Learning life-saving skills in school is vital, says Damian Hinds

The education secretary believes that children need life-saving skills for the future, and plans to implement first aid in schools as of 2020

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has outlined the importance of every child having the opportunity to learn life-saving skills such as CPR.

The government’s plan for children to be taught basic first aid in schools will be rolled out from 2020.

Hinds said: “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.

To ensure the next generation knows what to do in an emergency, the government is planning to make health education compulsory in all state-funded schools. 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.

The proposals are part of the Department for Education’s plans to strengthen teaching of health, sex and relationships education.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“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.

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“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.”

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