Schools urged to sign up for free first aid lessons

Pupils will take part in a free online first aid lesson.
Pupils will take part in a free online first aid lesson.

A headteacher from South Shields has urged more schools to sign up for a free online first aid lesson so children can ‘deal with anything life throws at them’.

The free lesson has been set up by St John Ambulance after research showed six in 10 children would not know what to do in a medical emergency.

Headteacher Michael McCarthy.

Headteacher Michael McCarthy.

Ridgeway Primary Academy, in Park Avenue, South Shields, will tune in for the charity’s second Big First Aid Lesson, which is taking place on June 12.

It will show those between the age of seven and 16 basic first aid skills, and is hosted by Claudia Winkleman.

Children will be shown what they should do if faced with different types of emergency during the summer, including an asthma attack or head injury.

More than 1,000 schools have registered so far, while St John Ambulance is also campaigning for first aid lessons to become part of the natural curriculum.

As a school, we believe strongly in preparing children not only for their academic future, but to ensure they are equipped to deal with anything life throws at them.

Michael McCarthy, Ridgeway Primary School headteacher

Ridgeway Primary School headteacher Michael McCarthy said: “As a school, we believe strongly in preparing children not only for their academic future, but to ensure they are equipped to deal with anything life throws at them.

“The Big First Aid Lesson will give children the skills which may help them save lives, which could be invaluable.”

David Nicklen, St John Ambulance training and community manager, said: “Our Big First Aid Lesson addresses the public’s desire for first aid education in the classroom, while it doesn’t feature in the national curriculum.

“We hope they can help us motivate their child’s school to take part – it could be the most important lesson they ever learn. Like parents and teachers, we want to give children the best start in life by giving every young person the chance to learn first aid.

“There is nothing worse than feeling helpless in an emergency, and although we hope they’ll never need to use these skills, they can be a real life line.”

Claudia Winkleman said: “The Big First Aid Lesson is a fantastic and engaging way of teaching students the skills they may need to help keep a classmate or a family member safe in an emergency while they’re out on the playground or during the holidays.

“All schools should make teaching young people basic first aid a top priority.”

To join the Big First Aid Lesson, visit www.sja.org.uk/bigfirstaidlesson