A nursery in Sussex was forced to call the police after a Grandfather dropped off 2-year-old Lexi Francis and left before staff realized she did not attend their setting.
Staff took Lexi and let her start playing with other toddlers, before realising the mistake. Despite calls to other nurseries, they were unable to establish where she should be, and resorted to calling the local Brighton police for assistance.
Anne Cox, headteacher of Queen’s Park Primary and Nursery School, said: ‘The child was dropped off at 1.15pm outside of normal drop off time to a member of staff who was covering for a sick colleague.
‘It was quickly realised the child does not attend our nursery and we acted swiftly to raise the alarm and chased after the grandparent.
‘When this was unsuccessful the police were called at 1.35pm. The police asked us to look after the child until 3.15pm which we did.
‘The child was then taken to the police station and then onto the mother. We have very strong safe guarding procedures in place and our staff worked extremely hard to ensure the child was safe and reunited with her parent.’
A Sussex Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 1.35pm on Monday October 7 to report that a child had been dropped off at a nursery school who did not usually attend the nursery.
‘It was reported about 15 to 20 minutes after she had been dropped off. Officers attended the school around 3pm when the child was not collected and was taken to John Street police station.
‘Other local nurseries were contacted and the child was identified. Her mum was contacted and she was returned home at 4.50pm.’
Lexi, was reunited with her mother, Lisa Francis, 28, who said the toddler escaped unscathed, but criticized the nursery for accepting her daughter without noticing she was not a usual attendee.
Miss Francis said: ‘I was incredibly surprised to get a call from the police saying they had my two-year-old daughter – you don’t expect that until she is at least 16. I think it is incredibly worrying it was not noticed at first, that she was not one of their usual children. I was incredibly shocked. Thankfully she was okay.’
This story comes shortly after a 74-year-old grandfather visited a Kent school to collect his 6-year-old granddaughter for a doctor’s appointment. A mistake led to the wrong child being presented to him, taken on a bus journey, seeing the doctor and having medicine prescribed, before being returned to school.
The grandfather was said to be “very short-sighted” and the girl shared the first name and hair colour as his granddaughter.
Are your safeguarding procedures robust enough?
Are you confident your procedures would prevent a similar event happening at your nursery? Would you consider this scenario as part of your planning?
We’d love to hear your thoughts below.