School apologises after five-year-old pupil, who left class unnoticed, found wandering in the street

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A school in Warwickshire has apologised after a five-year-old pupil escaped unnoticed

Parents were left enraged after discovering their five-year-old son wandering outside school, having slipped away unnoticed. Carlos Martinez-Thompson, 41, and his partner Cheryl Smith, 40, said they were terrified at the thought of what could have happened to their son Jaxon Martinez-Smith if they hadn't coincidentally encountered him.

Jaxon, who has autism, left his classroom at Stockingford Academy in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, around 2.50pm on January 26. He managed to pass through multiple gates and reach the road, where his parents spotted him as they were on their way to the school to collect a letter. The school, recently rated 'good' by Ofsted, has issued an apology.

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Carlos, a stay-at-home dad who loads lorries in the evenings, said: "We couldn't believe it. My blood was boiling and Cheryl was in bits. This could have gone very differently. We could be appealing for someone to give him back or arranging a funeral. It's a lucky, one-in-a-million chance that we found him. You're supposed to be able to leave your children in school and know that they are safe."

According to Carlos, the class had been making treasure maps and Jaxon had left school on a hunt. Due to the incident, the couple, who have 10 children between them, have since found a new school for him and one of his older half-brothers.

Parents Carlos Martinez Thompson and Cheryl Smith with their autistic son five year old Jaxon Martinez-Smith who escaped from Stockingord Academy School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Picture: Anita Maric / SWNSParents Carlos Martinez Thompson and Cheryl Smith with their autistic son five year old Jaxon Martinez-Smith who escaped from Stockingord Academy School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS
Parents Carlos Martinez Thompson and Cheryl Smith with their autistic son five year old Jaxon Martinez-Smith who escaped from Stockingord Academy School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Picture: Anita Maric / SWNS

He said: "Jaxon was at risk. He wouldn't understand the dangers or that he wasn't supposed to leave school. We collect him from the other side of the school, so he wouldn't have found anyone who knows him.

"We couldn't believe it when we saw him. I just ran to him - I couldn't let him go. I was so shocked. If this was flipped round and we had lost him you can be sure all the authorities would be involved. But it feels like the school aren't answerable to anyone. How can they get a 'good' Ofsted rating? We're disgusted and fearful for other people's children."

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Mum Cheryl, who works as a nursery teacher said, none of the teachers knew he was missing. She added: "All we get told is that nothing needs to be done because Jaxon is fine. But that's not the point. We're so appalled that they are just getting away with this."

Parents Carlos Martinez Thompson and Cheryl Smith with their autistic son five year old Jaxon Martinez-Smith who escaped from Stockingord Academy School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Parents Carlos Martinez Thompson and Cheryl Smith with their autistic son five year old Jaxon Martinez-Smith who escaped from Stockingord Academy School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
Parents Carlos Martinez Thompson and Cheryl Smith with their autistic son five year old Jaxon Martinez-Smith who escaped from Stockingord Academy School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Stockingford Academy said: "Stockingford Academy is issuing this press release to inform the community about an incident involving a Year 1 pupil who briefly left the school premises unaccompanied on 26th January 2024. At approximately 3pm, when the site had been unlocked for adults to collect their pupils, the school became aware that a Year 1 student had left the school site without supervision.

"Immediate action was taken to locate the child and ensure their safety. Within minutes, the pupil was safely returned to the school, with his parents, unharmed. The child had previously left his classroom earlier in the day whilst the site was secure and was returned by a member of staff.

"The safety and well-being of our pupils is our top priority, and we take any incident involving a pupil's unaccompanied departure very seriously. The school has conducted a thorough internal investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. We have identified areas for improvement in our security protocols and have taken swift action to address them.

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It added: "We sincerely apologise for any distress this incident may have caused and appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our school community. We will continue to work collaboratively with parents, staff, and pupils to maintain a secure and nurturing learning environment."

The school said they will continue to enhance their safety measures to prevent similar incidents in the future, including increased supervision during arrival and dismissal times and reinforcement of school policies regarding pupil and departure.

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