First aid training to become a mandatory part of the curriculum in UK schools

Every year, 60,000 people in the UK experience a cardiac arrest and 50% of these incidents happen in the community. 270 children die at school as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. To give someone the best chance of survival, bystander CPR should be given immediately, however often this does happen as people simply don’t know how to help. By the time an ambulance arrives, valuable time has been lost and, in many cases, any chance of saving the casualty has gone. In England, the ambulance services attempt to resuscitate approximately 28,000 people each year, of which less than 10% survive. The more people in the community trained to help and able to give prompt CPR and use a defibrillator, the better the chance of survival and prognosis for all of us. 

First Aid Becoming Mandatory in Schools

Denmark has remarkable cardiac arrest survival statistics. Since 2005, they have had various campaigns to improve CPR education:

  • All children are taught CPR skills from elementary school stage.
  • Learning CPR is a mandatory part of passing the driving licence.
  • There are community-based training courses throughout the country, open for all to attend.

These programmes have resulted in an increase from 8% to 22% of patients arriving at hospital alive following a sudden cardiac arrest. By 2011, the provision of CPR by members of the public more than doubled and survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest tripled. The results across the rest of Scandinavia with similar training programmes are equally impressive.

Sadly, the survival rates for the UK are desperately disappointing. You have a substantially reduced chance of surviving a community cardiac arrest in the UK, less than a third success rate compared to countries where first aid is taught in schools. Therefore, the Government has made the landmark decision to make first aid training a mandatory part of the English PHSE curriculum from September 2020.


First Aid for Life has been providing first aid training in schools for many years and in response to this new legislation, we have developed a brand-new set of free teaching resources – PowerPoints, PDF handouts, posters, videos and infographics – designed specifically for primary and secondary schools to help introduce their students to the complex subject of first aid. In addition, we have modular online first aid training courses to give students an excellent grounding in first aid before ideally being taught practically by our experienced First aid training professionals. First aid is a vital life-skill and its importance cannot be over-stated. Gaining these skills empowers students to be more risk aware, to be able to help themselves and others if involved in a medical emergency and could save their life.

For free teaching resources or more information please visit or contact [email protected] 02086754036

About Emma Hammett

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical First Aid course. First Aid for Life runs courses with numerous schools and clubs and provides scheduled courses suitable for young people to attend. We also love running bespoke courses for groups of friends and are happy to tailor them for specific requirements such as post exam trips away, GAP years and sports qualifications. Please contact [email protected], or call 0208 675 4036. For more information please visit: or contact [email protected] 0208 675 4036

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