A teenage girls with a first aid mannequin on a first aid for schools course.

School children to be taught cpr and first aid in schools

First aid is to be added to the school curriculum from 2020

The Department for Education confirmed in January that from 2020 onwards, all state-funded schools in England will be required to teach CPR and first aid as part of children’s health education.

Why should first aid be taught in schools?

The Every Child A Lifesaver Campaign, which includes the British Heart Foundation, the Resuscitation Council (UK) and First Aid organisations like Safe and Sound has argued for over a decade that learning life-saving skills should be included in the school curriculum and here’s why:

• More than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur out of hospital every year in the UK, and fewer than one in 10 people survive. Evidence shows that survival rates from cardiac arrest are up to three times higher in countries that teach CPR in schools. If, for example,, we could match the survival rates of Norway where CPR is routinely taught in secondary schools, then it would be possible to save around 5,000 lives per year in the UK.

• According to The British Red Cross “up to 59% of deaths by injury could be prevented in the UK if first aid was given prior to the arrival of medical services.”

The decision to add first aid to the curriculum was finally taken after Lord Kerslake’s inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 found that members of the public tried to help the injured and dying but lacked the requisite skills.

Whilst the inquiry into the blast, which killed 22 people, praised the public response, it raised concerns that people on the scene were “trying their very best in genuinely harrowing circumstances” but “did not appear familiar with first aid principles”.

When do schools have to start teaching First Aid in Schools and CPR?

All state-funded schools in England must teach children First Aid and CPR from September 2020. Schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not part of the new curriculum.

What types of first aid are children going to be taught?

Statutory guidance for Health Education  sets out the first aid to be covered in primary and secondary schools:

Primary Schools – by the end of primary school, pupils should know:

• how to make a clear and efficient call to emergency services if necessary
• concepts of basic first-aid, for example dealing with common injuries, including head injuries

Secondary Schools – by the end of secondary school pupils should know
• basic treatment for common injuries and illnesses
• life-saving skills, including how to administer CPR
• the purpose of defibrillators and when one might be needed.

How long does it take to teach CPR and first aid?

A CPR session can be completed in anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on what’s included.
Basic first aid sessions can be completed in short sessions from as little as 30 minutes, depending on which topics are covered.
Suggested topics to cover in first aid lessons include:
• Recognising an emergency situation and reacting appropriately when someone falls ill or has an accident
• Making sure that you and the casualty are safe whilst waiting for professional help to arrive
• Helping someone who is not breathing – CPR
• Helping someone who is unresponsive – keeping the airway open (recovery position)
• Helping someone who is choking
• Helping someone who is bleeding
• Helping someone with a suspected heart attack

Do teachers support the introduction of life-saving skills in the curriculum?

In a survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation in 2011 , 86% of teachers supported the introduction of life-saving skills into the school curriculum.

Can teachers teach CPR and First Aid?

Yes teachers who have completed CPR training themselves can teach pupils. However, an international study carried out by the BMJ showed that one of the main barriers to implementation of CPR training in secondary schools is that teachers did not feel confident enough in their own CPR skills to teach this subject to their pupils.

Implementing CPR and First Aid training into your school curriculum

One way of introducing CPR and basic first aid training to your school is to have teachers trained in these subjects and in how to deliver this training effectively to their pupils

How long does it take to train a teacher to teach CPR and basic first aid?

The train the teacher course lasts 6 hours (one day). As well as giving teaching staff the skills and knowledge to confidently perform and teach CPR, the course will give them the tools they need to structure and deliver fun and engaging first aid lessons to their pupils

How much does it cost to train a teacher to teach CPR and basic first aid?

On site courses cost around £650 for a group of up to 12 teachers. Open courses for individual teachers cost around £150

If school staff do not want to teach CPR you can use an external first aid training company like Safe and Sound to come in and teach your pupils.

What equipment does a school need to teach CPR and basic first aid?

• Resuscitation manikins – ideally, there should be one manikin used between no more than two pupils (16 in total for a class of 32). Secondary schools may be eligible for a free kit (10 manikins) from the BHF.

If you are not eligible for a free kit the cost to purchase one is around £400 and this includes a training DVD featuring how and when to perform CPR on an adult or child; how to put someone in the recovery position; and how to use a public access defibrillator.

If you use an external first aid training company they will provide manikins and all other equipment required for training.

• Bandages and dressings for bleeding and bone injuries

Need some advice about implementing CPR and first aid into your school’s curriculum?

CPR and basic first aid will be mandatory in schools from September 2020. Please get in touch if you would like any further information or advice on the best way to introduce these subjects to your pupils:

Email: Tina@safeandsound.uk.net
Call: 020 8445 8998

Even very young children can learn the basic skills to help save someone’s life as this video shows: