Pupils in schools nationwide are to be taught life-saving skills such as Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) under new plans for health education to be taught in every school.
The education secretary, Damian Hinds is stressing the importance of children knowing these basic skills and first aid, especially in the midst of the winter months.
Emergency services are reporting a spike in cardiac arrests during this time period; with survival rates lower than usual. These figures have pushed Damian to stress the importance of the government’s plans for all children to be taught health education under proposals due to be rolled out from 2020.
He said: “On arriving at university I was struck that the American students I met knew how to do CPR, and I didn’t have a clue.
“As a father I want my children to have the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves safe and help others, and as education secretary I want that for every child.
“That’s why we took the decision to include health education alongside relationship education for primary school children and relationship and sex education for secondary school children. These subjects are a crucial part of our work to ensure children learn the wider skills they need to flourish in the modern world.”
The British Heart Foundation hails the plans as a “decisive moment” in improving on the fact that fewer than one in ten people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital in the UK survive.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation said: “The Department for Education’s plans to introduce CPR on the curriculum is a decisive moment in the battle to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, following years of campaigning by the BHF and others.
“Introducing CPR lessons into health education in all state-funded secondary schools is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.”
Under the proposed government plans, by the end of secondary school, pupils will be taught how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and basic treatment for common injuries.