First Aid Training for Schools

Mike Dennis
Posted by Mike Dennis

Date: Monday, 26 September 2016. -  
Blog, First Aid, Paediatric

It goes without saying – children’s lives are of paramount importance. It is for this reason that schools have a responsibility to protect the health, wellbeing, and safety of the children under their care.

To keep pupils safe, schools must ensure they adhere to government guidelines on what first aid training is required.  This article looks into these requirements, how schools can meet them, and discusses if more should be done to ensure school children – in addition to teachers and other members of staff – are first aid trained too.

What is required?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 states that employers must provide their staff with adequate and appropriate:

  • First aid equipment
  • First aid facilities
  • First aid personnel

Although most employers are only obliged to provide first aid for their employees, schools have a legal responsibility for those in their care,so should make special allowances when considering their first aid needs.

Additional school requirements

Assess your school’s first aid needs

Schools should regularly assess their first aid capabilities to ensure their provisions meet with The Management of Health and Safety at Works Regulations 1992.  The legislation stipulates that health and safety risks posed to employees, pupils and school visitors must be assessed at least once every 12 months.

Things schools should assess

County and controlled schools normally have procedures that have been agreed by their Local Authority, but below contains the bulk of what needs to be considered.

The school’s premises

The size of the school, how many sites it contains and whether the sites are on split levels.

The school’s location

  • How far is the school from emergency services?
  • How can emergency services access the school?

Site specific hazards and risks

  • Are there hazardous substances on location?
  • Is there any dangerous equipment or machinery on the school premises?

Specific needs

  • Are there specific health needs or disabilities amongst staff or pupils that need to be catered for?
  • What are the pupil’s ages?

Accident statistics

  • From looking at past records, are there discernible patterns related to common injuries, times, locations and activities at each school site?
  • If so, does your first aid training adequately cover any identified injuries?

Number of first aid personnel required

  • Do you meet your statutory minimum requirements?
  • Do you meet your school’s specific first aid needs?

The school’s nominated first aiders

Chosen first aiders should:

  • Possess good communication skills
  • Be capable of absorbing new knowledge and skills
  • Have the ability to cope with stressful and physically demanding emergency procedures

How people contact your first aiders

  • Do all school staff and pupils know who the first aiders are, and how to contact them?
  • Are appropriate first aid notices displayed prominently throughout the school?

Provide clear information

After assessments have been made and acted upon, one of the school’s key responsibilities is to ensure that all members of staff know of the first aid arrangements, such as:

  • Where first aid equipment and facilities can be found
  • Who nominated first aiders are and where they can be found
  • Procedures necessary for monitoring and reviewing school’s first aid needs

This information can be shared in assemblies, through prominent first aid notices, staff handbooks and in induction programmes for new staff and pupils.

Things to consider

“I find it interesting that although we all love our children deeply and fret about what we should do when our bundles of joy get poorly, very few parents ever attend formal first aid training that teaches them how to handle the most common, and potentially life-threatening, illnesses and accidents that can strike their little ones.” Tim Freed, Managing Director of Toddle About

Although it is not a legal requirement, why not consider organising first aid training, not just for nominated first aiders, but for all teachers? After all, children spend up to six hours a day in school so it makes sense for as many as people to be first aid trained in case accidents occur.

Also, why not consider providing children with first aid training too? There are 8.4 million pupils currently enrolled in UK schools, around 10% of the population. By making first aid training compulsory in schools, and raising first aid awareness at an early age, you will be gifting children the confidence and necessary knowledge to respond to emergencies.

If you need advice on making sure your school is compliant with government first aid requirements, or would like to organise first aid training for staff or pupils, you should speak to our team today. We will be only too happy to help – for more information on our service, take a look at our Emergency First Aid for Schools page.