Norfolk schoolboy, 4, mistakenly put on bus and dropped alone in village

Freethorpe Primary school pupil Arthur Nichols (4) was meant to be at an after school club but was p

Freethorpe Primary school pupil Arthur Nichols (4) was meant to be at an after school club but was put on a bus home and left abandoned outside his home in Tunstall after a mix up at school.He was found crying by a neighbour who took him back to school as his parents were at work until 5pm.Pictured with his mother Jessica Flowerdew.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A primary school has apologised after a four-year-old boy was left alone at the roadside in a remote Norfolk village.

Freethorpe Primary school pupil Arthur Nichols (4) was meant to be at an after school club but was p

Freethorpe Primary school pupil Arthur Nichols (4) was meant to be at an after school club but was put on a bus home and left abandoned outside his home in Tunstall after a mix up at school.He was found crying by a neighbour who took him back to school as his parents were at work until 5pm.Pictured with his mother Jessica Flowerdew.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Little Arthur Nichols was supposed to stay at the after school club at Freethorpe Primary until his parents finished work, but was sent home early after staff blundered.

The youngster was ushered onto a bus at the end of the school day and dropped off in Tunstall, near Halvergate, on his own.

A neighbour found him crying outside his empty home and returned him to school, and his mother said the experience was 'frightening' for her son.

'We've just moved here,' said mum Jessica Flowerdew, 32. 'It's right in the sticks, so you get fast-moving tractors and there's a pond over the road.

Freethorpe Primary school pupil Arthur Nichols (4) was meant to be at an after school club but was p

Freethorpe Primary school pupil Arthur Nichols (4) was meant to be at an after school club but was put on a bus home and left abandoned outside his home in Tunstall after a mix up at school.He was found crying by a neighbour who took him back to school as his parents were at work until 5pm.Pictured with his mother Jessica Flowerdew.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass


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'Anything could have happened and the school is so nonchalant about it.

'Yes, nothing happened to him, but it would have been a serious safeguarding incident if it had.'

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Miss Flowerdew works at a children's centre in Great Yarmouth, and had arranged for her son to stay on at the after school club until she could pick him up.

The main school day finishes at 3.30pm and the after school club runs until 5.30pm, but after a mix-up Arthur was put on a bus to go home at 3.30pm.

He was taken back to school by a neighbour, who also has a child at the school, and Miss Flowerdew claims she only discovered what happened when she noticed her son did not have his school bag with him.

'I don't know how long he was on his own for,' she said. 'I got to the club at 4.50pm and he was meant to be there but he had only just got back.

'I said to Arthur 'where's your bag' - I found out from my son that he had been on the bus.

'As soon as he said to me, the head teacher came through and spoke to me.'

It happened last Thursday, October 1 and Miss Flowerdew said she had lost trust in the school.

'I've come to rely on friends and family,' said the mother-of-two. 'I don't want to leave him at the after school club as I'm not 100 per cent sure he's safe.

'I don't want to take him out of the school as he's made friends but it does make me anxious.

'It's horrible and really stressful, and I can't think about anything else.'

Miss Flowerdew, who lives with her partner Rowan Nichols, a conservation worker, said she wanted reassurances that it could not happen again, and to see an incident report.

Kelvyn Read, chairman of governors at Freethorpe Community Primary School, said: 'The headteacher and I are responsible for keeping our pupils safe, and it's a responsibility we take very seriously indeed.

'The safety of our pupils is always at the forefront of our minds, and we feel very sad that this has happened at our school, and very sorry - I can only imagine how distressing it must have been for the child and his parents.

'I want to reassure everybody that we will find out exactly what occurred: our investigation into this incident started immediately – on the afternoon it happened – and continues into this week so we can be sure of exactly what went wrong, and what needs to change to our end of school arrangements, including the way we receive, record and share information from parents concerning where their child needs to be after school, in order that we can make sure this cannot happen again.'

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