Compliance update: First aid renewals and extensions
Following the latest announcements regarding the national restrictions in place to fight the spread of COVID-19, further guidance has been published in relation to first aid coverage in schools, nurseries and workplaces. This includes the Department for Education’s (DfE) and Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) stance on qualifications that are due to expire, or expired during previous lockdown periods.
In response to the large number of enquiries that we’ve received from friends and colleagues across the education sector, we’ve pulled together this email in order to answer the following questions…
- Can first aid training still take place during lockdown?
- Can staff travel to attend first aid training?
- Can training take place in-house whilst schools are closed?
- What has happened to qualifications that have expired, or are due to expire?
- Can first aid training take place online instead of face-to-face?
- Is it safe to undertake first aid training?
- How can I access or arrange a first aid course?
1: Can first aid training still take place during lockdown?
Yes – since June 2020 training has been allowed to take place in order to enable employers to comply with their statutory duties in relation to health, safety and wellbeing. For schools and educational settings, this includes your responsibilities under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, the Early Years Statutory Framework and Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions guidance.
However, all first aid training must be delivered in a COVID-secure way. It is important that you have confidence in the procedures in place to manage this prior to booking training. Read more about what to look out for, and how Edenfield is keeping learners safe, below.
2: Can staff travel to attend first aid training?
Yes – whilst it is important that we all “stay at home” where possible, individuals are able to travel for the purposes of formal education or training. As a provider we are able to provide (on request) evidence that learners are away from home for a permitted purpose.
Where individuals are travelling to attend training, it is important that they avoid car sharing with anyone from outside their household or support bubble, and that they follow national guidance when using public transport.
[This update has been provided by the UK Government]
3: Can training take place in-house whilst schools are closed?
Yes – under current restrictions, many premises are closed to the public or are prohibited from carrying our their usual activities. This of course includes schools and colleges, with the exception of vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
Settings can still be used for the purposes of education and training, assuming that this can be accommodated safely in accordance with an agreed COVID-19 risk assessment. We are able to support you in ensuring that your venue is suitable for the safe delivery of training.
[This update has been provided by the UK Government]
4: What has happened to qualifications that have expired, or are due to expire?
Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) and First Aid at Work (FAW)
The HSE has provided a number of extensions for holders of first aid certificates who have been unable to renew/re-qualify due to the coronavirus pandemic. FAW or EFAW certificates that expired after 16 March 2020 can remain valid until 31 October 2020 or six months from date of expiry, whichever is later. However, all renewals for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.
Below are a few examples of how this applies in practice…
- Certificates that originally expired between 16 March and 30 April 2020 – Expired on 31 October 2020 under the extensions.
- Certificates that originally expired between 1 May and 30 September 2020 – Add six months to the expiry date (i.e. expired on 1 August now have until 1 February etc)
- Certificates that expire(d) between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 – New expiry date of 31 March 2021 under the extensions.
- Certificates that expire after 31 March 2021 – No change.
Paediatric First Aid
It states that if certificate re-qualification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the coronavirus pandemic, or by complying with related government advice, the validity of certificates that expired on or after 1 October 2020 can be extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest.
This applies to paediatric first aiders in provision registered on the General Childcare Register as well as Ofsted registered early years provision. Childminders can also apply this extension.
It should be noted that if asked to do so, providers should be able to explain why the first aider has not been able to re-qualify and demonstrate what steps have taken to access the training. Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange re-qualification training at the earliest opportunity.
[This update has been provided by the DfE]
5: Can first aid training take place online instead of face-to-face?
Online learning (including self-paced eLearning and live ‘virtual classroom’ sessions) can complement face-to-face delivery to form blended first aid training. However, neither the HSE or DfE recognise online learning as a substitute for face-to-face training. This is due to the highly practical nature of the subject, and the need for learners to demonstrate their assessment and approach to a range of scenarios.
There are a number of providers offering ‘fully online’ alternatives to first aid courses. This is concerning, as settings and workplaces opting for these solutions (in good faith) may find themselves non-compliant with their statutory responsibilities.
The First Aid Awarding Organisation Forum and First Aid Quality Partnership, which oversee standardisation and quality in first aid training, have issued guidance stating the minimum amount of face-to-face contact required for blended learning…
- Emergency First Aid at Work – total course duration six hours / minimum four hours face-to-face.
- First Aid at Work – total course duration 18 hours / minimum 12 hours face-to-face.
- First Aid at Work Re-qualification – total course duration 12 hours / minimum six hours face-to-face.
- Emergency Paediatric First Aid – all six hours must be delivered face-to-face.
- Paediatric First Aid – total course duration 12 hours / minimum six hours face-to-face.
We have a range of blended learning options available (including eLearning and virtual classroom delivery), to help you reduce the amount of face-to-face delivery as far as possible, whilst remaining compliant with training standards. Feel free to contact us to discuss this in more detail.
6: Is it safe to undertake first aid training?
Whilst we can’t speak for other providers, as far as Edenfield are concerned yes, first aid training is being delivered in a safe, hygienic and COVID-secure way. Since the beginning or the coronavirus emergency back in January 2020, we have invested heavily in making sure that our learners feel completely safe whilst undertaking training with us.
On each and every one of our courses we…
- Have redesigned our course programmes and our training rooms (for open courses) and discuss carefully the suitability of spaces with clients (for on-site training) to ensure we’re strictly adhering to the guidance around social distancing, hygiene and infection control.
- Unlike other providers, are able to provide enough equipment (such as resuscitation manikins and bandages) for learners to have their own throughout the course wherever possible, with not need to share with others.
- Have adapted our assessment methods temporarily, so that we can ensure learner safety whilst meeting our qualifications’ learning outcomes.
…most importantly, this means that on any of our courses there is no/minimal physical contact between learners, and no sharing or transfer of equipment. On occasions where this is necessary, there are strict and thorough control measures in place and equipment (including PPE and sanitiser products) available for learners to use.
7: How can I access or arrange a first aid course?
Public (open) courses
Public courses are ideal for settings and workplaces who have individuals who need training, and are booked in a ‘per person’ basis.
Whilst a number of our training centres are unfortunately closed at the moment, we still have a series of forthcoming courses listed (and available to book) on our website.
If you’re unsure of which course you need, please feel free to contact our advice line for an informal (and no-obligation) chat..
Group (on-site) training
Our group training solutions are designed for groups of learners, and take place at your setting or an agreed suitable venue. Our team of friendly and experienced trainers are spread across the UK and are on-hand to deliver on a day / time that suits you (including INSET and twilight sessions).
To discuss your needs, contact our advice line on the details above or to make a booking (or enquire about pricing), simply complete the short enquiry form on our website. A member of the team will then contact you same-day to make the arrangements!
We hope to speak soon…
As we’ve mentioned, if you have a query that isn’t listed above, or would like to discuss anything in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact our advice line.