Health

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

  • 16 May 2011
  • From the section Health
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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation training (CPR)
Life-saving skills include dealing with cardiac arrests and heart attacks, serious bleeding and choking.

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.

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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