The government's controversial review of the national curriculum has made headlines in recent months. Yet none of them revealed that the government failed to include any mention of first aid education in the draft plans for the new schools curriculum.
Why should we worry? Only 20% of secondary school students in England and Wales say they have learned life-saving skills in the classroom and just four per cent of them would step up in aid of someone needing first aid assistance, according to an ICM poll in January.
Emergencies can happen anywhere, but only 7% of people in the UK can correctly recall first aid advice and feel confident and willing to give first aid. Simple skills learned in just a few minutes - like what do if someone becomes unconscious - can save lives.
What is encouraging is that young people themselves are overtly keen to learn first aid. The ICM poll found that 94% of secondary school students would feel more confident to help a friend or family member needing first aid if they received training. Additionally, 91% of students would like to learn first aid in schools.
Wake up call
These numbers should be a massive wake up call for each and every one of us: teachers, parents, politicians and children themselves. First aid education must be more accessible in the classroom to build a generation of better citizens who possess life-saving skills.
We do not want to see this essential discussion shelved. The evidence shows the UK needs to build a generation of lifesavers by teaching them first aid at school from primary school level.
The government's proposals are now open to public consultation. We have less than two months to shape the future lives of millions, by getting first aid into schools so every child can learn how save a life.
The British Red Cross is encouraging people to visit its webpage: redcross.org.uk/pupilcitizenlifesaver to sign up a petition that will get the government to make first aid education mandatory in all schools across the country.
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