A mum from Southend has been branded as ‘incredibly irresponsible’ after she decided to pay two older children at her son’s school to act as BODYGUARDS for her 6-year-old son in the playground. Shortly after Joshua Nuggett started at Kursaal Heights Primary Academy, it emerged that Joshua’s mum Natalie, 34, approached two Year 6 pupils (we are not allowed to name them for legal reasons) and offered them £35 per week to stand with Joshua at all times during break and lunch time – extra payments were offered for ‘protection’ during one-off events and school trips.

According to Natalie, she feels that her decision was worthwhile. She said: ‘I knew that Joshua was going to find it tough to go from an independent prep school to a mainstream one, and so I bought him a few little comfort items to ease his transition – these included Clarks’ shoes, a nice Arsenal pencil case and an iPad Pro. However, I was aware that a number of children at the school may have tried to take these from him in the playground, and so I did what any other responsible mother would have done. I found the two biggest Year 6 boys in the school, and they were both delighted to accept my proposal.’

She added: ‘In the whole time that his two minders have been standing with him, there hasn’t been a single incident of bullying – this is a clear sign that my actions are justified. The recession has hit a few of my friends really hard as well, and so when we make the tough decision to remove our children from fee-paying schools it is comforting to know that they can remain safe for a relatively small cost. It also teaches these boys about business, and I am pleased to say that the two individuals are now in a similar arrangement with a number of other parents at the school.’

We asked the management team at Kursaal Heights Primary Academy for their reaction to this story, and their headteacher Margaret Gaultieri said: ‘We are aware of a relatively number of small parents who have approached some of our Year 6 pupils, and while we are powerless to stop these business arrangements, we are monitoring the situation closely. It has come to our attention that the pupils running this operation have now started to contact new parents directly to warn them about the dangers in our school playground, and we would encourage them to shop around and get the best possible deal.’