A partially-clothed three-year-old boy was found wandering the streets alone after walking out of his nursery unnoticed.
Little Joseph Kemp managed to escape from the nursery for about 20 minutes, unknown to staff who were supposed to be looking after him.
Joseph, who was wearing just a nappy and a T-shirt, was spotted near to Catmose Nursery, Oakham, Leics., by a woman passerby.
The woman took Joseph to Oakham Police Station after being found on the afternoon of August 5.
Shockingly, Joseph’s parents Mark, 50, and Sheena, 44, only learned their child had left the nursery when they arrived to collect him.
Sheena said she was met by two members of staff who told her the horrific news that Joseph had gone missing.
Speaking yesterday, Sheena, who is unemployed, said: “I went to collect Joseph from nursery on the Friday afternoon and when I arrived there was a police car there.
“I was met by two members of staff who explained he had gone missing.
I don’t know how I managed to stay stood up – my heart was racing. I was in shock.
“They said he’d been found by a lady on Balmoral Road and taken to the police station. He was still there at that time.
“They claimed they had tried to ring me, but I had not received any calls.
“I stayed at the nursery to find out what had happened while my husband went to collect him from the police station.
“I just could not believe he had got out.
“I went home and met Joseph there. It was very emotional.
“He’s not going back to the nursery, he can’t.
“I could never feel comfortable with him there again.
“All sorts of scenarios were going through my head.
“I was picturing all the what ifs and what could have happened. It was horrific.”
Joseph’s dad Mark said he is now seeking an apology from the Rutland and District Schools’ Federation, which runs the nursery.
He said: “I want to know why security measures were not in place, and exactly how long he was out for.
“Fortunately Joseph doesn’t seem affected by what happened because he is so young, but it has really shaken the rest of the family up.”
Mr and Mrs Kemp, who live in Oakham, have five other children aged between seven and 16.
They have since moved Joseph to a new nursery following the serious security breach.
Leicestershire Police confirmed they received a report at 3.45pm on August 5 that a child had been found wandering alone in Oakham.
Officers reunited the child with his father and are not taking any further action.
But after being notified of the incident, Ofsted launched an investigation and staff carried out an unannounced visit to the nursery on August 8.
A report states: “We found that the provider had failed to secure the premises as playground and exterior gates had been left open allowing an unaccompanied child to leave the setting.
“Poor supervision meant that no one had seen the child leave the premises and no -one had noticed that they were missing for a significant period of time.
“As a result we served a welfare requirements notice which required the provider to ensure that children do not leave the premises unsupervised and that they are adequately supervised at all times.”
A follow-up inspection two days later found action had been taken to secure the perimeter.
However, concerns were also expressed that the nursery had failed to correctly implement its missing child policy by not immediately notifying police and the child’s parents that he was missing.
The report adds that risk assessments had not been carried out and the nursery had not notified Ofsted about its temporary change in location – a breach of regulations.
It continues: “Staff had not been deployed effectively at the time of the incident and new staff members had not been supervised during their induction period as set out in the setting’s induction policy.
“Basic care needs had not been met as the child who left the setting unsupervised was only partially clothed.”
Ofsted again visited the nursery on August 22 and found action had been taken to meet the welfare requirements notice previously put in place.
Stuart Williams, executive principal of the Rutland and District Schools’ Federation, said staff were ‘devastated’ by the incident and added that steps had been taken to ensure such an incident could never happen again.
He said: “The Catmose Nursery team were all devastated that a child was able to leave the premises whilst we were temporarily relocated due to a water supply issue during the summer.
“We are all grateful that the child was quickly found safely and have ensured that a similar incident could never happen again.
“We notified Ofsted and have worked closely with them to ensure that their concerns were addressed.
“The nursery is now back at our usual premises and Ofsted are satisfied that we meet the high standards required to continue to provide nursery care.
“We are immensely appreciative of the continued support from our nursery parents.”