School children to be taught CPR and basic first aid

From 2020 learning life-saving skills, such as CPR and basic first aid, will be mandatory for every pupil.

Matt Bodell
5 January 2019
CPR and basic first aid

The Government has announced plans to teach CPR and basic first aid to school children.

The government has announced that from 2020 learning life-saving skills, such as CPR and basic first aid, will be mandatory for every pupil.


Under the plans, schoolchildren will be shown how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and how to treat common injuries.

Evidence shows that in countries where CPR is taught in school, cardiac arrest survival rates are more than double those of the UK.

The confidence to help.

Announcing the plans, Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, 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.”

Improving survival rates.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, called the plans a “decisive moment in the battle to improve cardiac arrest survival rates”.

Adding; “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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