Boy, 3, escapes nursery and found standing in middle of busy Staffordshire road

  • CCTV pictures show the little boy running down the pavement and into the middle of a busy road.

  • Pictures from BPM

A three-year-old boy was found standing in the middle of a busy road after escaping from nursery staff.

James Maguire managed to get out of the nursery playground via a broken fence post and ran into Stone town centre in Staffordshire on 16 May.

CCTV footage shows James standing in the middle of a crossing on the busy A520 for more than 20 seconds before then running further onto the town's high street.

James was retrieved by staff from the Elmhurst House Day Nursery, which has described the incident as “its responsibility and its failure."

James' mum Fiona, said "it’s pure luck that this didn’t end in a tragedy."

The 46-year-old NHS worker said James, who is non-verbal, "needs extra attention, and for them to not even notice he was gone is just heartbreaking."

James, three, with his mum Fiona Maguire Credit: BPM

A statement from the nursery said they "were all deeply relieved" the boy wasn't harmed. They said "no such event has ever occurred at the nursery before and, following an immediate investigation, we have taken urgent steps to ensure that this could never happen again.”

Ofsted has investigated and the nursery said it has taken all the actions demanded of it. Since the incident, the family has been in touch with the police, Staffordshire County Council and Ofsted.Mark Sutton, the county council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said the authority’s designated officer had been "liaising with Ofsted on their investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

"The safety and welfare of our children and young people is paramount to this council and this was clearly a very upsetting incident for the family."

CCTV captured the moment James ran down Station Road in Stone before standing in the middle of the A520 Newcastle Road Credit: BPM

Ofsted said the nursery "had taken action to mitigate the incident reoccurring"It added: "However, we found that the provider was not meeting some of the requirements. We have served a welfare requirements notice. This is a legal notice that requires the provider to take the actions below within the timescales set out."

Ofsted said the nursery needed to:

  • improve risk assessment arrangements and staff knowledge of this to ensure that children are kept safe from harm

  • ensure that staff are deployed well enough to supervise children effectively

  • adhere to ratio and staffing qualification requirements at all times

  • ensure all children are given a key person and this information is shared with parents or carers when their child first starts attending.

Elmhurst Nursery in Stone says it accepts "its responsibility and its failure” in the incident. Credit: BPM

Elmhurst was given until 1 June to implement the changes. Ofsted has since said: “On 6 June, we carried out a further monitoring visit and found that the provider has responded to the actions set.Mrs Maguire added: "There were failures in the care and safeguarding of my son, and this could easily have ended in the most appalling tragedy."

The nursery said its team was "shocked and distressed when one of the children in our care managed to escape briefly from our nursery playground."

The statement added: “We were all deeply relieved that no harm came to the child. No such event has ever occurred at the nursery before and, following an immediate investigation, we have taken urgent steps to ensure that this could never happen again."