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First Aid Training

First aid training – what will be compulsory?

As we’ve heard in the news recently, by 2016 all new nursery and pre-school staff will be legally required to undergo paediatric first aid training. But what will this mean for early years providers? Does it affect everyone? And where can more information be found? 

The background

New proposals for first aid training in EYFS follow the tragic death of Millie Thompson, who died after choking at her nursery in October 2012. After losing their daughter in such a devastating way, Millie’s parents, Joanne and Dan Thompson, embarked on a huge awareness campaign for change – a change to the current rule that early years providers need to have just one paediatric first aider available on site.

A consultation by the Department for Education followed, reviewing in detail first aid training in early years settings and collecting thoughts and opinions from those involved in early years care to proposed amendments to the framework.

What will change?

New rules which result in a change to the EYFS have been announced by the government which affect paediatric first aid training in all early years’ settings. These changes come into force from the beginning of September 2016. The consultation showed overwhelming agreement among those who responded with the proposed changes.

There is also the introduction of a voluntary accreditation scheme called ‘Millie’s Mark’, which will be administrated by the National Day Nurseries Association.

Childcare and Education Minister, Sam Gyimah says:

“As a parent myself, I know that every single mum and dad wants the confidence that those tasked with caring for their child have the right training should the absolute worst happen. Thousands more staff will be able to respond to emergencies more quickly, making sure parents really can access the very best possible childcare choices for their families.”

What are the changes to the EYFS?

As of September 2016, all newly qualified level 2 or level 3 early years/childcare staff must have an emergency paediatric first aid or a full paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate, if they are to count towards staff:child ratios under the early years foundation stage. There will be a grace period of 3 months after starting work with a new employer in which to attain the first aid training certification.

The emergency first aid training course would be the equivalent of 1 day of training and would need to be refreshed every 3 years in order for the staff member to keep counting in the ratios.

There will be an exception included in the new EYFS on the grounds of equal opportunities that will allow disabled persons who are otherwise capable members of staff, but who may not be able to complete the training, to count towards staff:child ratios. It will be recommended that these staff members be required to attend PFA training to absorb and learn what they can. Those that do attend PFA training in these circumstances will receive a certificate of attendance.

According to the Department for Education, this change will add approximately 15,000 additional trained early year’s professionals to nurseries and pre-schools every year.

Key Points for EYFS Changes:

  • Applies from September 2016
  • Relevant for newly qualified level 2/3 childcare/EYFS staff
  • Comprises 1 day of training to attain either an emergency paediatric first aid or full paediatric first aid certificate
  • Exceptions for disabled staff members where relevant
  • 3 months grace period after initial employment
  • Revised EYFS documentation to be published

See below for analysis of responses to the Government consultation on the changes.

Accreditation and ‘Millie’s Mark’ Gold Standard Certificates

In addition to the training requirements, there will be new certificate available for nurseries. This will be appropriately entitled ‘Millie’s Mark’, and will be given to nurseries that have been able to reach gold-standard levels.

The accreditation scheme will be administrated and awarded by the National Day Nursery Association, and the Gold Standard Millie’s Mark certificate will be awarded to those providers where all members of staff have completed PFA training. You can find out more about Millie’s Mark from the National Day Nurseries Association.

Responses to the Consultation on Changes to First Aid in EYFS

In general, the proposed changes went down very well with those in the industry (which is why they have been taken forward so readily). Here’s a quick run-down of what those who responded said during the consultation process:

  • 91% of respondents said that the paediatric first aid requirements needed to be strengthened
  • 84% of respondents agreed that the Government should introduce a mandatory requirement for early year’s staff (level 2 and 3) to hold a paediatric first aid or emergency paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate
  • 76% of respondents agreed that the benefits to these proposed changes would outweigh the additional costs to childcare providers
  • 82% of respondents agreed with the proposed time frame of September 2016
  • 86% of respondents said that early year’s providers should display or make available PFA certificates to parents/carers.

There were some concerns expressed that this focus on paediatric first aid could lead to practitioners limiting risky play, with fears outweighing the benefits children gain from risk taking as they are learning. It will be important for practitioners not to lose sight of these benefits.

Where can I find out more information?

Updated EYFS Statutory Framework

A revised EYFS Statutory Framework reflecting these changes will be published shortly alongside the amended regulations. We will contact all customers and newsletter subscribers as soon as this documentation becomes available.

You can view the full government consultation results here.

Find out more about the National Day Nurseries Association Gold Standard ‘Millie’s Mark’ certification here.

The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has also put together case studies of nurseries who have successfully implemented ‘excellent first aid practice’. These case studies have been made available with the aim of inspiring childcare settings to put their own procedures into place. You can view the case studies here.

Other useful links:

Millie's Trust was established following the loss of Millie in October 2012. Millie's Trust offers a 12-hour qualification that meets OFSTED requirements. For more information, click here. 

St John Ambulance offer a two-day paediatric first aid course focussing on the emergency scenarios facing those looking after young children and infants (including day nurseries, private nursery schools, pre-schools, before and after school clubs for children in the early years age group, childminders and carers of children at home).

The paediatric first aid course meets the Ofsted Early Years and Childcare Register requirements. For more information, click here

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