Press release

New ‘gold standard’ in paediatric first aid launched

'Millie's Mark' is a new initiative to improve first aid training in early years settings in memory of a 9-month-old girl who died in 2012.

Joanne and Dan Thompson with Sam Gyimah at the launch of 'Millie's Mark' paediatric first aid standard

A new initiative to help improve paediatric first aid training in early years settings has been launched today by Education and Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah, in memory of a 9-month-old girl who tragically died in 2012.

Millie Thompson passed away after choking on her lunch while at nursery in Stockport. Since her death, Millie’s parents Joanne and Dan have campaigned for a new ‘gold standard’ certificate to be created in recognition of early years childcare providers that train all their staff in paediatric first aid, going above and beyond the minimum legal requirements.

The quality mark – which has been developed by the Department for Education (DfE), National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Thompsons – will be known as ‘Millie’s Mark’ and will help to give parents assurance that every staff member that cares for their child is trained in these important, life-saving skills.

Speaking at the NDNA annual conference in Milton Keynes, Mr Gyimah will call on nurseries and other early years providers to apply for the quality mark so that as many members of staff are trained in paediatric first aid as possible.

He is expected to say:

“As a parent myself, I know there is nothing more important than the safety and security of our children. We trust the staff looking after them will have the right training should anything happen while they are in their care.

“That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the Department for Education has awarded the National Day Nurseries Association the contract to deliver a voluntary quality mark for nursery providers that have trained all of their staff in paediatric first aid.

“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Millie’s parents, Joanne and Dan, who have campaigned tirelessly in their daughter’s memory to reduce the chances of such tragic accidents happening in future. It is hoped that, over time, this initiative will help ensure that as many staff members as possible are trained in these important, life-saving skills.

“I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with NDNA and Millie’s parents, and to seeing the early years providers that go over and above to help keep our children safe.”

Also speaking at the conference, Joanne Thompson is expected to say:

“Millie’s Mark is a direct outcome of our campaign as parents, for parents. Following the loss of our darling daughter Millie, we strive to encourage nurseries to be exemplary in paediatric first aid practice and we are looking forward to seeing the first Millie’s Mark being awarded later in the year.”

NDNA Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, said:

“We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to develop and deliver Millie’s Mark. We believe passionately that it will make a difference in keeping children safe.

“Millie’s Mark will soon be well known to parents all over the country as a clear indicator of the highest standards in keeping children safe from harm.

“Seeing that a nursery has achieved Millie’s Mark will help parents make informed decisions when they are choosing childcare and it will be great for nurseries to show how serious they are about providing the best services possible.”

From summer 2016, early years settings in England will be eligible to apply to be accredited with this unique quality mark that will provide parents with the assurance that their child is being cared for by safe and knowledgeable staff. The quality mark will be in addition to the existing statutory requirements for paediatric first aid that all early years providers must meet as a legal requirement.

A total of 10 nurseries, chosen from more than 200 applicants, have been taking part in a pilot to thoroughly test the new standards that settings will be required to demonstrate. These nurseries will be the first to receive Millie’s Mark.

Alongside the launch of Millie’s Mark, the government has today published a response to the consultation on changing the paediatric first aid requirements in the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS). The majority of those who responded were in favour of increasing the number of paediatric first aiders in early years settings.

So, from this September [2016], all newly qualified level 2 and level 3 staff must also have either a full paediatric first aid certificate or an emergency paediatric first aid certificate to count in the required staff to child ratios.

This will mean an extra 15,000 staff a year coming into the sector with paediatric first aid training, providing vital reassurance to parents that their children will be well cared for, particularly in an emergency. Paediatric first aid training has also been shown to increase safety awareness, so reducing the likelihood of accidents occurring and staff confidence especially when helping children with complex medical needs.


  1. You can find out more information about Millie’s Mark, first aid and Joanne and Dan Thompson on their website and you can read Joanne’s blog which documents her personal journey following Millie’s death.

  2. The NDNA workforce survey demonstrated that 72% of nursery workers within NDNA-member nurseries hold a paediatric first aid qualification, which far exceeds that which is required by law.

  3. Delivering Millie’s Mark will build on the work that NDNA carried out last year in working with nurseries to produce a series of case studies of exemplary practice in first aid training in England.

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Published 4 July 2016