The group has gained the award for paediatric first aid across all 44 of its nurseries.
Millie’s Mark is delivered by Millie’s Trust in partnership with National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and recognises settings in which all practitioners are fully trained in paediatric first aid.
Millie’s Trust was set up by Joanne and Dan Thompson in 2012 after their nine-month-old daughter died following a choking incident at nursery.
Co-op Childcare has been involved with the Millie’s Mark scheme since it was first piloted at its nursery in Newburn in 2016. The group’s Dewsbury setting became the 300th UK nursery to achieve the accreditation in Summer 2018.
The nursery group decided to provide its own training to staff, becoming certified paediatric first aid training providers and sending its trainers around all its 44 nursery settings to conduct two-day sessions.
All 1,300 staff members received the training, including administrators, support staff and nursery chefs.
Training will be refreshed every three years, and Co-op Childcare will add first aid-specific scenarios to reviews it holds with managers every 12 weeks, in order to maintain confidence and capabilities.
Sally Mayer, chief operating officer at Co-op Childcare, said, ‘As a childcare provider, we have the responsibility to make sure our colleagues are prepared for all eventualities when it comes to keeping the children in our care safe, which is why our partnership with Millie’s Trust is so important to us.’
Millie’s Trust campaigns to increase legal first aid qualification requirements amongst childcare providers. Currently, EYFS guidelines state that just one person with a current paediatric first aid certificate is required to be on nursery premises. Ms Mayer also expressed her desire to see this increased.
‘The aspiration for me would be that having all staff qualified in first aid becomes a license to work,’ she said.
‘We are taking care of precious lives and should be well-equipped to do that. While there are sensitivities around the cost of getting all staff trained, especially with the funding shortage in the sector, there are other avenues to go down too, like basic lifesaving accreditation. You can’t put a price on a child’s life.’
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of NDNA, added, ‘It’s been a pleasure to work so closely with Co-op Childcare and we would like to congratulate all involved on such a major achievement. Co-op Childcare is the first large provider to receive the mark on such a scale and we look forward to seeing more groups reach this milestone as Millie’s Mark becomes the industry standard.’
Ms Tanuku joined Dan Thompson, co-founder and executive chairman of Millie’s Trust, at Co-op’s Little Pioneers St Edwards Nursery in Birmingham to mark the achievement.
Meanwhile, Ms Mayer said there was no chance of the group getting complacent.
‘We don’t want to just celebrate the accreditation, but maintain it far beyond this point,’ said Ms Mayer. ‘We are ready to treat a child at any time in any of our nurseries.’