First aid in schools, early years & further education

Essential first aid training for educational institutions: Empowering staff and safeguarding students

First aid training in schools, early years, and further education institutions is not just a statutory requirement; it is a vital part of ensuring the safety and well-being of students and staff. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune discusses the critical role of first aid training, underscores its importance through key facts and statistics, and outlines the relevant legislation and best practices that govern it. He aims to educate and empower educational professionals to respond to emergencies, making educational settings safer and effective.

The importance of first aid training

Statistically, the likelihood of accidents and emergencies in educational settings is significant. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), thousands of children and young people are injured at school each year, necessitating immediate and effective first aid responses. The presence of trained first aiders can make a critical difference, potentially saving lives and preventing minor injuries from becoming major ones.

Key definitions

  • First aid - Emergency care or treatment is given to an ill or injured person before regular medical aid can be obtained.
  • First aider - A person trained in first aid techniques and certified to provide initial care.
  • Paediatric first aid - Specialised training focusing on infants and young children, often mandatory for early years educators.

Relevant legislation and regulations

In the UK, several pieces of legislation emphasise the importance of first aid training in educational settings:

  • The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 - Require all educational institutions to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure immediate and effective first aid can be provided.
  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework - Mandates that all early years providers have at least one person with a current paediatric first aid certificate on the premises or outings.

Educational institutions are also guided by the standards of Ofsted and the respective educational authorities in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which outline the expectations for safeguarding children’s welfare.

Best practices in first aid training

Best practices in first aid training for educational settings include:

  • Regular training and recertification - Ensure that first aid skills are current and effective. First aid certifications should be renewed every three years, with annual refreshers recommended.
  • Tailored training for the environment - This should cover specific risks in educational settings, such as sports injuries, allergies, and asthma attacks.
  • Inclusive training - To improve emergency response capacity, all staff should receive basic first aid training, not just designated first aiders.

Recommendations for implementation

  • Assess needs regularly - Conduct risk assessments to determine your institution's specific first aid needs.
  • Diversify skills - Encourage a mix of staff to undertake both general and paediatric first aid training.
  • Simulated drills - Regularly scheduled drills can help solidify the practical application of first aid techniques under pressure.


First aid training is a critical component of educational safety protocols. By equipping staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to respond effectively to emergencies, educational institutions can ensure a safer learning environment for all students. Ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and embracing best practices in first aid training will not only fulfil legal obligations but will also demonstrate a commitment to the highest standards of care and safety.

Click here to learn more about how our first aid training courses can help safeguard your students and staff, or contact us today to arrange a training session at your institution. With our expert guidance and support, you can empower your staff, protect your students, and meet your statutory requirements.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

Essential first aid training for educational institutions - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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