Police have revealed a North Staffordshire school went into lockdown amid fears a knifeman was nearby.
Pupils at The Kidsgrove Secondary School were on their lunch break when a caller claimed there was a man with a knife this afternoon (March 3).
All the students were immediately sent back inside, while police and senior staff then searched the Gloucester Road site.
After no-one was found, the children resumed their classes and were allowed out as normal at 3.05pm.
Any child who felt unsafe was given the option of being escorted home by a member of staff.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Officers received a report of a man with a knife near The Kidsgrove Secondary School at around 12.30pm today.
“Officers attended the scene and conducted an area search which proved negative.”
The school, which is sponsored by the Shaw Education Trust, sent a text alert to parents an hour-and-a-half later to reassure them that the incident was a hoax.
A school spokesman said: “The lockdown procedure was implemented following a phone call claiming there was an individual with a knife on the premises of a Kidsgrove high school.
“Staff members acted swiftly, ensuring that all students were safely in the school hall and accounted for, while school leaders worked closely with the police to confirm the school site was secure and clear of any threat.
“Police believe the call to have been a hoax. However, to further ensure the safety of students, staff members escorted them off the school site at the end of the day and students could also request to be escorted home.
“All parents/carers have been informed of the incident and are able to contact the school directly to discuss the matter further.”
However, parents have hit out at a lack of information from the school regarding the incident after rumours emerged on social media that the school had gone into lockdown.
Mum Claire Salt had repeatedly tried to call the school after receiving a message from her son who attends Newcastle College to say it was in lockdown.
The 43-year-old, of Kidsgrove, whose daughter is in Year 11, said: “I’ve been in contact with a few parents who aren’t very happy with how it was handled.
“It may have been something and nothing in the end but it’s the not knowing that was the worse.
“Some other parents had managed to get through and they weren’t willing to comment.”
Headteacher Karen Mitchell added: “The safety of our students is our utmost priority and I must commend our staff and students for the excellent manner in which the lockdown procedure was followed.
“We appreciate that this incident may have caused anxiety for parents; however, our main priority at the time was ensuring the wellbeing of our students and that the procedure was effectively implemented.”