Mum's anger as boy, 5, walks home from school

A mum has spoken of her horror after her five-year-old son turned up on the doorstep after wandering out of school and walking a mile home.

James Hore

A mum has spoken of her horror after her five-year-old son turned up on the doorstep after wandering out of school and walking a mile home.

Sherry Kelsey-Clinch's son, Lewis, walked out of the school gates at lunchtime and arrived home before she had been told he was missing.

The youngster walked across several busy roads, through a play area, and over a busy roundabout after leaving Barnes Farm Infant School in Chelmer Village, near Chelmsford.

Now his mum is calling for the gates at the school to be kept locked while the children are inside.

The 33-year-old said: “It doesn't bear thinking about what could have happened to him.

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“I am horrified but the worst bit is I had no phone call [from the school].Nobody rang to say he was missing.

“When I spoke to them they said it was all hands on deck looking for him but it only takes one person to pick up the phone and I could have been looking at my end.

“Lewis has no road sense - he has not done his road safety walk, I believe that is happening this week. I always walk him to and from school.

“Anyone could have grabbed him and we wouldn't know because we didn't know he was missing.”

Mrs Kelsey-Clinch, a full-time mum to Lewis and his two older sisters, said: “He was happy. I asked him what he was doing home and he shrugged his shoulders and said, 'I was hungry'.

“Mrs Kelsey-Clinch, who lives with husband Darren, 31, said the school is surrounded by a 3ft fence and gate, but anyone can enter.

She said: “I said to one of the teachers, I can't believe the gates are not locked and she said, 'we are not a prison'.

“If a little boy can walk out without anyone noticing, anyone can walk in and take a child.

“I don't see why we have to wait until there's a tragedy before anything is done. Anyone can jump over the fence.

“They can't assume they are safe. I want better security measures.”

Mrs Kelsey-Clinch is organising a petition to improve security measures, including locking the gates at the 200-pupil school after the incident last week.

However, headteacher Mary Horsted said the school took pupil safety seriously.

She said: “This school takes its safeguarding procedures very seriously to ensure the safety of all the pupils and staff.

“Following a serious incident the school is reviewing all procedures to minimise the risk of a recurrence.

“The pupil is safely back in school as usual and the school and the family are working together.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk