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PACEY calls for more first-aid trained staff in group settings

PACEY has submitted a response to the Government’s consultation on paediatric first aid.

Following the tragic death in 2012 of Millie Thompson in a nursery class, the coroner recommended that all nursery staff have Paediatric First Aid (PFA) training.

The Government is now proposing that all newly qualified early years staff with Level 2 or Level 3 childcare qualification hold a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) or emergency PFA certificate in order to be included in the required staff: child ratios in an early years setting.

The new requirements will not affect childminders, who are already required to have a full PFA certificate.

In our response, PACEY argued that ideally all staff who are left unsupervised with children for any period of time in any type of early years setting should be required to hold a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate.

This is already the case in childminding settings, where childminders and all childminding assistants must hold a full PFA certificate. Childminders overwhelmingly support existing first aid requirements and have not found them to be unduly burdensome. A recent member survey found that 94% of PACEY members were in favour of more first aid trained staff in group settings.

At a minimum, newly qualified early years staff with a full and relevant level 2 or level 3 childcare qualification should be required to hold a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate in order to be included in the required staff: child ratios. However, we think that the proposal should go further, and that a full PFA certificate should be required. An emergency PFA certificate should not be deemed an acceptable substitute.

In addition, we think settings should be required to ensure within a reasonable amount of time that all staff who are included in the ratios, not just newly qualified staff, are in possession of a full PFA certificate.

PACEY believes that the benefits of these proposals far outweigh the additional costs to childcare providers, which are far from prohibitive. The Millie Thompson case brings into sharp focus the fact that paediatric first aid training can mean the difference between the life and death of a child.