School safety procedures have come under scrutiny after a four-year-old kindergarten boy slipped unnoticed out of a northern suburbs primary school this week and wandered down a main road.
The boy managed to unbolt one gate and walked through another open gate at Poseidon Primary School on Tuesday because he wanted to take a drawing home to show his mother.
The child's mother told 6PR radio that two men who noticed the boy walking alone on busy Prince Regent Drive, Heathridge, alerted a nearby daycare centre when the child refused to get into their car.
A woman from the daycare centre walked the child back to his school where no one had noticed his absence.
The child's mother said she was concerned that she was not told he had gone missing until after she arrived to pick him up - but she was pleased the school had taken steps to stop such an incident occurring again.
Poseidon principal Peter Blackford said the mother was told what had happened as soon as she arrived to pick up her son which was about 15 minutes after he had been returned.
An investigation found the child left the school grounds between 1.50pm and 2pm and was away for between 15 and 30 minutes.
The school had immediately installed self-closing gates and was reviewing the way staff monitored children. It was also considering a "buddy" system so children could alert their teacher if they noticed another student was missing.
"I have apologised personally to the mother and expressed how deeply we regret this one-off incident which should never have happened," Mr Blackford said.
"While very relieved the child was safe, the two supervising staff members are absolutely distraught he escaped their attention at a time when a number of different learning activities were taking place."
Education Department early childhood acting executive director, Garry Hewitt, said that many schools used a combination of fences and locked gates to manage the safety of young students.
Instances where small children had managed to slip away from supervision at a school were "very rare", he said."Thankfully, when children do manage to evade staff, they are usually found very quickly, unharmed and not far from the school," Mr Hewitt said.
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