A five year-old boy wandered out of a primary school and was missing for nearly an hour without teachers realising he was gone.
Little Rico Sangha walked out of the playground after the lunchtime break at the school on a busy city centre road.
He wandered more than a mile, crossing main roads and visiting a park where he had a go on the slides, before trying to get into his home.
When he found it locked he turned up at his grandparents’ home two streets away visibly upset and they called his mother Monica.
She phoned the school in panic to check what had happened – and realised that teachers were unaware he had been missing for up to 50 minutes.
CCTV showed the youngster casually walking out of the playground shortly after 1pm – around the time he should have been queuing up to return to class.
Angry Monica, 28, is now refusing to return Rico to the Dolphin School in Monteplier, Bristol, where he started in September.
The single parent said the incident was the worst experience of her life and she could not understand how is happened.
The first she heard of it was when Rico’s shocked uncle contacted her saying her shaken son was at his grandparents’ house.
She said: “When I first saw him, he was really quiet. It was obvious that he had been crying. He just said ‘hello mummy’.
“I think he thought he was in trouble to be honest, and my heart just broke and I started crying.
“I gave him a big hug and told him everything was okay.
“It is honestly every parent’s worst nightmare. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through it – just the fear.”
Monica said when she rang the school she claims teachers did not know he was missing and she marched straight down demanding answers.
She added: “They were apologetic and said they were going to investigate how this could have happened.
“They said they would offer us support and would welcome Rico back if he wanted.
“But for me there are no excuses, I am just so angry as to how this could have happened in the first place.
“There is no way that I would send him back to that school and I want to escalate this complaint to the highest level.
“I’ve lost my faith and confidence and trust in the school and they have breached safeguarding policies.”
A spokesman for the school, run by the CGS Trust, said: “On Tuesday afternoon a child left The Dolphin School premises unsupervised. The child is safe and well.
“An internal investigation in underway to identify the issues that allowed this incident to occur.
“We have already put in place further risk assessments to ensure that our children are kept secure, including plans to upgrade the perimeter fencing as soon as possible.
“We take the safeguarding of children extremely seriously and policies are regularly reviewed to ensure that children are kept safe at all times.
“Alongside increased security, all staff will be required to attend additional safeguarding training, above and beyond the regulatory standards.”