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A horrendous situation - child escaped


mrsbat
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This morning hasn't started very well.....

We've had a situation today where - to cut a long story short - a child managed to follow their parent (unseen by staff) out of the building and almost to the road! Parent brought the child back and almost made a joke of it ("are you missing someone") parent happily left child again.

I spoke to member of staff who was manning the door who said parents were talking to her and she didn't see the child leave.

I have since called Parents apologising profusely, explaining that for the first time ever our system let us down, explained the complaints process and told them they were well within their rights to complain.

At the moment parents do not wish to complain, said that we can't be everywhere and that yes it has knocked their confidence in the member of staff on the door but not in us as a group and they are happy to leave their child with us still. I explained what we are putting in place immediately to ensure it never happens again (1 member of staff to man the building exit as well as the member of staff we already have manning the room exit) a risk assessment of collection/drop off procedure will also be created

(That is a very shortened version of events but has the main points)

I am now at home typing the incident up with what has been said by who, how staff were involved etc so that I can get parents to sign it at collection.......my query is - do I have to inform OFSTED? If I do what is likely to happen?

This has just knocked me for six, I feel sick, got a banging headache and am just losing confidence in myself and my staff :(

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Yes, I'm afraid you do have to inform Ofsted. You know this is serious and the possible consequences could have been dire. I know of a setting close by us who had exactly the same thing happen and they reported themselves. This triggered an inspection, for which they received inadeqate. They have since been reinspected and received Outstanding.

Although it's not a good position to be in, you don't want the parent ( or any other parent who saw it, or heard about it) to report you if you haven't done so yourself. Better to be upfront, honest and show that you have reflected urgently on this and taken appropriate steps to ensure it doesn't happen again

 

Good luck

Edited by narnia
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Oh no you poor thing!

 

Definately phone Ofsted, its a reportable incident and if you dont inform them it will be far worse. Then make sure that all of the new things put in place are written down and risk-assessed and that all staff know the procedures. Ofsted will want to see how you have reacted to the situation.

Goodluck

FF

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It happened to us many years ago now the child followed mum out of the building but they didnt get out of the gate. We did an emergency risk assessment put in place the same as you! staff on the playroom door and exit door for arrivals and departures and we still do it to this day! I documented it as an incident, I didnt inform ofsted it went in our risk assessmnent folder and i put it in our SEF. Ofsted came as normal to inspect I made ref to it and told them what we had put in place and the documentation they were happy we had addressed it and dealt with it!

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Thanks so much everyone, I have been extremely unprofessional and bursting into tears on the phone to ofsted and to my staff! I have the headache from h*ll and am feeling rubbish at my job, like I have let the setting, the children and the staff down and anything else negative that I can think of.......

I called ofsted this morning and spoke to the loveliest lady ever who was very sympathetic, explained everything etc etc and she has said I can call back again tomorrow afternoon to see if anything has been decided. The 3 options are immediate suspension and we have to close while an investigation takes place, an inspection or a letter detailing the incident and what they want us to put in place etc.

We have already put the extra security in place and have also minuted (and also all staff have signed) details of the incident and what we are now doing to help prevent it happening again, ofsted said this was all positive reactions and the fact we had reported it so quickly etc is better for us.

I am really hoping we don't get suspended, I would also hate to have an inspection at the moment because we are so full and have lots of children with differing needs and new starters etc (but I know that what we are doing is fine anyway but it would just be better for me nerves wise if they waited until September and we had lost lots to school!) but I think that an inspection is what is going to happen so I just need to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. At the end of the day whatever we get we deserve because it was a huge oversight and should never have happened and we just have to accept the consequences.......

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I join Sunnyday in offering hugs Mrs Bat, these little ones squeeze through the tiniest gaps if they are determined to get somewhere. I tell our parents to settle their child before leaving, or leave with key person if in difficulty, I man the front door myself and have several times stopped a child getting out, it's a nightmare situation but it sounds as though you have dealt very well with it all.

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Thanks so much everyone, I have been extremely unprofessional and bursting into tears on the phone to ofsted and to my staff! ...

