26 OCT 2015

Emergency First Aid Education In Schools

There is nothing more important than keeping children and staff safe in our schools. Schools have the opportunity to teach skills such as CPR and general first aid as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. While it is up to individual schools precisely what to teach in PSHE, they are encouraged to work with expert organisations to teach such skills.

Legislating to include a requirement for first aid training in the national curriculum would be the wrong approach. The national curriculum creates a minimum expectation for schools. It does not represent everything that a school should teach; it is a framework around which schools can construct a programme which works best for them. In addition, schools do not have a monopoly on the provision of education to children, as parents and voluntary groups outside school also play an important role. Schools should be encouraged and supported in teaching vital skills such as first aid, but forcing them to do so in law would not be the best way to achieve this.

It is encouraging that a deal to offer an initial 500 defibrillators to schools at reduced prices was announced last year, alongside new guidance which includes encouraging schools to use these devices as an impetus to promote life-saving skills more broadly.

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