Carry on caring!

Date published: 01 September 2014

Childminder overturns ruling

A CHILDMINDER has successfully appealed an Ofsted decision that she couldn’t look after children in her home because of her 16-year-old daughter’s mental health issues.

Susan Radcliffe hit out at Ofsted last month after being told Catherine - who recently turned 16 - was no longer “suitable to be around children”, even though her condition hadn’t previously been an issue.

Three Ofsted inspectors have now approved Susan’s appeal - meaning the childminder of 10 years experience can continue to care for children at her home in Shaw.

Ms Radcliffe (49) - rated “outstanding” in previous Ofsted inspections - said: “It feels fantastic to have finally got this sorted. It has been unbelievably stressful for the past month. The most upsetting thing was that they thought her turning 16 would make a difference - when they didn’t seem worried when she was 15. What difference does one day make?”

Catherine, who starts college this month, was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but has been receiving hospital support.

Both Ofsted and the parents of Susan’s charges were told of Catherine’s conditions - and none ever complained about herself or Catherine.

Mother of five Susan is angry at the way her family has been treated: “It’s disgraceful. They should have looked at the case before it was taken to a hearing.

“We were so shocked when they originally told me I would have to ask my daughter to leave the family home or resign as a childminder. We felt discriminated against.”

Once the appeal was reported, Susan got messages from other minders who had faced similar issues. An online petition gathered more than 1,300 signatures.

“I’d like to thank everyone who supported me by signing. It means a lot.”

Ofsted said: “We recognise this is a very difficult situation. Ofsted considered all information, historic and recent, and made a fully-informed decision. We are satisfied Ms Radcliffe remains suitable.”