Do you know what exactly is required of early years providers in the UK with regards to paediatric first aid, or what is expected of childcare organisations during the early years inspection?
This blog will break down the role of Ofsted in the childcare setting and explain how to ensure your business is compliant with Ofsted’s paediatric first aid requirements.
What is Ofsted and what do they do?
While nurseries and other childcare facilities are independent, they are still governed by a variety of different bodies and regulations - which can differ depending on location. Part of the role of Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) consists of auditing childcare providers against the Early Years Foundation Stage framework - or alternative frameworks depending on the age of the child.
The EYFS statutory framework, Ofsted, and first aid requirements
First published in 2014 and recently updated in September 2021, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework requires that all providers on the Early Years Register (nurseries, childminders, pre-schools, and Reception-year pupils) must meet set standards. This includes making sure there are adequate, appropriately trained paediatric first aiders and a suitably stocked first aid kit on the premises at all times.
Ofsted will then measure how well you are following these requirements when they undertake an early years inspection. While paediatric first aid is only a small part of the inspection, it is vital for ensuring the wellbeing and safety of the children in your care.
Making the right first aid provision choices
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), recommends conducting a first aid needs assessment to ensure that first aid provision is suitable for your specific circumstances.
The EYFS requires the ratio of staff to children to be dependent on factors such as age and the needs of the child. Whilst the EYFS does give you minimum standards, you should consider whether anything else may impact on the provision you need. Including:
- The number of children
- The number of staff
- The layout of the premises
- First aid cover for staff sickness and holidays
You will also need to take into account any specific requirements such as underlying health problems of staff or children in your care, medication needs or local factors that may impact on your first aid provision.
Remember, newly qualified early years child carers must have either a full PFA or an Emergency PFA certificate within three months of starting work to be included in adult to child ratios in the childcare organisation.
Maintaining first aid standards
Paediatric first aid training is a basic requirement within any childcare setting. It provides childcare professionals with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to act appropriately and efficiently in the event of injury or illness in the setting.
Regularly assessing your first aid needs, and maintaining up to date records of certificates and documentation such as medications policies, is expected to be habitual and constant all year-round - not just when your organisation is notified of an impending visit from Ofsted.
It is noted in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (EYFS) that annual refresher training is completed to help maintain up-to-date paediatric first aid skills. Additionally, childcare professionals need to undertake a requalification course before their three-year certificate expires, to obtain another three-year certification. If their certification expires and is not renewed, they are no longer deemed competent to act as a paediatric first aider.
What paediatric first aid provisions does Ofsted look for when undertaking an early years inspection?
The EYFS clearly outlines the necessity for all newly qualified staff members to undertake paediatric first aid training - meaning that all newly qualified staff with a childcare level 2 and 3 qualification must have a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate or Emergency Paediatric First Aid certificate. The regulations state that at least one member of staff who has an in-date certificate needs to be available at all times when children are present on the premises, or on outings.
Childcare providers should display staff members’ PFA certificates, or make them available on request. Records of these paediatric first aid qualifications, as well as other unrelated qualifications, should be easy to access and readily available for when an Ofsted inspector records them as evidence of the provider’s compliance with the EYFS statutory framework.
When will my nursery be inspected by Ofsted?
Gill Jones, Deputy Director of Ofsted, stated at 2021’s Nursery World Business Summit that “[Ofsted] usually like to give providers that are totally unknown to us a very early inspection, within a window of the first year”. For childcare providers known better by Ofsted, inspections can take place as far away as 36 months. These audits are random and infrequent, and the standards of paediatric first aid provision can easily fall when a large timeframe has passed since the last inspection.
For this reason, it is extremely important that you ensure regular internal assessments of your paediatric first aid provisions, e.g. your first aid kits(s) and first aiders, are completed to ensure you remain compliant.
Ofsted’s role is to ensure that children in your care are in safe hands and that you and/or your staff are prepared to act effectively in the event of an emergency - so should be taken seriously and managed with diligence.
Topics: Paediatric first aid