un-noticed and walked nearly a mile to get to his home.

Downsbrook Out of Hours Club, which is based at Downsbrook Middle School but operated by Little Rascals Day Nursery, was inspected by Ofsted and the West Sussex safeguarding officer after the boy walked from the club’s site in Dominion Road to his home address in Forest Road last Monday, April 30.

The boy’s mother, who asked not to be named, said she had been about to pick her son up from the club when she found him at her front door at around 4.30pm.

She said: “Anything could have happened to him. He had to cross main roads to get home and no-one had stopped to see if he was ok.

“My main concerns about what happened is that why were the police or myself not contacted? What procedures were in place for if an emergency happened, and were they followed?”

A statement from the club was sent to the Herald.

It reads: “We are very sorry for any distress experienced by the family, but what happened was the result of an external door being left open by somebody not connected with our after-school club, although I must stress we are not in any way disowning responsibility for this unfortunate incident.

“A child resembling him was spotted by the supervisor amongst the many parents assembled waiting to collect their children. She immediately checked the playground where he was playing moments before.

“As soon as it was established that the child was missing, our policies and procedures were put into place, and staff were immediately deployed to locate him. Fortunately he was found within 11 minutes.”

The statement added Ofsted and the West Sussex safeguarding officer had been satisfied with the safety procedures the club had in place, and additional measures had been taken to prevent a similar event reoccurring.