First Aid for Schools: Responsibilities, Duties and Qualifications

HSE regulations dictate that all employers must provide for necessary first aid equipment and facilities in the work place. Even schools fall under this category and must therefore adhere to it.


Who is responsible?

Both Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and individual schools are free to draw up their own policies after assessment to suit their needs. Though they should make sure that it satisfies their statutory duties. Schools should ensure that first aid is available at all times for people on school premises or off premises on school visits and trips.

The main responsibility for providing these facilities depends on the employer who can be either the LEA, Trustees/Owner or the Governing Body, depending on the type of school. They should thus carry out a risk assessment to arrange adequate number of first aiders and locations for both in and off campus duties.

Schools should also carry proper insurance cover for all claims that arise from actions of the staff, on duty. The day to day implementation and functions of the policies are the responsibility of the Head Teacher. Teachers and other staff need to provide first aid to pupils in their care when needed, and are legally compelled to act as any reasonable parent would in any situation. Staff cannot avoid giving first aid simply because they do not have a first aid certificate.


What schools should do?

Schools should also ensure that they comply with all the necessary and relevant legislation and guidance when drawing up their policies. They should conduct a proper risk assessment and periodical re-assessment of the first aid provisions, as well as provide information to all members of staff, pupils and concerned. They can include such information in staff handbooks and display notices in prominent places for the same.

Schools need include arrangements for first aid,based on a risk assessment of the school, and should cover:

  •   numbers of first aiders/appointed persons
  •   numbers and locations of first-aid kits/s.
  •   arrangements for off-site activities/trips;
  •   out of school hours arrangements eg lettings,
  •   parents evenings.

Remember that if the school changes, for example it expands, class/staff numbers increase or new facilities are built, then the first aid arrangements will need to be updated.

What about special needs ?

Remember that any pupils and staff with special needs or health problems need to be included in your school’s assessment of first aid needs. You may want to consider additional first aid training, extra first aiders as well as any specialist help an individual needs.


What about training our First Aiders ?

Schools need to provide suitable training for first aiders, schools should ensure that the concerned person holds a valid certificate recognised by the HSE from an approved training centre such as Carlton Training. They should also arrange for additional training in resuscitation procedures specific to children for the employee, as standard first aid at work courses don’t have it included. Also, since the certificates expire every three years, schools should arrange for refresher training and certificates, before they expire.

In addition, all the first aid containers should be clearly marked with a white cross on a green background and schools should report accidents or injuries and keep a record. What accidents should be reported should be clearly defined in the policy laid down by the school.


How about our Early Years staff ?

If your school has staff working with Early Years children then you’ll need to make sure you have enough people trained on the 2-day Paediatric First Aid course as required by Ofsted. This course concentrates on the younger age groups, so that your people will know what to do if one of the little ones needs help.


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