A Perth childcare centre has copped a hefty fine for leaving a five-year-old boy behind on an excursion…

A Perth childcare centre has been ordered to pay $9000 in fines after a child was left behind on an excursion back in January. The Quinns Baptist Community Centre has also been ordered to pay legal costs to the value of $1000 and is in the process of reviewing its policies around excursion supervision.

A Duty Of Care

The twenty-eight children and four educators who attended the excursion were scheduled to be at the venue for one hour, with children being transported by bus. At 11 am, the group gathered to leave the excursion and one of the educators claimed to have sighted all the children before they departed. Shockingly, the educator had not taken attendance or made a written record of who was present.

It turns out that one child, a five and a half-year-old boy, had been left behind, and was left unsupervised by childcare staff or for over an hour before his disappearance was noticed. If a staff member hadn’t decided to do a head count whilst the children were having their lunch back at the centre, it is likely the boy could have been left alone for a lot longer.

Need For Change

The centre has since conducted a review into its policies surrounding excursions, introducing more visible clothing for children, providing staff with written documentation of supervision expectations and providing handheld digital counters to assist with head checks.

Excursions can be a nerve-wracking concept for parents, especially for little ones in preschool and early primary school, so we can’t even imagine the shock and anger of finding out your child had been left behind! We can only hope that this incident, and the consequences, mean it will never happen again.

Has your child ever been left behind on an excursion? Share your story in the comments.

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  • The school here accidentally left a child at the pool (there were other kids who stayed there instead of going back to school as their parents were there). In the next newsletter they owned up to it and said they have sorted the issue so it won’t happen again. The child was looked after still, it was a bit scary that they didn’t account for every child.

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  • I knew a girl with special needs that used to sneak home at lunch time and not be back in time for the first afternoon lesson. By the time she got home it was already time for the girl to have been back in class. They lived a fair way from the school. I don’t know how many times her Mum took her back to school. She always had her lunch and snacks that she chose in her school bag but hadn’t eaten them before she went home. Later the Education Dept. decided she would benefit more from going to a “special school” She then lived too far away to go home before she was picked up at the end of the school day. After the change of school they discovered they knew one of the teachers who discreetly watched the gate to make sure she didn’t try to leave school at lunch time.

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  • Geez. I can’t believe there was no accountability. A roll call on the bus when leaving the childcare centre. And a roll call when all kids returning to the bus. Simple. I can’t believe this obvious and simple process was not followed. That poor child being left behind. Unbelievable.

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  • Our school, head counts, then counts again. Then when on the bus do a final count. I just don’t understand how this can happen.

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  • Maybe the old days were better when parents were the extra help for all excursions – no-one got left behind because we had a head count before leaving and before re-embarking on the bus to come home. They were our kids so we may have been more aware than the paid people are.

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  • Oh wow, definitely sounds like their policies needed a review!

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  • Any excursions my boys went on there was always a head count. It was always done before leaving the site of where they were. No-one was ever left behind. They need to set up better and safer rules for these children

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  • Oh gosh, that is just terrible, they deserved to suffer the consequences. That poor child and the poor parents.

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  • That is so bad! If that happened to my child i would be so angry! There is such a long process finding a child care that works for you and your children and to trust someone else with your child life and then they could go and do something like this! They are lucky nothing serious happened

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  • ridiculous! Parents pay good money for childcare with the expectation that they are safe and well cared for. Anything could have happened they are only lucky that it didn’t!

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  • As a teacher, I know how scary it is going on an excursion. I think I do more than the necessary amount of head checks throughout. Furthermore, the other staff do the same – even if they are not responsible for it.

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  • that is horrible! I know my kindergarten counts the children regularly even with in the center, my son has his first excursion with them this week

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  • My Daughter escaped from her preschool once and made her way 1km home with a stranger that picked her up off the street. I called them half hour after she arrived home and they didn’t know she was even missing.


    • that is so scary lucky it was a nice stranger

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  • Poor little boy,

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  • This is so scary for both parents and the little boy.


    • I bet – hopefully this never happens again.

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