First aid qualifications

How many qualified first aiders do you need?

If your club is an Ofsted-registered setting and doesn't take any children younger than the Reception year, it is a legal requirement to have at least one member of staff with a current full (12-hour) paediatric first aid certificate on duty at all times. This person must be working with the children (ie not shut away at the other side of the building in the admin office) and able to respond quickly. If your setting is spread out, or operates from a number of different rooms, or has children playing inside and outside at the same time, it may be necessary to have more than one first aider on duty at any one time, in order to meet the requirement of being able to respond quickly.

Even if not absolutely necessary due to the layout of your club, having more than one member of staff with a current first aid certificate is always a very good idea. Not only does this mean that someone is always able to respond instantly if there is a problem, but also that there are plenty of suitable staff to cover when the 'main' first aider is off sick, on holiday etc.

Note that if you escort the children from the school to your club, or take the children on an outing, at least one member of staff walking or travelling with the children needs to have a paediatric first aid certificate.

But don't all staff now need first aid qualifications by law?

New regulations regarding first aid qualifications for all early years staff came into force on 1 September 2016 and affect out of school clubs as follows:

  • The new regulations requiring paediatric first aid (PFA) qualifications for all staff only apply to settings that need to meet the Early Years staffing ratios for qualified staff. Because most out of school clubs do not need to employ any qualified staff, the new requirement for all newly qualified staff to have a PFA certificate does not affect them. However if your club takes children younger than reception age, then the standard Early Years requirements for qualified staff do apply, and therefore so does the new requirement for staff to have PFA certificates.
  • The new requirement for universal first aid training only applies to newly qualified staff who have recently completed their EYE (Early Years Educator) training (ie from 30 June 2016 onwards), so it does not apply to any staff who completed their Level 3/Level 2 qualifications prior to this date.
  • Settings will still be able to employ newly qualified staff without first aid qualifications, but they won't be able to count them in their Early Years staffing ratios unless the staff members obtain a PFA certificate within three months of starting work.
  • Both the full (12-hour) PFA certificate and the emergency PFA certificate are acceptable for newly qualified staff for the purposes of being counted within the Early Years staffing ratios. The course criteria for suitable PFA training are set out in Annex A of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

In summary: In the context of an out of school club, the only staff to whom the new requirements for having a PFA certificate apply, are those:

  • who gained an early years qualification on or after 30 June 2016, AND
  • whom you need to count in qualified staffing ratios BECAUSE
  • they are caring for pre-school children.

The latest version of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage has been updated to reflect the new PFA requirements.

Does it matter if some qualifications are a few years old?

One of the items that all Ofsted inspectors must ask to see as part of their inspection of your club is the first aid qualifications for your staff. So if any of your staff have first aid qualifications that are more than three years old, or that are not of the required type (ie full 12-hour PFA for first aiders, emergency PFA or full PFA for other newly qualified staff), this will be discovered. And if you are found to have no staff, or insufficient staff, with up to date qualifications, Ofsted will suspend your registration until you can get enough staff trained so that you are safe to operate.

As first aid training can be quite expensive, many clubs find it useful to get a couple of staff trained each year. In this way not only do you always have a member of staff with very recent training, but you also avoid a huge training bill every third year with everyone's training running out at the same time.

When looking for PFA training, it is a good idea to contact the Early Years or Childcare team at your local authority in the first instance to see if they are running any subsidised courses for childcare workers.

More information

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage
Government response to consultation on PFA requirements in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

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