First aid training will be compulsory for all nursery staff

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All newly qualified nursery staff will be legally required to take paediatric first aid training for the first time from next year.


Paediatric first aid training will be compulsory for all newly qualified nursery staff

The plans are in response to a campaign by Joanne and Dan Thompson, whose daughter Millie died after choking at a nursery in 2012.

More than 100,000 people signed the couple’s online petition calling for compulsory first aid training.

All Level 2 and Level 3 staff will be required to have an emergency paediatric first aid or a full paediatric first aid certificate if they are to count towards the staff-qualification ratios in the EYFS. Currently early years providers must have one first-aider on the premises at all times.

The emergency first aid training course would be equivalent to one day's training and will need to be refreshed by staff every three years to count towards the ratios.

The Thompsons have also given their backing to a new first aid certificate in memory of their daughter.

Early years settings will be able to display ‘Millie’s Mark’ as a sign of gold-standard provision.

The DfE will look into how this would be awarded and its scope, and the scheme is expected to run from early next year.

A consultation on the training proposals will take place during the next Parliament and they are expected to come into effect by September 2016.

The National Day Nurseries Association has also developed guidance and case studies with funding from the DfE.

The Government has also extended a special deal, previously only available to schools, to enable private and voluntary providers and out-of-school and holiday clubs, to buy defibrillators at a reduced cost.

Childcare and education minister Sam Gyimah said, ‘Today’s proposals will mean that 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.

‘Not only will this help ensure children are safe while they learn, grow and develop, but it will also raise the quality and skills of the early years workforce to help them deal with day to day first aid issues such allergies and knowing when to call parents.’

Joanne and Dan Thompson said, ‘We are both extremely pleased that the Government has listened to our awareness campaign and changes are being made that could ultimately save a child’s life. 

‘We are proud that these changes are being made in memory of our precious daughter and that her legacy continues to grow - but we are heartbroken that these changes are only coming into place because we lost her. 

‘The estimate of 15,000 new childcare workers entering the workplace with this specific qualification is fantastic news for parents and we fully support “Millie's Mark” and are looking forward to working with the specific government departments to help turn this into a reality.’

The National Day Nurseries Association has developed 12 case studies to support early years providers.

They include Bright Beginnings in Leeds which stages regular training and discussion, testing staff knowledge, and the Old School House in Newmarket, Suffolk, which runs mock emergency scenario exercises.

Stella Ziolkowski, NDNA’s director of quality and workforce development, said, ‘We welcome these proposals and we’ve been working closely with the Government to share knowledge from our members.

‘The nurseries featured in our case studies have robust risk assessment methods in place and take regular action such as emergency drill exercises.

‘We know that this is about more than training, for example regularly talking through procedures in the workplace, thinking about possible scenarios and building people’s confidence so that they are able to act effectively in an emergency.’

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, 'The safety and welfare of the children in our care is the first and foremost priority of all childcare providers, and Joanne and Dan Thompson are to be congratulated for the role that Millie’s Trust has played in bringing about such a positive, significant change.
'The next step is to ensure that early years providers are fully supported in meeting these new requirements. Over recent years, there has been a sharp decline in the availability of local authority support and this, along with historic funding shortfalls, is likely to pose a challenge for providers seeking to ensure that they adhere to these new requirements. As such, we look forward to hearing more from Government on how it will be working with the sector to ensure the successful implementation of these proposals.'

  • Download the NDNA case studies here
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