Blended Learning in Paediatric First Aid

Update: 24th April 2018

Since we wrote and published this blog, the HSE have changed the document that is referenced in the EYFS.  The new document states that blended learning is an accepted method of training for workplace first aid.  You can view the new version on the same link below, or here.  Point 24 is the one of interest.

This is obviously a fundamental change to their policy, and one that may cause us to change our position on course delivery.  We have reached out to the DfE, Ofsted and Millie’s Mark to clarify their position on this and will update this blog once that information becomes available.  This is to ensure we can offer the most cost effective, convenient and effective First Aid training.  We are going to leave this blog post in place until we receive a definitive answer.

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We have recently received a few requests to offer an e-learning, or blended learning, option on our 12 hours Paediatric First Aid course.  For the uninitiated, this involves delivering 6 hours of content face-to-face and 6 hours of content via the web to make up the same 12 hour course.  Because of the apparent uncertainty about it’s status in relation to the EYFS, we can confirm that for the foreseeable future, we will not be offering this as an option.

Blended learning is only the equivalent of Emergency PFA

We are aware of other training companies offering blended courses of various types, indeed we have even looked into offering a similar service ourselves, but the information we found seems to suggest that this is not best practice.

The current guidelines from the government are laid out in the EYFS, this is what it says:

3.25 At least one person who has a current paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present, and must accompany children on outings.  The certificate must be for a full course consistent with the criteria set out in Annex A.
Annex A specifically states the content of the course requirements, for both the short 6 hour and the full paediatric First Aid course.  It also specifically states that the 6 hour course should be complete face to face, but fails to mention this as a requirement  for the 12 hour course.  This implies that the 12 hour course can be delivered via a blended approach, but in the EYFS it also says this:
Providers are responsible for identifying and selecting a competent training provider to deliver their PFA training.  Training is available from a wide range of providers including: those who offer regulated qualifications; or the Voluntary Aid Societies (St John Ambulance, the British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid who together are acknowledged by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as one of the standard-setters for currently accepted first aid practice for first aid at work training courses); or those who operate under voluntary accreditation schemes; or one that is a member of a trade body with an approval and monitoring scheme; or those who operate independently of any such accreditation scheme. The Register of Regulated Qualifications may help providers identify PFA providers, which can be found
at: http://register.ofqual.gov.uk/qualification. It may also be helpful to refer to HSE’s guidance about choosing a first aid training provider, which can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis3.pdf.
In other words, if you are not using a qualification or provider that is immediately recognised from one of these sources (the qualification we offer is this one), you need to check the HSE website for guidance.  You’re welcome to read the entire HSE document for yourself, but here is the is the pertinent information for those of you who don’t have the time:
Points 3 & 4 identify: Every employer must risk assess their need and state ‘some other level of first-aid training, outside of the usual framework (of full or Emergency First Aid at Work)  if indicated by the needs assessment may also be needed in order to comply with the Health & Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981’.
Point 30. states: HSE does not accept qualifications where training is delivered in a blended, e-learning or distance format for compliance with the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981

So if we then consider that the full PFA is exactly placed into the category as being that required for Early Years Settings (as noted in the EYFS and above) to comply with the HSE requirements, then it means the e-learning and blended options do not count as part of your EYFS requirements. Now, the question becomes what does all this mean?  Through the ambiguity of the language used in all relevant documents, you could, in theory at least, attempt to justify an e-learning or blended course for all the staff in your setting.   However, as stated earlier, we do not take the safety of children lightly, would always recommend face to face training and will not be offering blended learning as a option on any of our Paediatric First Aid Courses until such time as we have had confirmation from the DfE and Ofsted that is will count as part of the EYFS requirements.  This blog isn’t a plea to use us as a training provider, use the company you feel most comfortable with, but please make sure to make an informed decision rather than rely on someone else telling you what training your team requires.

Our advice on what First Aid Qualifications are worth achieving

Not sure you want to make the decision on your own, and want some advice from me?  Here you go then:
  • The EYFS dictates that you need to have at least one member of staff with a full qualification on site at all times.  I would recommend that you had at least 3 people with the full 12 hour qualification, achieved face to face, to help cope with holidays, illness, shifts and lunches. Remember the EYFS requires you to have one person with full PFA on site at all times and on any outings.
  • I would suggest you get these staff their qualification through a training company that can offer an Ofqual or CIEH approved qualification, or through the Voluntary Aid Societies.  This gives plenty of options (us included) across a wide range of prices and locations.
  • Staff that are not your designated First Aider can have any level of first aid qualification including none, unless they are recently qualified (see below).  I would recommend that at least one member of staff per area of your nursery is trained in Emergency Paediatric First Aid.  This is more cost effective than a blended course, and allows these staff to deal with emergency situations; this is perfect, because for non-emergency situations they will have time to find the fully qualified First Aider.
  • Newly qualified staff since 30th June 2016 must have either a full PFA or an emergency PFA certificate to be included in the required staff:child ratios at level 2 or level 3 in an early years setting.  Exceptions exist for staff who are physically unable to complete a First Aid qualification.
  • There is no need to do a First Aid at Work qualification (unless your nursery is very large), I wrote about this here.

About the author: Matt Stanford

Matt Stanford
Matt has been working in education for 10 years, teaching science to all ages from preschool to degree. Before he became a teacher he studied chemistry at Masters level and completed his PhD at The University of Warwick. It was during his time at university that he got involved in outreach work in local primary schools and found his passion for inspiring learning.

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