Press release:

Ten nurseries across England have become the first to achieve Millie’s Mark, the new quality mark for excellence in paediatric first aid for early years settings.

The status was created by charity Millie’s Trust with the Department for Education and is being administered by National Day Nurseries Association.

First awards have been made to nurseries that took part in a pilot ahead of last month’s full go-live, after achieving the detailed and rigorous criteria involved.

Millie’s Mark is being awarded to nurseries where all staff members who work with children are qualified in paediatric first aid and who have well-deployed first aid processes.

The process takes three to six months and involves intensive support from an NDNA mentor, completion of an audit, risk assessment and spot checks.

All nurseries achieving Millie’s Mark have their own individual policies and procedures in exemplary practice.

Co-operative Childcare Newburn, near Newcastle Upon Tyne, for example, operates a buddy system where staff who are newly-qualified in first aid are supported by more experienced colleagues to help them gain confidence. Granby Carlton Nursery in Nottinghamshire runs six-monthly refresher courses on first aid for all staff.

Stephanie Beschizza, manager of Elm Cottage Nursery in Cheadle Hulme, said: “Being part of the pilot for Millie’s Mark and achieving the award has been such an achievement for our nursery.  It helped us to reflect on our practice and realise our many strengths surrounding paediatric first aid as well as evaluating what we could do further to improve on standards.

“We will be proud to inform our parents that we have this award and hope this is a reassuring factor for them when leaving their children in our care.”

Millie’s Trust was formed in 2012 by Joanne and Dan Thompson, whose daughter Millie died after choking on food at her nursery in Stockport. The Trust has campaigned tirelessly for all early years staff to be trained in paediatric first aid.

Joanne Thompson said: “As Millie’s parents, we are extremely proud that Millie’s Mark is our daughter’s legacy and we are so pleased that the first ten nurseries in England have now received their award. The response from the sector has been fantastic and we are pleased that so many nurseries across England have already made an application for the mark.

“For parents, choosing a nursery with the mark allows them to have confidence in the paediatric first aid training that the people looking after their children will have”.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “Millie’s Mark is a fantastic achievement for these nurseries. It will give reassurance for parents and help keep young children safe in nurseries across the country.

“We hope it will help parents make an informed choice about childcare.”

The full roll of honour includes HeadStart Day Nursery in Horsham; Happy Tots Preschool Play Group in Ipswich; Little People Nursery in Shepherds Bush, London; Sansway House Day Nursery in Bristol; Elm Cottage and North Cheshire Jewish Nursery in Greater Manchester; Granby Nursery in Worksop; Cooperative Childcare Newburn in Newcastle Upon Tyne; Nature Trails Day Nursery in Rugby and Turnbridge Day Nursery in Goole.

Go to www.milliesmark.com for more information.


More about Millie’s Mark

Criteria to achieve Millie’s Mark requires settings to have 100% of staff working directly with children qualified in paediatric first aid but also stipulates that the learning is kept in the forefront of practitioners’ minds, so they are confident, ready and capable, should an emergency occur.

The process takes three to six month and accreditation lasts for three years.

Applicants are allocated a Millie’s Mark mentor to guide them through the entire process, check the criteria can be met by the end of the six months and answer any questions.

Nurseries must undergo a setting audit examining paediatric first aid processes and procedures.

The audit requires evidence of staff deployment, due diligence process, staffing and ongoing paediatric first aid training during the Millie’s Mark three year cycle, partnerships with parents and external stakeholders, policies and assessment documents and use these to inform improvement, staff confidence and training and a floor plan review.

If areas for improvement are identified, the mentor will work with the setting to develop an action plan to support improvement.

When all the steps are complete, applicants must upload the evidence to the Millie’s Mark website. An assessor is allocated to check and evaluate this material when it has been completed. The Millie’s Mark assessment panel then makes the final decision on whether to award accreditation.

Once achieving Millie’s Mark, some settings will be subject to a spot check assessment on site, with notification the day before the visit. This method of assessment keeps costs to a minimum for settings while ensuring the quality and integrity of the assessment process.

Settings awarded Millie’s Mark are listed at www.milliesmark.com


Two case studies:

Millie’s Mark case study from the Co-operative Childcare – Newburn

The Co-operative Childcare Newburn ensures all colleagues complete their Paediatric First Aid Training as close to their start date as possible and renew this every three years. The setting also implements a buddy system for colleagues, to help them build confidence and knowledge in their role. The buddy is a more confident and experienced practitioner who can support, advise and share good practice to less confident colleagues.

When deploying staff, the nursery looks at team dynamics and considers individual areas of strength.  For example, colleagues who are less confident in a certain area work with colleagues who have experience and knowledge in that specific area. This also works the same with Paediatric First Aid training, so if colleagues return and feel nervous implementing first aid they are provided with a buddy in their room to support.

The buddy system is a great support for colleagues as it helps less confident practitioners to feel supported, and offers opportunity for more experienced or more confident staff to have extra responsibilities and feel valued. They buddy their colleagues through questioning each other and sharing rhymes to use as a prompt in situations, such as: “if they are pale raise their tail, if they are red raise their head”. They also share fact sheets, advice card and resources.

Feedback from colleagues in one-to-one meetings and team meetings has been good, with less confident colleagues gaining knowledge and reflecting upon first aid in their daily practices so if a situation arises they know exactly what to do. It also provides the opportunity to ask questions if they are unsure providing reassurance and encouragement.

This process provides reassurance that all first aid incidents are dealt with efficiently and correctly. It ensures that colleagues can handle a situation effectively, safely, confidently and with care along with not being afraid to ask for help. We also do peer observations which provide opportunity for reflection and to share constructive feedback regularly.

All accidents and incidents are recorded and signed by management. In cases where first aid was administered, management checks the forms and parents are informed if required; these are then logged and any trends with accidents and incidents are shared with the team to help minimise these where possible. Parents see that the forms are checked by management and feel reassured that all colleagues are trained in first aid and supported to administer this with confidence, making it a little easier for them to leave their child in our care.


Millie’s Mark journey by Granby Nurseries – Carlton

Granby Nurseries is a family-run business with three sites. Granby Carlton is situated in a small village on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire, and the nursery offers a wide range of outdoor learning for children of all ages, with Forest School available for children over three-years-old.

Manager Jacqui Hannaby said of her Millie’s Mark journey: “As the manager of an outstanding setting I am always looking at ways to improve and better our practice, and I was drawn to the Millie’s Mark accreditation immediately.

“As a setting we were already 100% first aid trained – this is part of our practitioners’ continued professional development. However, embarking on the accreditation did open up areas for development, which have now been put in place. We researched the company that we currently use for first aid training and learnt more about their background, which encouraged our setting to also research other companies used by new practitioners that had studied first aid prior to employment. We wanted to ensure that all companies were teaching the same qualification.

“We will make sure we are up-to-date with all current issues and have now implemented a six monthly in-house refresher course; this will be run in conjunction with our training provider, and will also ensure that all practitioners are competent and confident, should they need to use first aid.

“The audit enabled me as a manager to reflect on our practice, and changes have been made to parents’ inductions. The process was lengthy and thorough; however it made my setting more reflective and aware of first aid as a whole.

“I would highly recommend the accreditation. We now have a Millie’s Mark working tool that we use regularly, which enables the setting to audit as a whole and keep up-to-date with practitioners’ qualifications, and implement a rolling training programme.”

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