accessibility & help

No first aid teaching in 1 in 4 schools despite backing from teachers

Monday 2 February 2009
For further information Henry Makiwa
Contact number 02078777479 or Out of office hours pager: 07659 145095

New research, published today by the British Red Cross, shows over 84 percent of secondary school teachers across the UK strongly believe that First Aid should be taught in schools. Yet despite this support, worryingly, the research also revealed that a quarter of all secondary schools in the UK are still not providing any First Aid education.

Liz Brunwin, the Red Cross Life. Live it. project manager said:
"What the research shows us is that while there is a great willingness on the part of teachers to equip their students with life-saving skills, there are still a significant number of schools who have not taken steps to do so. Basic first aid is already on the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum in England, and with the move towards making it statutory, we would urge teachers to get ahead of the game.”

Basic first aid has recently been introduced on the Personal and Social Education curriculum in Wales and the Red Cross are supporting its recommended inclusion in the Curriculum for Excellence for Scottish schools.

The latest DJS poll was commissioned by the British Red Cross to explore teachers’ perceptions of the Life. Live it. First Aid Education kit -and perceptions of the new PSHE curriculum. The education kit – including an interactive CD-ROM, contains ten flexible lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, video and audio clips. It also comes with an interactive quiz, which provides a fun and easy way to help students learn the first aid basics.

Liz continued:
“The materials and lesson plans are so user friendly that any teacher can use it, even if they feel unfamiliar with the subject. We’ve designed our materials to give teachers the confidence to deliver first aid education - whether it’s first aid theory or practical work. Our message to teachers is that of all the life skills you teach your students, this one may turn out to be the most vital."

Previous research findings confirmed that the UK is some distance behind other European countries in terms of First Aid awareness. Data collected by the Red Cross European Reference Centre for First Aid Education shows that whilst some countries have high levels of first aid knowledge - such as Norway (with 90% of the population trained in first aid), Austria and Germany (80% each) - the UK trails behind with only around 7% of the population trained. With worrying social concerns around knife crime, recent projections showed that only about 40% of young people knew how to treat somebody injured with a knife.


Notes to editors

The British Red Cross will be facilitating a media visit to Churchfield School, Swindon, for a First Aid Day on the 13th February. Up to 800 pupils are expected to learn life-saving skills on the day.

We can also facilitate media visits and interviews at schools near you.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

In the event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters either overseas or here in the UK. For more information, visit