All UK secondary school children to learn life-saving skills


Under the latest government plans for health education, children in secondary schools will be taught basic life-saving skills and first aid from 2020. The new proposals will ensure that school leavers in England are able to administer potentially lifesaving CPR techniques, understand the purpose of defibrillators and treat common injuries.

Cardiac Science welcomes the news

Shaun Ingram, Managing Director of Cardiac Science, said that “getting defibrillators in public places was only half the battle. “Encouraging a new generation of youngsters to recognise what a defibrillator (or AED) is and feel comfortable using it an emergency – and knowing how to administer CPR – will make a massive difference. We welcome the plans to push a life-saving agenda in schools across the country.”

Several schools are already ahead of the curve in installing lifesaving defibrillators. In December 2017, Ealing became the first council in London to ensure that all its schools had access to an AED. And this case study tells how a local fundraising initiative succeeded in raising money for a defibrillator in Salterlee Primary School in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

With many of us in the UK possessing little or no life-saving skills, better awareness and understanding around sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) can’t come soon enough. The University of Warwick Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Outcome (OHCAO) Registry’s October 2018 survey recently revealed that nearly a third of UK adults (30%) wouldn’t perform CPR if they saw someone suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

Despite 96% of those surveyed saying they were likely to call an ambulance if they witnessed someone collapse and stop breathing, this often isn’t enough to save the life of someone who’s suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.

In the UK, the average ambulance response time is 8 minutes. However, a SCA sufferer’s chance of survival decreases by 10% with every minute that passes without defibrillation. With more education around the subject, especially at a young age, our confidence to perform life-saving practices can only improve.

Damian Hinds, Education Secretary, commented: “Learning the basic skills of first aid and techniques like CPR will give young people the confidence to know that they can step in to help someone else in need, and in the most extreme cases it could potentially save a life.”

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 sudden cardiac arrest in the future.

Interested in installing a defibrillator in your workplace, school or public space?

Get in touch with us today and we’ll let you know which life-saving equipment will be best suited to your needs and budget.