Walthamstow nursery suspended by Ofsted after child goes missing

An ‘outstanding’ nursery in Walthamstow has been suspended by Ofsted after a three-year-old boy went missing.

The boy’s mother said he was found on his own in Lloyd Park after leaving the Lloyd Park Children’s Centre through an open gate.

She said she arrived to collect him from the centre’s Grow Wild programme on April 22 to find him in the arms of a police officer and was told he went missing for “at least half an hour”.

Lloyd Park Children’s Charity, which runs the centre, was told by Ofsted in February to ensure that children are “always within sight or hearing” of staff after a separate incident.

The boy’s mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said she still struggled to speak about the incident without crying and that it would be “very difficult” to trust the nursery again.

She said: “I really hope they’ll learn from their mistake because it should be all about the safety of the children there and I was trusting them to look after my son and keep him safe.

“(The police) told me that my son managed to get out of the nursery because the gate wasn’t locked and they found him in the sandpit playing by himself.

“He was missing for at least half an hour without anyone knowing, they never realised he was missing until police brought him back to them.

“I heard another mum saying that this happened before and she won’t bring her child back to this nursery again.”

The three-year-old was found by a stranger, who started to worry when no one went to him after he began crying, and was then looked after by park rangers until police arrived.

A police spokesperson confirmed they were called to the park at around 11am to “an unaccompanied child”, adding that “no criminal offences were established”.

The boy’s mother added that, the day before her son went missing, his dad picked him up and was concerned to find him “all by himself on a ramp crying his eyes out”.

She said: “They told his dad in a really rude way that the kids are allowed to explore and the next day this happened.”

A spokesperson for Ofsted confirmed today that the nursery “has been suspended” but said they “cannot provide further details while we investigate the matter”.

A notice on the charity’s website states: “It is unfortunate that we need to report that Grow Wild will remain closed.

“We hope to open Grow Wild in the near future and look forward to welcoming you back. Thank you for your cooperation.”

A spokesperson for the charity said they “cannot release any information” at this stage “due to the investigation”.

The Lloyd Park Centre holds Ofsted’s highest possible ‘outstanding’ rating after its most recent inspection in 2018.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter