Early years settings are set to face a big change in First Aid requirements due to new Government proposals, which will require new nursery and pre-school staff to undertake paediatric first aid training as a compulsory measure.  So what currently are the First Aid requirements for nursery staff, and what will the proposed changes mean for early years settings?

Current Guidance:

Under current legislation, there is a first aid requirement for nursery staff to have a minimum of one paediatric first aider on site at all times.  However, the legislation also states that settings must take into account “the number of children, staff and layout of premises to ensure that a paediatric first aider is able to respond quickly to emergencies”, and therefore many Early Years settings already exceed the minimum requirements as a matter of best practice.  Indeed some providers have all of their staff trained which means this is not an issue for staff planning, covering holidays and absence etc.

According to OFSTED guidance, “The first aid qualification should be appropriate to the ages of the children for whom childcare is provided and to the nature of the provision.”  First Aid certificates are required to be renewed every three years as a minimum at present, and a record of all first aiders along with their certification dates should be kept.  For good practice, many first aiders choose to undertake refresher courses on an annual basis.

There are many paediatric first aid courses offered and these are traditionally undertaken in a classroom environment, however blended training which combines classroom training with online training is increasing in popularity.  Whichever method is chosen, it is imperative that the course covers all of the specified OFSTED criteria, and that they receive adequate practical training. The course chosen should also offer a minimum of 12 hours training time.

New Proposals:

Following the tragic death of Millie Thompson, due to a choking incident in a nursery setting in 2012, calls were made to review the above current legislation.

The Department for Education undertook this review, and in 2015, new Government proposals were issued, followed by a full consultation paper.  It is the Government’s belief that increasing the number of trained PFA staff will have the effect of reassuring parents, raising skill levels and confidence amongst early years practitioners, and reducing the number of accidents through a raised awareness of accident prevention.

Nursery providers will need to be prepared to adhere to the new proposals once they come into force, which is expected to be by September 2016.

What do the new proposals mean?

In their current state, the new proposals will mean that newly qualified staff with a childcare level 2 and 3 qualification, must have an emergency paediatric first aid or full paediatric first aid certificate, if they are to count towards the staff/qualification ratios under the early years foundation stage.  The emergency first aid training course would be the equivalent of 1 day of training and as per the current legislation, this would need to be refreshed every 3 years in order for the staff member to keep counting in the ratios.

Additionally, it is proposed that nurseries who achieve ‘Gold Standard’ first aid provision, will be awarded with a newly created certificate which will be known as ‘Millie’s Mark’.  Nurseries who are awarded this certificate will be able to display this to show parents that their children are being cared for by well trained, knowledgeable staff in a safe environment.

It is anticipated that these changes will add approximately 15,000 additional trained early years professionals to our nurseries and pre-schools each and every year.  The proposals cover all early years settings, with the exception of childminders.  The proposed changes will not affect the OFSTED checks, and they will still check the Paediatric First Aid certificates held by staff upon registration as well as during inspections.

We at the Nursery HR people believe that an increase in trained first aid professionals within early years settings is a hugely positive step, however we also understand that this will be an additional consideration for nursery managers who already have a seemingly endless list of daily tasks to adhere to.

Please get in touch if you would like any further information on First Aid requirements for your nursery or have any questions regarding managing your staff.

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Fiona Tyson

Operations Director


01509 833121


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