Parents speak out after daughter left in hotel while on school trip

Education news.
Education news.

Parents of a Skegness Grammar School student have spoken out after their daughter and a friend were mistakenly left alone in a hotel on a trip to Normandy.

Mum Debbie Sutton said she was panic stricken to receive a text from her distressed daughter Kirstie Mitchell saying, ‘Mum I’ve been left - they have gone out and we’ve been left’.

Headteacher Simon Sprague told the Skegness Standard: “I completely acknowledge that in this case we did not meet the high standards of care that we demand.

“As well as dealing with the staff members concerned in an appropriate fashion, we have also fully reviewed all our policies and procedures so we can act on the lessons learnt.”

However, more than six months later Mrs Sutton and her partner, Mark Mitchell, say they are still not satisfied with how the school dealt with the matter.

Mrs Sutton said horrific thoughts flashed through her mind when she received the text. She said: “Kirstie was only 11 years old. The teachers were supposed to be looking after her.

“They had only got there that night and the girls went up to their room to unpack. When they came down there was no-one there and that is when Kirstie text me.

“It was in June and Normandy was busy. What if a stranger came off the streets and claimed to know where the others were?

“Kirstie was so upset and scared she says she will never go on another school trip.”

Since the incident, Mr Mitchell said they had ‘gone through all the right channels’ with their complaint, including speaking to the headteacher, writing to the governors, contacting Patricia Bradwell in children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council, informing Ofsted and writing to education secretary Nicky Morgan.

Mr Mitchell said: “We still haven’t had a direct apology or satisfactory information about what action was taken.

”We just don’t feel our concerns have been taken seriously enough. We’ve nowhere else to go - only to let other parents to know what happened.”

The full statement from headteacher Mr Sprague reads: “During a French trip to Normandy last summer, two students were inadvertently left together while the rest of the group set off for a short walk in the immediate vicinity of their hotel.

“While the students were left for less than 10 minutes in total, I completely acknowledge that in this case we did not meet the high standards of care that we demand.

“After a full investigation, it is clear that this incident occurred due to an unfortunate series of events and collective lack of communication.

“As well as dealing with the staff members concerned in an appropriate fashion, we have also fully reviewed all our policies and procedures so we can act on the lessons learnt.

“To date we have already ensured all staff receive increased and updated staff training, reviewed and updated policies, brought in an enhanced checklist and all trip leaders are now interviewed by a member of the school’s leadership team before departing.

“I have every confidence in saying that something like this should never happen again.

“It should also be noted that we have been working with the parents in question to reassure them that the appropriate actions and responses have been taken.

“One parent has also met with myself, and been in regular dialogue with the school’s chair of governors, a former headmaster himself, who has reviewed the school’s response to this incident in full.

“The Education Funding Agency have also reviewed our response and are comfortable with the steps we have taken in ensuring that this remains a deeply regrettable, but one-off, event.”