First aid in school: saving lives is on the curriculum
Years of campaigning by the British Red Cross and other organisations finally paid off in 2019 when the government added first aid to the curriculum in England and Wales
Past British Red Cross research found that more than nine in ten adults (95 per cent)* would not be able, confident or willing to help in three life-threatening first aid emergencies.
Teaching first aid in schools will help change this. We want everyone to know how to save a life.
But does first aid education in school really work?
Yes. Red Cross teaching resources have helped children and young people learn first aid in school for years.
So we know that children who learn first aid go on to use it. These real-life stories of young first aiders show how this works.
Saving a woman on the street: Stephen's story
Because Stephen, aged eight, learned first aid at school, he was able to help a woman who had collapsed on his street.
He quickly rushed over, tried talking to her and checked her breathing.
Once he knew she was breathing, he rolled her on to her side with her head tilted back to keep her airway open.
Stephen then asked his mum to call an ambulance and stayed with the woman until it got there.
Feeling proud of saving a life
Stephen said, “I was a little nervous at first but I remembered what to do because I had learned it at first aid club.
“I think it is important to know what to do because we should all help each other. I am really proud of what I did.
Stephen’s teacher Mrs Brown said, “He felt amazing afterwards and it was thanks to us that he had the confidence and skills to know what to do – that’s hugely rewarding.”
When your mum collapses: Hanna’s story
“She is a little girl, she is only ten and she wouldn’t have known what to do if she hadn’t been taught at school,” said Michelle Floyd.
But luckily, Michelle’s ten-year-old daughter Hanna took action quickly when she collapsed.
“She knew what to do because she said she had practised calling 999 at school,” Michelle said.
The call handler stayed on the phone and talked Hanna through the key actions.
Hanna's quick thinking saved her mother's life
Remembering what she had learned at school, Hanna moved Michelle to her side and tilted her head back to help keep her airway open. Hanna stayed calm and kept talking to and reassuring her mum.
The paramedics quickly arrived and took Michelle and Hanna to hospital. Michelle was so grateful that her daughter had known what to do. “Hanna was just amazing,” she said.
Hanna’s teacher Mrs Woodhead shared, “It’s a life skill that I think all children should know.”
First aid in schools: a time to celebrate and a time to act
When our ten-year campaign to see first aid added to the school curriculum was finally successful, we wanted to tell the world. To celebrate, children from Ark Oval Academy School in London had a first aid lesson outside the Houses of Parliament in London.
If you want to teach first aid in your school, find out more about our online first aid resources. We also have a new interactive first aid website dedicated to helping children and young people learn first aid, First Aid Champions.
Together, we can help all children learn the skills they need to save a life.
*The research findings come from an online survey of 2,004 adults in the UK conducted by Critical Research, in April 2017.
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