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Legal Requirements for First Aid in Schools


One colleague listening to another to depict what mental health first aid may look like
Employers have a responsibility to ensure that their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or become ill at work.


Ensuring Safety

Your Guide to First Aid Requirements in Schools


What are the Legal Requirements when it comes to Administering First Aid in Schools?

Schools, nursery and childcare establishments who are responsible for the learning and development of children aged from birth to 5 also need to follow the EYFS Framework. The Framework has recently been updated and will come into effect in September 2023 (page 27, paragraph 3.25). This framework says that at least one person with a full current paediatric first aid certificate must be on-site and available at all times, including on trips and outings.

When it comes to schools and colleges who provide education for older children, we follow the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 which states that employers have a responsibility to ensure that their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or become ill at work.

The regulations do say that employers should provide first aid for their own employees, it is strongly recommended that schools and colleges also consider the needs of non-employees like students and visitors when making first aid provisions. In most cases, the headteacher is responsible for day-to-day health and safety and first aid matters.

The means to be able to administer first aid must be available on school or college premises, as well as during off-site activities such as educational visits. You need to be able to provide adequate equipment, facilities, and personnel based on a first aid needs assessment. The absolute minimum includes:

Choosing people to be responsible for first aid in schools

A first aid needs assessment will almost always determine that at least one first aider is needed to meet the needs of employees, students, and visitors. The number of first aiders overall will depend on the specific circumstances of each school or college.

When selecting people to become a first aider you need to think about a variety of things:

  • Are they reliable? You need someone to be ready and present

  • What are their communication skills like? First raiders will need to take control of a situation

  • How adept are they when it comes to learning new skills? Keeping on top of your skills and learning is essential to being an effective first aider

  • How do they handle stressful situations? And are they capable of administering physically demanding emergency procedures

  • Does their primary role make them available to respond to emergencies immediately?

First aiders are expected to provide immediate help to people with common injuries or illnesses, as well as those resulting from specific hazards in the school or college. They should also know when to call for professional medical help, including an ambulance, if needed. To become a first aider, individuals must undergo proper first aid training and hold a valid first aid certificate.


Beyond Basic First Aid

It is strongly recommended that schools and colleges appoint a senior mental health lead who will be responsible for overseeing the mental health and wellbeing of the entire institution. This role involves utilising existing resources and efforts to improve the mental health of students and staff through culture, ethos and environment.

Training courses on mental health first aid can teach staff how to recognise warning signs and develop the skills to approach and support someone while ensuring their own safety.

First aid certificates are typically valid for three years and you should arrange for retraining before the certificate expires. If a certificate expires, the first aider will need to complete another full course to become a first aider again. It is recommended that first aiders attend First Aid At Work Re-Qualification training to maintain their skills and stay updated on any procedural changes.


First aid training course

First Aid Training for Schools

Relevant Training Courses

Ultimately, it’s your duty to make sure that the right members of your team are trained and that you have a fully trained person to respond to incidents and emergencies as quickly as possible. At STS First Aid, we are always happy to provide guidance on the most appropriate training for your team – feel free to check out our fully accredited training courses below or call us on 0208 211 2054.

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