The requirement for at least one person who has a full PFA certificate to be on the premises at all times when children are present remains in place where there are children below the age of 24 months. Paragraph 3.25 and annex A of the EYFS set out more detail. However, if children are aged 2 to 5 within a setting, providers must use their ‘best endeavours’ to ensure one person with a full PFA certificate is on-site when children are present. If after using best endeavours they are still unable to secure a member of staff with full PFA to be on-site then they must carry out a written risk assessment and ensure that someone with a current first aid at work or emergency PFA certification is on-site at all times children are on premises.
‘Best endeavours’ means to identify and take all the steps possible within your power, which could, if successful, ensure there is a paediatric first aider on-site when a setting is open, as per the usual EYFS requirement on PFA.
Please note this does not apply for childminders as they must already have a full PFA certificate.
New entrants (levels 2 and 3) will not need to hold a PFA certificate within their first 3 months in order to be counted in staff: child ratios, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Additionally, if PFA certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended to 25 November 2020 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020.
If asked to do so providers should be able to explain why the first aider has not been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps have taken to access the training. Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity. The practical elements of PFA courses should be delivered face to face, so that competency can be properly assessed.
Providers remain responsible for ensuring all children in their care are kept safe at all times.
For providers with children below the age of 24 months in their care, the requirements around PFA remain the same as in the current EYFS framework, with the exception that during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak new entrants do not need to have a PFA certificate to be counted in ratios. This is in recognition of the greater risk factors for babies and young children in this age bracket, including choking risks and different cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedures for those aged 0-1 as set out by the NHS.
For providers who have children aged 2 to 5 in their care they must use ‘best endeavours’ to have one person with full PFA, as set out in the EYFS, onsite. By best endeavours we mean providers must be able to demonstrate they have identified and taken all the steps possible to appoint a suitable person. This should include:
After these actions have been carried out and if it is still not possible for someone with a full PFA certificate to be on site at all times children are present, providers must undertake the following actions in order to remain open:
The written risk assessment should take into account all relevant factors with the aim of enabling the setting to ensure they can provide the safe care needed by children of critical workers and vulnerable children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including:
Providers will need to ensure the written risk assessment is kept available in the setting. This does not need to be sent anywhere but must be available on request.
Providers could help members of staff who have a first aid at work or emergency PFA certificate to help bridge the gap between their current qualification and full PFA by looking to secure online training to cover elements required for the care of young children.
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The validity of current certificates can be extended to 25 November 2020 at the latest.
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