Rosie Phillips
Posted on 9 Dec 2015

Proposal to extend Emergency First Aid Education in state-funded secondary schools

The Compulsory Emergency First Aid Education (State-funded Secondary Schools) Bill 2015-16 ('the Bill') has recently commenced its second reading debate in the House of Commons on 20 November 2015.

Currently, Emergency First Aid Education is not required in secondary schools as it does not form part of the National Curriculum. Whilst it does form part of the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme of study, this is a non-compulsory element of the programme. Some schools may choose to organise first aid training from outside organisations and there is government guidance suggesting ways for schools to raise awareness of first aid education, but currently there is nothing requiring schools to do so in statute.

The Bill proposes to require the provision of Emergency First Aid Education by all state-funded secondary schools. It provides that this education will form a part of the National Curriculum at key stages 3 and 4. It also has provisions requiring academies to provide the same education at these stages, despite not following the National Curriculum.

Whilst the detail of the curriculum would be up to each individual school to decide, as a minimum it must cover cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillator awareness. The Secretary of State may make regulations to amend the minimum skills and knowledge that the curriculum must cover.

The Bill provides for Emergency First Aid Education to be included in initial and continuing teacher training by requiring the Secretary of State to ensure this as well as issuing guidance on best practice on the delivery of the education. All relevant parties have a duty to have regard to the guidance in delivering this education.

There have been previous efforts to make Emergency First Aid Education part of the National Curriculum, however previous governments have had concerns for over-subscribed school curriculums.

The second reading debate has been adjourned and is set to resume on 29 January 2016.

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