Childminder suspended after toddler left in bus.
AN AWARD.WINNING childminder has been suspended after a two-year-old child was left locked inside a minibus for up to half an hour.
Helen Wynne, who runs Blythwood Childcare Services in Norman Road, Wrexham, has won awards and accolades for her work in the past.
But she was suspended from the childminders' register on July 28 following an unannounced inspection of the premises.
Mrs Wynne and her husband, Dean, also a childminder, were taking a three-week holiday in America at the time.
Two other childminders were left in charge and inspectors found them caring for a maximum of 10 children under five. That was above the permitted ratio of no more than three children under five per childminder, the Care Standards Tribunal heard.
Enforcement action was begun almost immediately and parents were called to collect their children.
Judge Melanie Lewis said the inspection followed an incident in which "a child aged two was left unsupervised and locked in a minibus".
The "precise timing and detail" of what happened remains in dispute and the incident is still under investigation, she added.
Mrs Wynne challenged the suspension decision, pointing to her flawless record as a childminder.
The judge said she had seen "a number of testimonials from parents who are very happy with the service she provides".
Dismissing her appeal, however, the judge said Mrs Wynne had gone on a planned holiday without making arrangements for extra cover.
The fact that enforcement action was begun on the same day as the inspection revealed "the high level of concern".
There were "grounds for thinking" that children may have been put at risk.
Judge Lewis took account of Mrs Wynne's positive record.
However, she ruled that the suspension decision was "proportionate and necessary".
Mrs Wynne's suspension is due to expire on September 8.
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<B Helen Wynne