A PRIMARY school has warned parents a man has been seen acting suspiciously outside the front gates.

The Sacred Heart School, in Windermere Road, Southend, shared the guidance with parents yesterday morning.

In a letter, seen by the Echo, the school said the man was spotted outside the gates of the Early Years and Foundation Stage outdoor area – where the school’s youngest pupils play.

Headteacher Sally Nutman said: “On Friday, we received a report from a member of the public that they had witnessed an adult male loitering outside our EYFS outdoor area.

“Those reporting the incident felt the individual was looking into the school and acting suspiciously.

“A member of staff took prompt action by going outside to investigate, by which time the individual had moved on.

“It has not been possible to ascertain the intentions of the individual involved or whether he posed a risk to the children.”

The incident was reported to Essex Police and the school has taken steps to remind pupils how to keep safe and reassure parents.

Mrs Nutman added: “Pupils are always supervised on the playground at break and lunchtime.

“Staff are always vigilant for any incident that may occur.

“The screening and planting ensures the site is protected from Southchurch Road – where this is not the case, staff are always on the alert for any interaction from passers-by. They will step in immediately when necessary – so far this has been a very rare occurrence.

“The fencing and gates are always locked.

“Similarly on Windermere Road, the site is always secured and when the gates are open, they are supervised by staff.

“We will continue to be in contact with the police to help with any further updates. If you become aware of anything, then do contact the school immediately and we will inform police.

“For your own safety and that of our community, do not take matters into your own hands. Please be assured of our vigilance at all times.”

To report any information to Essex Police, call 101.