Children escaped nursery after being left unsupervised by worker

Marie Gifford was employed as an early years worker between 2019 and 2020 when the incidents occurred.

Scots childcare worker reprimanded after children under five ran away from nursery and playpark iStock

A Scottish childcare worker has been reprimanded after multiple incidents in which children under five were left unsupervised, and as a result fled the nursery.

Marie Gifford was employed as an early years worker at an unknown nursery between 2019 and 2020 when the incidents occurred.

On or around June 14, 2019, she was found by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to have left a fire door unsecured.

As a result, a four-year-old child left the nursery and was later found at a bike shed, which was next to the main road.

Following this incident, on or around March 11, 2020, she left two children – both aged four – unsupervised, which allowed them to leave the school building through an insecure door.

Later the same year, on September 30, she left four children – all under the age of five – unsupervised at a playpark.

The group of children ran away from the park, towards an area which was next to exposed main and side roads.

A hearing of the SSSC found that Gifford had “failed to provide adequate supervision” for children left in her care.

It said: “Your behaviour also breached the trust placed in you by the children’s families, your employer and the SSSC and falls below the standards expected from social service workers.”

It added that this behaviour was not isolated, and instead placed the children at direct risk of harm.

“The behaviour was serious and due to the number and similar nature of the incidents, there is a high risk of it being repeated in the future,” the watchdog said.

As a result, the SSSC has placed a warning on her registration for two years, keeping under consideration that she had cooperated fully with the investigation and an otherwise clear record.