accessibility & help

Education - frequently asked questions

Schoolchildren listening to first aid trainer©InfoWhy does the British Red Cross produce its range of humanitarian education materials for teachers and other educators? Find the answers to common questions here. Feel free to ask one of your own by emailing

How do you choose the content and activities?

We first assess whether the material is likely to work in the classroom or a youth setting. Many of our activities are led by video and photographs. We check that they are engaging for children and young people, usable in a variety of ways, and likely to lead to positive explorations of a range of humanitarian topics.

We ensure the content fits with British Red Cross values, and with our current themes (see below). Our values stem from three key fundamental principles of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – humanity, impartiality and neutrality. We believe that if someone is in crisis it doesn't matter who they are or where they are from - they should get the help they need. We never become involved in political, religious, racial or any other sort of ideological controversy. Our focus is on reducing suffering, irrespective of age, class, race, nationality, beliefs or political affiliation. 


What is humanitarian education?

It is a way of learning about and understanding the world and our place in it. It is centrally concerned with our shared humanity. At the core of humanitarian action and thinking is a desire to contribute to saving lives and reducing suffering.

Humanitarian education invites exploration of humanitarian actions and values. It helps children and young people examine what motivates people, including themselves, considering local, national and global perspectives.

One important strand of humanitarian education is learning about international humanitarian law. Sometimes known as the laws of war, some might know them as the Geneva Conventions. Learning about the conventions and thinking about why we have laws governing acts of armed conflict between people is a good way into humanitarian education. Activities help young people explore ideas through dilemmas, consequences and respect for life and human dignity.


What themes do you cover?

British Red Cross teaching resources enable children and young people to understand, cope with and respond to crises that impact local and global communities.

Online resources focus on the following themes:

  • humanitarianism
  • disasters and emergencies
  • first aid
  • stigmatising behaviour
  • conflict and its consequences

Newsthink is a topical email bulletin for teachers and youth workers. It offers insightful activities which enable young people to engage with local, national, and world events from a humanitarian perspective.

We also produce resources that support key events throughout the year such as World AIDS day and Refugee Week.


How are the education resources funded?

The materials are largely paid for through British Red Cross general funds, with small pots of money from funders including trusts and corporate donors to help us develop particular projects.


Why do you spend money on education?

We believe that, like all charities, we have a duty to explain what we do by setting out our values and principles. We also have a commitment to share what we know, to contribute as part of wider society to the education of the coming generations. Helping others learn and develop from the understanding of the world that comes from our work is part of what we do. Through humanitarian education, we aim to increase individuals’ and communities’ resilience by building their capacity to cope with and respond to a crisis.

We also have an official support role to the UK government in humanitarian matters. This includes enhancing respect for humanitarian values and human dignity, and running educational programmes to promote awareness of the laws of war. 


What other options are available?

In addition to our teaching resources we have a range of options to help teachers bring important humanitarian messages and resilience into their classrooms and youth settings.

The type of support options include: peer education, CPD, direct delivery by Red Cross educators, multipliers, partnerships and education resources.*

*Programmes are subject to availability and eligibility criteria.


Do you teach first aid to young people in schools or in youth groups?

We encourage teachers and youth workers to teach first aid to children and young people using our free online Life. Live it. first aid education resources. No previous experience of teaching first aid is necessary.

Our research shows that children as young as six can learn basic first aid skills, like how to get help, or how to treat a burn. We also find first aid to be an effective way of building decision-making skills, increasing confidence and learning how to manage risk and safety.

We also offer direct delivery of first aid learning for some groups of young people subject to criteria - contact us to find out more.

Do you offer teacher training or CPD?

Yes, we have experienced facilitators who can provide tailored sessions for teachers and youth workers at conferences and as part of teacher training courses, or informally as a meeting or telephone discussion. Professional development activities will be specifically designed to develop your capacity to engage with children and young people across a range of topics whilst enabling them to better understand, cope with and respond to crisis.

Please email with your request and we will discuss the options available to you.


Are the materials protected by copyright?

Yes. If you are a teacher, youth worker or other educator, you are freely and warmly encouraged to use the materials, experiment with them, adapt them for your group, and share them with others. We simply ask that you respect our fundamental principles if you are using them in the context of learning about the Red Cross, and also basic academic conventions, such as not deleting the source of the materials, inaccurately quoting from them, or passing them off as something else.