A COUPLE feared the worst after being told their eight-year-old daughter had gone missing from school.
But having been turned into ‘quivering wrecks’ by the news, the parents were left fuming when they discovered the call had been made by a school their daughter does not even attend.
Katey Carter, of Richmond Road, Gosport, got a call at about 11am from a staff member who did not name the school they were calling from asking why her daughter Lily was not in class.
Lily is a Year 4 pupil at Leesland Junior School.
Katey said: ‘They asked me if I took her to school and I said “yes, I dropped her off at the gate myself”.’
After staff failed to find Lily they called Katey back around 10 minutes later.
‘They told me “We’re very sorry, but it seems your daughter’s missing”,’ said Katey.
‘You read stories about cars and vans going around in our area taking children from schools, so that just entered my mind and I really panicked.’
Katey rushed off on foot around the corner to Leesland Junior School, but staff there didn’t know about Lily’s supposed disappearance and did their best to calm down the distressed mum.
They even fetched Lily so her mum could see that she was safe and sound.
Katey said: ‘She came out with a look on her face like “what’s going on?”
‘I said “mummy loves you very much” and I gave her a big cuddle.
‘There were so many things going through my head that I just didn’t know what to do with myself.’
‘I think I was more in shock than anything else. I was shaking just from the relief that she was okay.’
The phone at the Carter’s house then rang a third time and it was answered by Lily’s dad, Rae Carter.
He said: ‘They told me “I’m very sorry, I think I’ve made a mistake”.’
Rae said he then found out the calls were coming from another Gosport school, St John’s. He was told there was a pupil at St John’s who shared his daughter’s name.
That child was apparently absent from school and St John’s called Katey and Rae Carter by mistake.
Rae said he was ‘absolutely dumbfounded’ by the mix-up.
‘Why would they even have our contact details on record in the first place?’ he said.
‘It was absolutely awful. It caused us both quite a lot of emotional distress.
‘It was absolutely awful, I needed a few hours just to calm myself down.
‘I had to take those hours off work because I was a quivering wreck. I don’t think they understand the stress we have been put through.’
St John’s headteacher Joy Squibb could not explain why her school had Katey and Rae Carter’s number on record.
‘I fully understand the distress they must have felt,’ she said.
‘We are treating this seriously and I am investigating the matter.’