Children will learn first aid skills and be taught CPR by the end of their time in secondary school under government proposals for health education to be taught in all state-funded schools. Secondary school pupils will also learn about defibrillators and basic treatments for common injuries.

Responding to the news, Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: '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.’

The government consulted on new guidance for relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education between July and November 2018, and the final guidance, which is expected to retain the recommendation about CPR, will be published shortly.

Emphasising the importance of first aid skills, the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, 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’. He added ‘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 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.’

Once the final guidance is published, schools will be encouraged to teach high-quality relationships education, RSE, and health education from September 2019, and it will then become compulsory in September 2020.

The draft statutory guidance can be viewed at: https://tinyurl.com/yah94p7b

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