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Bossingham Pre-School near Canterbury – where girl wandered off site and into road – ordered by Ofsted to improve security

A pre-school where a little girl wandered off the grounds and out into the middle of the road was found to have inadequate security and safeguarding measures.

The alarm was raised by a postwoman while out on her rounds who spotted the child hundreds of yards from the site and feared she could have easily been knocked down by a car or abducted.

Bossingham Pre-School is based behind Stelling Minnis C Of E Primary School
Bossingham Pre-School is based behind Stelling Minnis C Of E Primary School

The incident happened at Bossingham Pre-School near Canterbury in June which led to the girl’s parents reporting it to Ofsted and immediately removing her from the nursery.

The regulator says it received a complaint on June 12 – the same day of the incident. Although the watchdog would not confirm this was the reason for its visit, inspectors attended four days later.

As a result, Ofsted has now served a “welfare requirements notice” on the school.

Among other things, it tells school managers to improve the deployment of staff “to make sure that children are appropriately supervised at all times and to take steps to ensure that risks to children’s safety are identified, removed or minimised, in particular, while playing outdoors”.

Leaders were also told to provide “effective supervision, support and learning” to managers and staff and ensure they have “secure knowledge and understanding of safeguarding policy and practice”.

Bossingham Road where the toddler was found standing
Bossingham Road where the toddler was found standing

The pre-school was initially required to implement the measures and meet the requirements by June 27. But a follow-up visit found not all of those had been achieved and a new deadline was set with some additional improvements.

These related to staff training, child behaviour management strategies and risk assessment and the cleanliness of food preparation areas.

Ofsted set a new deadline for compliance which had been met when inspectors revisited on July 18.

The little girl was discovered in the road by postie Leanne Porter while out in her van, who rushed to scoop her up and away from danger.

Ms Porter, 39, told KentOnline that an approaching car may not have seen the child as she was standing “as stiff as a board” on the corner of Bossingham Road.

Postie Leanne Porter who found the toddler
Postie Leanne Porter who found the toddler

The drama unfolded after she arrived in the village on the morning of June 12.

“I jumped out of my van and shouted at the child to get out of the road,” Ms Porter said.

“But she was just a toddler around two years old and didn’t know what to do or what we were saying.

“I sprinted from my van running down the middle of the road and grabbed her and checked she was ok and she just smiled at me.”

The girl was wearing a Bossingham Pre-School uniform so Ms Porter took her inside the nearby nursery, which is based behind Stelling Minnis CoE Primary School.

“The little girl could’ve been run over, or picked up by someone who wasn’t a nice person...”

She asked a group of women at the pre-school if the child was in their care and a manager came to the door.

She checked and confirmed the child had been checked into the nursery at 9.05am that day.

“The little girl could’ve been run over, or picked up by someone who wasn’t a nice person,” said Ms Porter.

“She could’ve been abducted or ended up wandering off into the woods.”

Ofsted says it “doesn’t investigate specific incidents but will take a range of factors into consideration when deciding to carry out a regulatory visit”.

Bossingham Pre-School’s website displays a “good” Ofsted rating on its website but there is no mention of the latest regulatory inspection findings.

The pre-school did not respond to requests for comment from KentOnline.

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