First Aid Needs Assessment

First Aid Needs Assessment for Schools

There are three areas of guidance/legislation that a school should consider when carrying out a first aid needs assessment:

  • Children under 5
  • Children over 5
  • Adults

Children under 5:

As part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), there is a requirement for early years settings who care for 0 to 5 year olds to have a first aider who has completed a specific course in paediatric first aid available at all times. The EYFS specifies the topics that should be covered on the course and a minimum duration of 12 hours.

There are 2 parts to the EYFS, the Statutory Framework and Guidance. Both can be downloaded here: (search for 'first aid').

Children over 5:

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) produced Guidance on First Aid for Schools: A Good Practice Guide in 1996. This guide has not yet been updated to reflect the new HSE guidance, but if you include staff, pupils and visitors when performing the new-style HSE First Aid Needs Assessment, you will satisfy the existing guidance from the DCSF as this document refers to the HSE providing guidance on the numbers of first-aid personnel.

You can download the DCSF guide at:


The legislation that covers first aid for adults in the workplace is the First Aid at Work Act. On 1st October 2009, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) updated guidance for employers.

As an employer, a school is legally required to undertake a First Aid Needs Assessment in line with the new HSE guidance. Full details of how to perform a new-style First Aid Needs Assessment can be found as an appendix to this document.

Other Considerations for Schools:

Off-site activities (e.g. school trips)

If first aid personnel accompany pupils off-site, there should be adequate first-aid provision both in the school and on the trip.

Out of hour's activities

Adequate provision is needed at all times including before and after school clubs, residential visits and sports activities etc.

Lunch and breaks times

As prompt first aid cover should be available at all times, first aid training for lunchtime supervisors should be considered.

Specific needs

Staff or pupils with any special health needs or disabilities should be considered.

For more information on the Changes to Health & Safety First Aid at Work Regulations and a Guide to Carrying out a First Aid Needs download the full document here.