Schools 'should teach how to save a life', says charity

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation training (CPR) Life-saving skills include dealing with cardiac arrests and heart attacks, serious bleeding and choking.

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A heart charity is calling on the government to include the teaching of life-saving skills in the national curriculum.

In a survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation, 73% of schoolchildren wanted to learn how to resuscitate someone and give first aid.

More than 75% of teachers and parents also agreed it should be taught in schools.

The survey questioned 2,000 parents, 1,000 children and 500 teachers.

The BHF wants emergency life support skills (ELS) to be taught as part of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) lessons and alongside physical education, citizenship and science.

Life-saving skills include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which can help someone who's had a cardiac arrest.

It also covers how to deal with an unconscious person, serious bleeding, choking and heart attacks.

Latest figures show that in 2007 around 100,000 people had a heart attack in England.

Start Quote

It's down to heads to set a curriculum which best meets the needs of their pupils.”

End Quote Department of Education spokesman
Up to heads

A spokesman from the Department of Education said there was nothing stopping schools teaching these life-saving skills already.

"It's down to heads to set a curriculum which best meets the needs of their pupils.

"We are carrying out a root and branch reform of the national curriculum to set out the essential academic knowledge that children need, while leaving schools free to decide how to teach it.

"We know that high-quality PSHE is important - that's why it will remain a compulsory part of the curriculum, but we trust teachers to design lessons to suit their pupils."

Maura Gillespie, head of policy and public affairs at the BHF, said teaching these skills was crucial.

"Teaching young people how to save a life is as important as learning to read and write. They are skills which equip them for real situations they might face in their lives."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    Teachers already have quadruple the work they can effectively manage. Initiatives come from everywhere and although many are important, they don't magic new time in order to teach them.

    Even though these skills are vital, the government needs to look at completely streamlining the curriculum and the teacher time sapping paperwork.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Many countries already include this as normal, basic first aid should be seen as a simple procedure and all public should be expected to have good basic understanding. The foundation to first aid, includes responsibility about dangers to self and others, this then can start to pave way in reducing several of the H&S rerstrictions, by each person taking more control.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Just got back from Norway - where I was watching children being trained on water safety and CPR - average age ~ 10yo.

    Children are probably best placed to be the 'first' aider on the scene - especially in the home - so it would be a very good decision to teach children what needs to be done.

    ...leaving it to the professionals is not a life saving technique.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    I am a First Aid instructor. To some degree Kelly's comments are right, alot of people think you may be taken to court if they do something wrong and someone dies. This is not likely to happen if you try your best to help someone and you do not do any thing daft. Please go on a course and learn the very simple life saving techniques a heart attack casualty is more likely to die if you do nothing!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    As a retired school nursing sister I can confirm that children in schools in my area were being given instruction in CPR 20 years ago. Starting at a very basic level and increasing that knowledge as the child went through his/her school life. An essential tool,for every day living, if only to put someone into the recovery position to maintain an airway.


Comments 5 of 11


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