ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

First Aid For Schools, A Good Practice Guide

Updated on April 23, 2017
First Aid in school needs willing adults - first and foremost.
First Aid in school needs willing adults - first and foremost.

First Aid Is Important In Schools

The title sounds like it is stating the obvious but how much do you know about first aid in your child's school?

  • If your child needed first aid in school, would they know what to do?

  • If a friend of your child had a severe allergic reaction in school, could they help? Would they know who to ask for help? Is there a list of First Aid givers in school?

  • Where should they go? Who should they ask? Does the friend have medication with them?

Have I made you think? Have I at least piqued your interest in this topic?

Schools should never underestimate their responsibility to provide First Aid to children - although it is not a legal requirement, it is certainly a central part of children's 'care'

First Aid Good Practice - Where To Start?

For the purpose of this article, it is almost impossible to take a generic approach. I work in a large UK primary school so I am basing my advice on my own experiences and findings.

In the UK, primary schools have children from age 3 to 11; quite an age range and the first aid requirements can differ across that age range.

In my own experience, children at the lower age range suffer more injury from falling down - grazes and scrapes and bumping into one another in the playground. There are also more bites at this age (though this usually gets better).

Children in the upper age range also bump into one another and other things a lot so bumps to elbows and heads are very common. They also fall down playing games like football, rugby or tig. They are not very careful with things like balls, bats and racquets so you get more nose bleeds and black eyes. Oh and of course, they fight more; whether we like it or not, some of them are more aggressive and competitive at this age than little 4 year olds.

Do I make them sound accident-prone? Well, children ARE accident prone.

Most of their injuries occur during what is usually termed 'undirected play' - break times; time when they can relax with their friends and have fun.

At morning break times, there are teachers on duty in the playgrounds and at lunch times, there are Supervisory Assistants ('dinner ladies') but the ratio of adults to children is about 1:30 so invariably, accidents are going to occur.

There are more acccidents when the sun is shining - because more children will be outside in the warmth, laughing, skipping, running, playing ball and having fun - it is natural that you will get more accidents if there are more children outside.

The important thing to do is BE PREPARED.

What First Aid Support Does Your School Need?

Staff in schools have no statutory responsibility for providing First Aid to children but it would be a very negligent school indeed which didn't provide some form of first aid treatment.

One thing a school is supposed to ensure they have though, is a person who is 'designated' to oversee first aid duties- this person may not be someone who actually delivers first aid, though that would be preferable but they do need to co-ordinate first aid in their school.

  • They need to provide first aid supplies and hopefully delegate staff to do first aid duties.
  • They need to make sure there are systems in place for delivery and reporting first aid incidences.
  • They need to know what to do if a child has a severe injury - do they need to go to hospital? Does an ambulance need to be called?

First Aiders - Staff With Responsibility for First Aid

Staff in schools usually fall into two broad categories - teaching staff and non-teaching or 'support' staff.

The support staff cover anybody who works in a school who does not teach - your caretaker or site manager, your office manager, secretary, cleaners, classroom assistants, nursery nurses and lunchtime supervisory assistants.

Ideally, at least two or three teachers might complete a first aiders training courses but because of recent bureaucracy in the British education sector and the institution of the National Agreement in 2003, less teachers seem inclined to want to take responsibility for first aid - it has, in recent years, fallen to support staff to fill the gap.

My school has about 650 children and has 10 first aiders - all of whom are support staff.

Thankfully 4 of those staff are supervisory assistants (dinner ladies) which gives good coverage over the lunchtime when most accidents in schools seem to happen during 'undirected' play.

Schools also need to take responsibility for children on school educational visits - school 'trips' - usually, for an indoor visit, you should ring ahead and ensure that a first-aider is on site. This will mean you don't need to take a first-aider with you, just a first-aid kit for on the bus on the way there and back.

However, for an outdoor visit, the school MUST ensure a first-aider goes on the educational visit.

As you can imagine, in a big school, where classroom assistants are supporting particular year groups, this is often very difficult - you are robbing Peter to pay Paul, stealing a classroom assistant from a teacher to ensure you have met your legal requirements.

The current coalition government are currently changing the law in regard to educational visits - this is in keeping with their more 'hands off' arrangements to education.

Schools have also started giving children some basic first aid advice - especially in secondary schools.

