Education Secretary stresses the importance of basic life-saving skills

CPR and first-aid training will become compulsory in all schools.

Last week on 3rd January 2019 The Education Secretary Damian Hinds highlighted the importance of every child having the chance to learn life-saving first aid skills. Under the proposals, from 2020 Health Education will include basic first aid and be taught in every school and strengthens the Department for Educations’ (DFE) plan of improving health, sex and relationships education in schools.

In countries which already teach first aid to students in school, out of hospital survival rates are reported to be up to three times higher, compared to countries such as the UK. This will potentially save thousands of lives per year.

The British Heart Foundation hailed the plans as a “decisive moment” in improving on the fact that fewer than 1 in 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital in the UK survive.

On arriving at university I was struck that the American students I met knew how to do CPR – and I didn’t have a clue. As a father I want my children to have the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves safe and help others, and as Education Secretary, I want that for every child.

Learning the basic skills of first aid and techniques like CPR will give young people the confidence to know that they can step in to help someone else in need and in the most extreme cases – it could potentially save a life.

That’s why we took the decision to include health education alongside relationship education for primary school children and relationship and sex education for secondary children. These subjects are a crucial part of our work to ensure children learn the wider skills they need to flourish in the modern world.

Damian Hinds,

Education Secretary

Every minute without life-saving treatment the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by about 10%. It’s vitally important as many people as possible are aware of life saving first-aid and CPR techniques. The British Red Cross has found that 95% of adults wouldn’t be able to act capably, willingly or confidently in a cardiac emergency.

Making CPR and first-aid skills compulsory education in school will go a long to ensuring the next generation can act effectively in an emergency. Under the proposed new guidance, by the end of secondary school pupils will be taught how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and basic treatments for common injuries.

Schools will be encouraged and supported to teach high-quality relationships education, RSE and health education – tailored to meet their pupils’ needs – from September 2019, ahead of it becoming compulsory in September 2020.

The Department for Education’s plans to introduce CPR on to the curriculum is a decisive moment in the battle to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, following years of campaigning by the BHF and others.

There are 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests every year, and each day people needlessly die because bystanders don’t have the confidence or knowledge to perform CPR and defibrillation. This is why all schoolchildren should be given the opportunity to learn these skills.

Introducing  CPR lessons into health education in all state-funded secondary schools is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.

Simon Gillespie

Chief Executive, The British Heart Foundation

We are delighted that schoolchildren will have the opportunity of learning life-saving and first aid skills. Knowing how to react when someone suffers a cardiac arrest will truly save lives. Increasing the number of people trained in resuscitation complements the long-term plan for the NHS which will set out a strategy for the prevention and treatment of heart attack and stroke.

Professor Huon Gray

National Clinical Director for Heart Disease at NHS England