Charity’s call to teach first aid in schools

St John Ambulance volunteers teach children first aid at St Theresa's Catholic Primary School, in Leeds.
St John Ambulance volunteers teach children first aid at St Theresa's Catholic Primary School, in Leeds.
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Children should be taught lifesaving skills at school, according to new research by St John Ambulance.

A survey by the first aid charity reveals that nearly 96 per cent of Yorkshire and Humberside teachers would like to equip their students with first aid skills.

But stark figures show that only a fifth of schools do so.

Around a third of teachers say they lack time and a fifth of them blame cost.

Nearly two-thirds believe it would take first aid training to be the national curriculum requirement in order for more schools to take it seriously.

The charity is now urging schools across Leeds to take part in its first Big First Aid Lesson.

The free lesson, which takes place across the country, will see a 60-minute online class for seven to 16-year-olds steamed live into classrooms with an internet connection.

Simon Dunn, regional director for the north east, said: “At St John Ambulance, we believe that first aid should be as much a part of growing up as learning to cross the road.

“It is so easy to lean and can have such an incredible impact on people’s lives, but because it’s not compulsory on the national curriculum, only a minority of schoolchildren would know what to do it one of their classmates, or a member of their family became ill or injured.

“It only takes an hour to learn how to save a life, but it could be the most important lesson your students ever learn.

“We hope teachers take this opportunity to sign up for the Big First Aid Lesson.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post has teamed up with St John Ambulance to help train up a special lifesaving army of 500 people in Leeds.

Our First Aid For All campaign has seen hundreds of readers given the chance to learn the essential skills to help be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

St John Ambulance says too many lives are lost each year through lack of first aiders and is urging more people to learn simple skills.

More than half of parents in Leeds lack the first aid skills to save their child’s life.

And nearly one-fifth of the city’s parents do not view learning first aid as important.

Shocking figures reveal that nearly 54 per cent of parents in Leeds would not know what to do if their child’s life was in danger.

Experts fear it would only take something as severe as the death of a loved one to actually make people learn basic first aid skills.

Mr Dunn added: “At St John Ambulance, we urge people to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

“By spreading this message so effectively, the YEP has been making a difference in a big way.

“The campaign has had – and continues to have – a deep impact on our work in Leeds to raise awareness of the vital need to learn first aid.

“But the shocking fact is that less than one in 10 members of the public have the skills necessary to save a life.

“And, although St John Ambulance volunteers give first aid to 100,000 members of the UK public each year, we can’t be everywhere.”

* For more information about the Big First Aid Lesson visit

The free lesson will take place on Friday, June 20, at 2pm.


St John Ambulance are offering a three-hour course at a discounted rate of just £20 to Yorkshire Evening Post readers as part of our First Aid For All campaign.

The special courses help readers to treat someone who is choking, learn how to put someone in the recovery position and how to administer CPR for adults, children and babies.

To book your place, telephone 01924 262 726 and press option four and quote our special discount code 20EFAAA.

First aid courses will be held at Shine Business Centre, Harehills Road, in Leeds throughout May and June.

The next YEP first aid sessions will be held on Wednesday, May 21, between 1pm and 4pm

Tuesday, June 3, between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

Thursday, June 12, between 1pm and 4pm.

Friday , June 27, between 10am and 1pm.

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