A mum is demanding answers after a school failed to contact police before her son (5) was found wandering half a mile from a Kirkcaldy school.
Primary one pupil Calvin Barker, accompanied by two classmates, went missing from Valley Primary School last week after walking out an unattended open door.
Thankfully, a kind stranger took the children in – but education bosses have been forced to apologise again, just six weeks after a similar breach at a nursery in Glenrothes.
“These children were gone for forty minutes – they could have been picked up and taken to Edinburgh, anywhere, by the time I phoned the police,” said Calvin’s mum, Kimberley Ramsay.
She arrived at the school at 2.10pm on Wednesday to watch a special obstacle event.
“As I was going in the deputy head said ‘I need to speak to you, Calvin’s gone missing and we think he’s hiding with two other children.’
“They said he hadn’t been seen since 1.25pm. I was frantic - I asked them why hadn’t they phoned me or phoned the police? I phoned 999.”
Twenty minutes later police called back to say they were found.
The children had walked the length of Valley Gardens, crossed Hendry Road and a roundabout before they chapped on doors on Wilson Avenue, looking for a toilet.
“A man took them in and gave them juice and a biscuit, and phoned the police,” said Kimberley. “I want to thank him so much. He will never realise how much I appreciate what he did; for doing the right thing. Some men would have been frightened.”
While relieved the children were safe and well, Kimberly was incensed when a school newsletter distributed two days later said the school had phoned police and the children quickly found.
She commented: “No-one from the school has apologised to me. They made it out the children had simply left the school. An isolated incident? I don’t think so.
“I posted a message on Facebook and another parent said that their child had been found outside school grounds on three occasions last week.
“That door was left unattended so anybody could have gotten out - or gotten in. To be told your child is missing is the scariest thing a parent has to hear.”
Jacqueline Price, acting head of Education and Children’s Services, said the children at Valley PS had left school grounds without permission just after lunchtime.
“As soon as the school became aware of this, the school building and grounds were searched, and when they were not found, the police were contacted,” she said. “The children were quickly located in the local area and brought back to school.
“The safety and security of our children is our top priority, and we apologise for any distress caused by this incident.
The school, working with the local authority and Police Scotland, will review supervision arrangements.
She added: “Any lessons learnt from this incident will be shared across all establishments.”
“The headteacher has spoken with all of the parents involved and is working to reassure them, and the school community.”