As a mother, I know only too well that alongside the joy of looking after my children when they were young came a huge sense of responsibility, particularly for their physical wellbeing.
In a nursery or pre-school setting this duty of care relies upon the competence of staff. While the untrained are capable of cleaning a grazed knee and administering a consolatory cuddle, only expert tuition can provide the skills to cope with potentially life-threatening medical emergencies confidently and competently.
For the first time, it is now a requirement of the Early Years Foundation Stage that newly-qualified staff - with full and relevant Level 2 or Level 3 childcare qualifications - must also hold a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) or emergency PFA certificate to count towards child/staff ratios.
The rationale is that linking PFA to staff ratios will result in a substantial increase in the numbers of PFA-trained staff on duty at any one time. In fact The Department for Education reckons the new requirement will add about 15,000 additional trained early years professionals to nurseries and pre-schools every year. Young children are particularly vulnerable to choking, head injuries, asthma and allergic reactions, all serious and potentially life-threatening. The updated requirement will ensure children who are injured or ill are dealt with immediately by a trained member of staff, reassuring parents who can be confident their children will be well-cared-for in an emergency. The update follows a campaign by Joanne and Dan Thompson whose nine-month-old baby Millie tragically lost her life after choking on food at her nursery in 2012.
The coroner wrote to the Government stating that nursery staff should have more training in PFA and the Thompsons campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of paediatric first aid and to help bring about the change. The updated requirement is supported by the Government's introduction of Millie’s Mark, a voluntary quality award scheme. Developed by the Department for Education, National Day Nurseries Association and Millie's parents, the award is granted to childcare providers where all staff are PFA trained, that is going above and beyond the minimum legal requirements. Having Millie’s Mark accreditation, alongside publishing details of PFA certificates held by staff, will enable providers to highlight their safety procedures and high standards.
The full two-day (12-hour) PFA course covers a wide range of minor to serious injuries and sudden illnesses and staff need to undergo a refresher every three years in order to keep being counted in the ratios. All our Level 2 apprentices receive PFA training as part of their course and we open up surplus places to anyone who would like to gain the vital qualification at a reduced rate of £75.
The next PFA training course is being held at our Spalding head office on Tuesday 13 December and Thursday 15 December - you need to attend both days - from 9am to 3.30pm.
There are a limited number of spaces still available and if you want to take up a place email enquiries@riversidetrainingspalding or telephone 01775 710945.
The training is delivered by ABC First Aid & AMP; Safety Training and a PFA certificate is awarded on successful completion of the course.