Children rescued from sea during Ilford school trip

Children had to be rescued from the sea after they were caught out by rising tides during a school trip to Southend.

Pupils and staff at Uphall Primary School, Uphall Road, Ilford, were left “in difficulty” during a trip to Chalkwell Beach last week.

Thames coastguards received a call from a nearby fisherman after he reportedly saw the tides moving in quickly as the children stood on the beach.

But staff were able to take the children out of the water and lead them to safety.

A coastguard spokesman said: “The man was concerned about the children being cut-off by the tide.”

He said it was the large number of children caught up by the tide that concerned him.

“The fire and ambulance service were also called, but by the time they had arrived, all the children were safely on the shore,” he added.

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There were 160 children on the trip, but it is not clear how many were involved in the incident.

The Recorder was made aware of the incident by a concerned parent, who did not want to be named.

She said: “Staff were unaware of tide times and some kids were washed away.

“Staff were up to their waists in the tide.”

But a Redbridge Council spokesman insisted: “School staff had checked the tidal times prior to the visit and this was confirmed by advice taken from qualified lifeguards on arrival.

“The group was accompanied by qualified lifeguards throughout the activity. However the tide reached the area where the pupils were much earlier than expected.

“As soon as staff realised what was happening, they took immediate action to remove the pupils from the water and no children were ‘washed away’.

“The coastguard and police were on standby at the scene. Pupils and staff only received minor cuts and bruises.”

“The headteacher of Uphall Primary School has also written to the lifeguard company to raise concerns and to ensure that this does not happen again.”