POLICE and an Eynsham school have apologised for pulling a youngster out of class and quizzing him about a planned protest without his parents being there.

Nicky Wishart, 12, was questioned by a police officer after he set up a Facebook group to save the youth centre in Eynsham, set to lose Oxfordshire County Council cash support.

Nicky and about 20 other youngsters staged a protest outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney on Friday.

On the advice of counter-terrorism police, a Bartholomew School liaison officer spoke to Nicky three days before.

But Nicky’s mother, Virginia Phelps, 41, said she was left “absolutely raging”, because the interview was conducted without her.

Police and the school this week acknowledged Ms Phelps should have been there.

Chief Inspector Jack Malhi, the police commander for West Oxfordshire, said: “With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been far more appropriate to have made the inquiries from Nicky in the presence of his mother.

“I deeply regret and apologise for the impact that it might have had on Nicky and his family.”

He added: “I would like to reassure people that our contact with Nicky was primarily to make him aware of the risks and have an idea of the scale of the protest.”

Mr Malhi phoned Ms Phelps on Monday to apologise personally.

Headteacher, Andrew Hamilton, also apologised to Ms Phelps on Monday.

He said a “mistake” had been made by the school because it presumed Nicky had already spoken to police with his mother the previous day.

Mr Hamilton said: “If there was one element we could have got better, it was to make sure that Ms Phelps had been contacted before the interview within the school took place.

“We accept that it was a mistake on our part, that we assumed the interview had taken place and that this was a follow up.”

Ms Phelps, of Pelican Place, Eynsham, said: “Last week, I was absolutely raging.

“I was very, very angry about the police speaking to Nicky without me being there.”

She said she was “pleased” that police had apologised but wanted a written apology.

She said: “Forgiving them just means that they have been totally let off.

“I have received a verbal apology, but what about a written apology?”

She said had forgiven the school, which was “very supportive”.

Nicky was protesting against proposed funding cuts to 20 youth centres across the county.

Eynsham youth centre, along with Bampton, Burford, Carterton, Chipping Norton, and Standlake youth centres in West Oxfordshire, could all face the axe. The council hopes to save £4.2m from the plans.

At the protest, Nicky said: “The youth centre means loads to me.

“It’s the only thing we have to do in Eynsham.”