 

Stop beating yourself up - the tears just show how much you care about your setting, children and parents - that's a good thing in my book.......x

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The same happened to us years ago, little chap walked out at collection time, but nan was still inside, a member of staff heard her calling him and started looking around and a CM saw him standing in the car park. I can still remember the horror we felt, theres nothing can make your heart drop into your boots like a missing child and I think its the 'what if...' that makes it worse. Our imaginations are awful arent they?

All you can do is get your security changes in place and mark it up to experience. Try to have a lovely relaxing weekend and start next week fresher and wiser :1b :1b

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Did want to read and run, but really much more to offer than what others have already said.

Sending hugs (((x))).

It's not a nice thing to happen - but it has, and you have now dealt/dealing with it correctly, and quickly in a professional manner.

Something like this can and does knock your confidence- but try and focus on the positive outcomes too, not just the negatives.

xxx

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They didn't suspend the registration of the group near me, so hold on to that. I think the likeliest thing is inspection, so be prepared. Show that you have everything in place to ensure this can never happen again...........................and make sure everyparent who wants to chat to staff is sent indoors to do it, so that your door staff can keep their eye on what's going on. All will be well x

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Thank you again all.

Is this something I should be telling all parents about? No other parent witnessed it so unless the parent involved tells people - which they have said they won't - then it shouldn't 'get round' but the only other person who heard what Dad had said was a child minder who I don't trust hugely so I am thinking something in the newsletter outlining the basics, including what we have put in place etc?

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Poor you, what a horrendous situation to find yourself in, but I know how easily this can happen. Sounds like you have done everything since the event, that you could possibly do. A similar situation happened to us years ago. We had been outside and head counted everyone to come in, but one slipped away before we got in the door. It was a very short time before we realised and found him at the door waiting to come in. We held our hands up straight away, filled in the complaints folder ourselves and put new procedures into place. I can still remember that awful sick feeling.

Yesterday we were waiting to talk to a parent at drop off time, the staff member in the cloakroom was busy with other parents and all of a sudden the child just walked in on her own!! Mum owes us some money and had allowed the child to enter the building on her own I presume so she did not have to see us. This is just as dangerous as she nearly slipped in unnoticed. I despair, I really do.

Anyway you have done all you can, so have a glass of wine and try to let it go tonight.

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Yes, absolutely tell the other parents.......it is part of your duty of trust with them, and it gives you the leverage to remind them not to chat at the door............and if Ofsted inspect, they will mention it. better to come from you x

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I know a setting in our area recently left a child in the garden unattended. Not quite the same thing, they informed Ofsted which did trigger an Inspection. However one of the actions that they had not met was to inform parents, so I would definitely do this as soon as possible, highlighting the procedures you have now put in place.:)

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We had a child walk out of our Forest School area and come to the door of our building. I informed Ofsted as it was a serious incident and it did spark an inspection for which we received an inadequate for a totally unrelated reason and then 6 months of hell until we were re-inspected to Good. I can totally sympathise with how you are feeling, I offered my resignation even though I was not outside when the incident happened. Ofsted were happy with the way we had dealt with the situation, staff disciplined, risk assessments reviewed and new safety measures put into place. I doubted my ability, my staffs ability etc etc but we have come out of it a much stronger team.

Stay positive x

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mrs bat ...all i can say is that there but for the grace of god go any of us! Both of my local primaries have had the issues ....neither informed ofsted ! much to my annoyance but ho humm life goes on! sounds like you've done everything you can....i don't think i would inform the parents but that's probably because of the group i have at the moment....suspect they would stage a sit in in the entrance hall to ensure their children were caged well :blink:

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How does this sound?

12th February 2015

Dear parents,

I am writing to inform you of an unacceptable incident that happened at drop off time (9am) today (12th February 2015) in which one of the children was able leave the hall and follow their parent across the car park.

This is totally unacceptable and all the staff are horrifically upset with the failure of our drop off system.

It is with this in mind that we have put in place additional protocols to ensure the safety of your children, these are:

One member of staff will stand at the internal door as usual to welcome the children and parents but now one member of staff will also stand by the external door to let parents in and out to double the security. Another member of staff will also be ‘floating’ inside the room for parents to speak to away from the door, this member of staff will also be the lady to see if you need to complete and medication or existing injury forms.

