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Teachers need more support to deliver first aid in classroom, says British Red Cross survey

26 February 2010
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Henry Makiwa

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A year before first aid education becomes statutory in the schools curriculum, new British Red Cross research shows that over half of all secondary teachers in the UK lack confidence to teach the subject.

Survey findings published today by the charity show that 52 percent of PSHE teachers across the UK would not feel confident to teach first aid. This comes in the same week as the House of Commons passed a Bill  which will mean first aid will become compulsory in the new Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum come September 2011.

Liz Brunwin, the Red Cross Life. Live it. project manager said:
"Whilst we are delighted about the prospect of first aid being part of the core curriculum, these figures are a reality check on the preparedness of schools and teachers alike ahead of the curriculum change. Our research shows that while there is a great willingness on the part of teachers to equip their students with life-saving skills, there is still a job to do in helping them to approach the subject with confidence.”

Almost all teachers who took part in the DJS poll  commissioned by the British Red Cross to explore teachers’ perceptions of the first aid education supported first aid being taught in schools. In contrast, over a third  of them felt their schools were not geared up to teach first aid.

“We know that first aid can appear to be a daunting subject, but actually basic first aid skills are simple and easy to teach. We believe teachers are well capable of delivering first aid lessons even without first aid training, and there are loads of teaching materials available to help.” Liz said. 

“Our ‘Life.Live it’ (LLI) First aid education kit includes a CD-ROM packed with resources as well as practical equipment, and is designed to help teachers without any first aid experience to deliver life saving skills to young people. We encourage schools looking at their first aid offer to try this easy-to-use kit, which is already being well used across the country” she added.

One of these schools is Eggar’s school in Hampshire where PSHE teacher, Jill Sanderman has given the LLI kit a thumps up.

She said: “Every resource I need for my first aid class is in the kit. I cannot stress how easy you have made this for a school.

“I think it is absolutely vital for young people to learn first aid.  Since doing the scheme, they are more self confident, and more aware of themselves and of others,” Jill added.


Notes to editors

For interviews, pictures or more information, please call Henry Makiwa on 020 7877 7479 or 07659 145 095
• The British Red Cross will be exhibiting at The Education Show (4-6 March 2010) at the NEC Birmingham
• 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