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Red Cross thrilled by first aid opportunity of PSHE announcement

2 March 2017

The British Red Cross is thrilled by government plans that could see all children in England learning first aid at school. 

In an announcement yesterday, Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, set out the government’s intention to make personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) statutory in the future. 

This is an opportunity for children and young people in all schools across England to learn key life skills, including first aid. 

Greening also confirmed relationships and sex education (RSE) would be made statutory.

First aid on the curriculum

For years the British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation and St John Ambulance have been working closely together to call for first aid to be taught in schools.

In 2015, we collaborated on the ‘Every Child a Lifesaver’ campaign in support of the Emergency First Aid Education Bill, which would have made first aid compulsory in all state-funded secondary schools in England. 

This step is supported by the overwhelming majority of teachers, parents and young people themselves. 

First aid already features within the PSHE programme of study taught in some schools. However, without the obligation to teach PSHE, teaching coverage is patchy and some schools do not cover it at all. 

Further consultation on the subject content of the whole of PSHE will now be undertaken and the Red Cross will make the case for first aid to feature as part of a new statutory curriculum. 

Anne McColl, British Red Cross UK director of education, said: “We welcome the government’s announcement today as a step in the right direction.

"We look forward to working with the Department for Education and others on ensuring that all young people leave school with the knowledge and confidence to save a life.

"By empowering young people to step forward and help in cases of bleeding, choking, cardiac arrest or other emergencies, we can create a generation of life-savers, and hopefully fewer lives will be lost where first aid could have made a difference.”