To help us ensure the safety of all children please can I ask that you ensure your child is brought fully in to the main hall and settled within the registration circle – if they do not settle or prefer to stand etc please make sure you 'hand over' your child to a member of staff. If you need to speak to a member of staff please do this away from the door so that the member of staff manning the door can concentrate on making sure no children leave unaccompanied.

I have reported this incident to OFSTED myself and we are currently awaiting notice of any action to be taken – unfortunately this is almost definitely going to spark an inspection in which our grade is likely to be moved down from our current ‘GOOD’ grade. We are all so so devastated that this could have happened and the thought of letting any of you down when you have always supported us in so many ways and all we can do is apologise and PROMISE to ensure this never happens again.

If you have any questions or queries please speak to a member of staff

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Also should I send the letter out tomorrow or after half term? If I send it tomorrow it will be a week before I can let other parents know, whereas if I wait until after half term all parents will know within the space of 2 days...........

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mrs Bat, I can tell from the tone of your message how upset you are - but personally I wouldn't use either of the 'unacceptables' let parents make their own minds up about that, don't be too negative but if I went with one of them it would be the second mention. I would also make parents aware of their responsilities a little bit more strongly so they are supportive of you all, so something like Parents can support our new procedures by ensuring that their child is settled with........ before they leave and not to distract members of staff or congregate at the entrances/exits but to come into the hall. (Some of my parents like nothing more than to chatter by the doors, quite infuriates me! - that will stop from now on in my own setting).

 

Just my thoughts - what you have already I am sure will get your points across.

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Personally I send it out tomorrow to those who you can and for those who you don't see could you email it?

Lots of supportive advice above, you'll get through it.

Really feel for you but this has made me think about our drop off procedures to - if i put another extra member of staff on our outside door i wouldn't have enough staff within the playroom to be within ratio during the drop off & collection times - is that something else to think about too?

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Personally I send it out tomorrow to those who you can and for those who you don't see could you email it?

Lots of supportive advice above, you'll get through it.

Really feel for you but this has made me think about our drop off procedures to - if i put another extra member of staff on our outside door i wouldn't have enough staff within the playroom to be within ratio during the drop off & collection times - is that something else to think about too?

Thank you :) unfortunately we only have email addresses for about 25% of our parents as they rather paper copies of everything so I really don't know what to do now :(

Luckily for us we always have at least 1 member of staff above ratio so that's one less worry.

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I agree with panda's, comments, and I too would drop the 'unacceptable's

I would also try and keep it short. I would just briefly explain what happened, then explain your new routine/drop off procedure.

I would mention that you have reported it to Osfted- but I wouldn't add the bit about dropping grades etc as to me it sounds a bit 'ranty' (I don't mean that in a rude way).

xxxx

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Personally I send it out tomorrow to those who you can and for those who you don't see could you email it?

Lots of supportive advice above, you'll get through it.

Really feel for you but this has made me think about our drop off procedures to - if i put another extra member of staff on our outside door i wouldn't have enough staff within the playroom to be within ratio during the drop off & collection times - is that something else to think about too?

I imagine we will all being having a look at our own procedures tomorrow......

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Firstly I want to say how brave you are for even sharing this with us , you have all of our sympathy and support. Remember that even with policies and procedures in place things can happen and it's when we reflect on what we can do better . The child is safe , the staff member is also distressed , the parents so far have been understanding and we can only learn from our mistakes albeit we wish they never happened in the first instance.

 

Xx

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We operate from a village hall , once risk assessment is completed parents are given access to corridor , once 9am comes member of staff opens hall doors and then stands at front door to ensure children do not leave , alarms are then set on door.

 

We do self registration and free play , children become quickly absorbed in play which makes transition easier. All other staff are in room to welcome children and parents . We keep front doors pulled to so any possible escapes are unable to get out and if one door is open because of comings and goings I will put my leg across. If a parent needs to speak we close doors and speak .

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