Typical First Aid box for use on school trips.
Typical First Aid box for use on school trips.

Essential First Aid Equipment

Luckily, the designated first-aider is well served these days by the internet where you can get lots of really useful advice about what first aid supplies your school will need.

Even thinking on your feet, you know that you will need band-aids, bandages, cold compresses, finger stools, dressings, scissors, cleansing wipes, plastic gloves,first aid boxes.

I could go on of course but if you click on the blue link above this will give you all the info you will need up to a point.

One thing that you MUST do though, before you buy anything, is gather your stats together first.

This is vital to getting first aid in school right, if you do not take this step first, you will not get it right.

  • How many children do you have in school?
  • Have you carried out a survey of your outdoor sites?
  • Have you completed risk assessments for those sites?
  • Have you looked at indoor risks in corridors, toilets, dining centre, doorways, lobbies and classrooms?
  • Have you completed risk assessments for those sites?
  • Do your children complete a Pupil/Learner Information Form?
  • Is 'Medical Conditions' included on this form?
  • Has the Designated First Aider looked at every one of the forms and created a report of all children with a medical condition?
  • Do any children have severe allergies? Where is their Epipen kept? Where is a spare kept? Where are inhalers kept for children with asthma?
  • Where is this list kept?
  • Who has been made aware of it?
  • Is it changed every year to reflect that the child has moved into a new class with a new teacher?

I bet you are thinking that this seems excessive but these are children remember and you are 'in loco parentis' and the school has 'a duty of care' to look after the children whilst under the school's roof.

Ofsted may want to see your accident books. They may ask to see your first aider's incident books and they may ask to see your first aid book. Ofsted will concentrate 99.9% on childrens' teaching and learning but the .1% will be about childrens' safeguarding and care - and first aid is central to that care.

An ideal first aid room looks like this - most schools would never have enough space for a room like this one.
An ideal first aid room looks like this - most schools would never have enough space for a room like this one.

First Aid Rooms Or Spaces

I work in a brand spanking new building - it has a room which is used for storage at one and has a similar storage room further along the corridor - we have designated both of these rooms as first aid stations.

There are ample supplies of everything in both rooms and a number of ready to use first aid kits for use on school trips. Nobody is mooching around looking for first aid supplies because everybody was informed at a staff meeting where to find it.

And we have bold signage throughout the school to let staff and visitors know where first aid can be found.

First Aiders wear a First Aid badge.

A list of all first aiders is hung up in every corridor in school.

This may all sound like overkill but you will need to ensure your first aid is a systematic process of lists, reports, reportage, feedback, parental support and staff support.

Not all children are as able as Thorward - they need a First Aider

Some statistics to ponder

In the last 30 years, the rate of cases of childhood diabetes in the UK has increased threefold - they all go to school.

In Europe and the USA, Type 2 diabetes has become more common in children, previously it was unheard of, it is associated with adults. This is thought to be down to the rise in childhood obesity - they all go to school.

In the USA, about 8% of children have at least one food allergy. Of those with an allergy at least 33% of these are severe allergies - they all go to school.

If a child is too young to self medicate - their parent might come into school to medicate them if needed but if the parent is unable to, the first aider will need to be trained to do this - they all go to school.

First Aiders are worth their weight in gold - and do they get paid for the responsibility?

Yes, they receive the princely sum of £100 per year! £8.30 a month less tax.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Michelle, thanks for your comment - a teacher doing a first aid course would be a rare event in my old school, they don't want the hassle - lots of support staff did the training though (just as well!).

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      I underwent a first aid course as teacher and know some basic first aid. It's useful training for anyone, Jools. Thanks for the share....and highlighting the necessity of first aid in schools. Votes up and away!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      jpcmc - thanks for your comment. It is good that the Red Cross are also involved. I think they have an amazing reputation.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      The school where my wife works recently had a first aid training for the staff and teachers. They are also considering the Red Cross Youth program fromn the local chapter.

      First aid is an important skill to have. Even children can do it when given proper instructions. Voted Up.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 6 years ago from North-East UK

      Lyn, they really are worth their weight in gold. One of our First Aiders even came to the rescue with one of our children on her day off. She was in the supermarket when the child started to choke on a lollipop. She had to do Heimlich Manoeuvre.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      First aiders don't get paid much do they. Especially considering the responsibility they have. voted up and interesting


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)