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First aid in schools

What's wrong?

First aid could be incorporated into any number of subjects taught in schools including sport, science and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education – England only). It could even be demonstrated during assemblies and at after-school clubs.

But it is currently a postcode lottery whether a child or young person has the chance to learn these crucial life-saving skills.

In England, only 24 per cent of secondary schools teach first aid despite overwhelming support for the subject from parents, teachers and pupils themselves.

However, the government has announced its intention to make PSHE statutory in the future, creating an opportunity for children and young people in all schools across England to learn key life skills, including first aid. 

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. 

Our calls

  • First aid education should be mandatory in schools across the UK in order to teach a generation this life-saving skill.
  • Government, schools, teachers, young people and others should champion first aid learning, integrating it into existing subjects and whole-school approaches.

How we got here

In partnership with British Heart Foundation and St John Ambulance, we launched the Every Child a Lifesaver campaign in 2015. The aim was simple: to get first aid taught in schools through the Emergency First Aid Education Bill. 

Sadly, on 20 November 2015, the Private Members’ Bill, sponsored by Teresa Pearce MP, did not pass through to the next stage of parliamentary scrutiny as it was ‘talked out’.

Although we didn’t achieve the outcome we wanted this time, the government has signalled its strong support for first aid being taught in more schools.

We continue to campaign on this important issue because we believe that more people should know how to step in and help in an emergency.

In March 2017 the government announced its intention to make PSHE statutory in the future, creating an exciting opportunity for children and young people in all schools across England to learn key life skills, including first aid. 

You can help

The Department for Education is calling for evidence on PSHE, asking which subjects should be taught in PSHE lessons in schools. The call for evidence also asks questions about relationship and sex education.

The British Red Cross is submitting evidence directly and through the Every Child a Lifesaver Coalition to help make first aid education part of the PSHE curriculum.

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