Teachers hunt streets for runaway pupil Chase

Nikki Wilson with son Chase at the open gate of Gylemuir Primary School. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Nikki Wilson with son Chase at the open gate of Gylemuir Primary School. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A MISSING pupil sparked a hunt by school staff – for a boy named Chase.

The five-year-old went AWOL from Gylemuir Primary School in west Edinburgh, prompting a search of 
surrounding streets.

His mother, Nikki Wilson, said she was “panicking” after being ­informed that her son had run away.

Although Chase was swiftly found and brought back to school, Ms Wilson, 26, a part-time hairdresser, accused staff of complacency over her son’s welfare after he came close to escaping again only two days later.

And she attacked teachers for failing to inform her that Chase was safe after being ­located during the incident last Wednesday.

She said: “I was so frightened because, although my son’s always running out of class, he had never ­disappeared so that they had to go looking for him.”

Ms Wilson said an ­ongoing disagreement with staff had centred on whether a gate which leads to the school’s P1 wing should be kept locked during the school day. She said Gylemuir had previously agreed to keep the gate closed so her son would be contained within the playground if he ­escaped from class, but that the position had changed after the recent arrival of a new headteacher.

Ms Wilson said: “The head has ordered the gate to be kept open. It just seems like she’s not really bothered. I’m pretty disgusted at the way I’ve been treated. The safety arrangements at the school need to be ­improved a lot.”

Ms Wilson’s concerns have been echoed by safety ­campaigners. Roger Bibbings, occupational safety adviser for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “Nurseries and schools have a duty of care for the children in their charge. A basic requirement is to take reasonable measures to ensure children are supervised and not left to get into places of danger.”

Education officials insist 
efforts were made to ­contact Ms Wilson as soon as her son was found and security had been tightened at Gylemuir Primary.

A council spokesman said: “A member of staff kept Chase in sight at all times trying not to alarm him and make sure he was safe for the few minutes he was away.

“The headteacher also came out and he took her hand quite happily so she could walk him back to school.

“As a result of the incident, however, we have now put in place new security measures.”