Mum's anguish as four-year-old goes missing from nursery near Horsham

A mother has told of her anguish after her four-year-old son went missing from his nursery near Horsham.
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Sam Kenyon says her son Johnnie and another child wandered unnoticed out of the main door of Bright Horizons Nursery in Wickhurst Lane, Broadbridge Heath.

The four-year-old was later found near a local Co-op. “My son could have been killed,” said Sam.

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She said the shop where he was found was a two or three minute walk from the nursery and that “he would have had to walk upstairs and along next to a carpark to get to the Co-op.”

Mum Sam Kenyon and son Johnnie, 4, who went missing from his nursery near HorshamMum Sam Kenyon and son Johnnie, 4, who went missing from his nursery near Horsham
Mum Sam Kenyon and son Johnnie, 4, who went missing from his nursery near Horsham

But, she said, she did not know for how long he had been missing. “This has caused me so much distress in the thought of what could have happened.”

She says the first she knew of the incident was when she went to collect Johnnie at 6.30pm that day.

"I did not receive a phone call at the time,” she said.

She complained to the nursery’s regional director. “I was told I was going to get a full report on how this was able to happen and to this day I'm still waiting.”

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She said Johnnie, who had been at the nursery for around 10 months previously, had not returned since the incident happened on July 29.

Bright Horizons Nursery officially opened in new purpose-built premises in Wickhurst Lane in September last year and has since been rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ following its first Ofsted inspection.

Ofsted investigated Johnnie’s disappearance after it was made aware of what happened but said later it had not felt it needed to take any action because the nursery had tightened security measures.

A spokesperson for Bright Horizons Nursery said: “Whilst we are relieved that the child returned safely shortly after leaving the nursery, this was obviously an alarming incident for everyone involved.

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"The safety and wellbeing of children in our care is our number one priority at all times, and we reviewed our safety practices as a matter of urgency.

"This included robust and detailed changes to the building’s security, procedures within our nursery, and ongoing checks to ensure all the lessons from this incident remain embedded.

“As soon as this event occurred, we self-reported it to the local authority and to Ofsted who were satisfied with the measures we took.

"Once again, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to the child's family.”

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Ofsted said that they had carried out an investigation into what happened but felt that it did not need to take any action itself.

It said in a report: “We found that the provider had not met some of the requirements relating to the supervision of children and the security of the premises.

"We were satisfied that the provider had taken action to address this by undertaking a thorough risk assessment, making physical changes to the premises to increase the security, and improving the supervision of children during parent collection times.

"We therefore did not need to take any action ourselves.”

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