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What is the role of the education system and the national curriculum in equipping young people with skills for life?
Schools play a vital role in supporting healthy and fulfilling lives, and developing responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society. That is why the British Red Cross wants every young person to learn first aid and humanitarian education as statutory entitlements within the National Curriculum. These are currently missing from the content set out in the proposed curriculum framework. First aid should feature in science, PE and Citizenship. Humanitarian education should feature in Citizenship, Geography and History. They will help develop important skills, attitudes and values, make these subjects more relevant to the lives of young people today, and help to build a generation of lifesavers. The British Red Cross is concerned at the omission in the aims of the Government’s draft curriculum of any reference to the importance of developing skills in order to be able to appropriately apply the core knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens. The development of skills, attitudes and appropriate value-based behaviours are key processes in the development of young people. Our research, ‘Right Place, Right Time’ (attached), gives evidence that children as young as five years old can learn basic life-saving skills, including how to keep themselves safe. The British Red Cross has been helping schools to deliver first aid and humanitarian education in schools for many years. We have numerous free resources for teachers to use. Teachers need not have any extra training, and the resources can be used in numerous parts of the curriculum. We have anecdotal evidence of the fact that many adults, despite attending first aid training, find themselves paralysed by panic and fear when faced with a medical emergency. That is why we are calling for it to be a part of every young person’s education, so young people can grow up without the fear to step forward and help. First aid is relevant to all stages of life, and becomes particularly relevant as young people become more independent and take more risks. That is why we believe it is a life skill, and teaching it will help to build the resilience of young people and their communities. Our evidence which follows is a series of testimonials from young people who support first aid education in schools, and who believe it is a vial part of their curriculum for life:
1. Maisy, 20, from Berkshire I think first aid should be taught in school because it is important young people understand how to save a life in any situation, and not feel worried when something happens and they cannot help. I think first aid is an important life skill because in a real life situation you have the knowledge on how to help, even if it is putting your friend in the recovery position when drunk! Could you use first aid in a real emergency? Yes, I would probably panic but instinctively help, as you should anyway, in any given situation My story: I was bitten by a dog last year and I knew to put pressure on the wound and elevate my hand to minimise blood loss when walking home. 2. Willow, 15, from Milton Keynes I think first aid should be taught in school so people know what to do in a crisis. I think first aid is an important life skill because it’s a skill for the rest of your life. You will stand out from the crowd and help others, even if you don’t want to be a doctor. Do you think you could use first aid in a real emergency? Yes. At first I guess I’d be freaked out and scared, but after a few deep breaths I could help. 3. Evie, 19, from Hampshire I think first aid should be taught in school because it would provide a whole generation with vital knowledge of how to save lives, and would also remove the responsibility of learning first aid from individuals later on in their lives. I think first aid is an important life skill because it can prevent preventable deaths. For instance, a child at my cousin's school choked on her school lunch and died. If first aid was taught in that primary school, she could still be alive. My story: I was walking through a high street when a group of children started screaming that the youngest among them was choking on a haribo. I didn't know how to help but luckily another passerby turned the child upside down and he was fine. 4. Kieran, 16, from Kent I think first aid should be taught in school because it is a key skill that will save lives if taught to all children in key stage 3 or 4. I think first aid is an important life skill because it can save life, what better skill can you
have? My story: While carrying out my silver DofE a member of my team was hit in the head causing a deep cut (down to the skull) i had to bandage it as well as clean it to reduce the risk of infection before he went to casualty.
5. Colette, 18, from Cambridgeshire I think first aid should be taught in school because it is a life saving skill, young people and children learn quickly and enthusiastically. It enables a whole generation to be informed and pass it on to friends and family so that the whole community can become aware of first aid. I think first aid is an important life skill because: - it gives confidence and could be needed at anytime; - a lot of first aid situations need immediate response and often need a bystander to control and maintain the situation until emergency services or other care can get there e.g. CPR/stroke; - is important to the wider community. My story: My crew from rowing wounds/ injuries (including a 16yr old on warfarin) & stopping them getting hypo/erthermia by raising awareness/ providing help. Children I babysit scrapes & bruises (gives parents a sense of security leaving them with another person) Managing grandfather's angina.
6. Steph, 18, from Hampshire I think first aid should DEFINITELY be taught in school! I think first aid is an important life skill, not necessarily the techniques, more just the confidence to do SOMETHING in an emergency. My story: One time leaving college there was a lady having an epileptic seizure, called an ambulance and reasured the lady and kept her warm until they arrived :) 7. Chloe, 18, from Surrey I think first aid should be taught in school because as young people take on more responsiblilties they need to become aware that things can go wrong at times and they need to know how to react to help I think first aid is an important life skill because it can save a life and is so easy to learn and can make a huge difference in those vital seconds
My story: I have had someone who can consumed too much alcohol who needed to be put in to the recovery position.
8. Fergus, 20, Hampshire I think first aid should be taught in school because I believe everyone should learn first aid and learning when you're young is the best time to learn such skills. First aid should be taught adopting the 'key skills' method that the British Red Cross has developed which makes first aid easy and simple to learn but still carries the important messages. I think first aid is an important life skill because a lot of lives could be saved every year if everyone had the knowlege of first aid skills. It is an important life skill as anyone could require first aid at any point in time and knowing the most basic life saving skills could enable to someone to save a strangers life, or even a friend or relative. Could you use first aid in a real emergency? Yes, anyone can call an ambulance but often forget about the delay in which the ambulance will get to you. In the meantime delivering first aid to the patient may save their life or promote recovery before the ambulance gets there. My story: I am a 2nd year trainee paramedic and even in the ambulance service, we still use the same principles of first aid. 9. Elliot, 17, from Reading I think first aid should be taught in school because it’s important to know how to help someone in a first aid situation whatever age you are. If you learn what to do when you are young and keep refreshing it at school then you should be more willing to help someone if you have to because you will know what to do. My story: I helped a drunk friend upstairs to his room and put him in the recovery position on his bed with a bin on the floor in case he was sick. 10. Angelina, 17, from Hampshire I think first aid should be taught in school because accidents happen in schools all the time, accidents even happen when teachers are not around, so it helps people feel confident that they are there and ready to help in case of an emergency. I think first aid is an important life skill because you can potentially save lives, you learn about safety, and how to react in an emergency.
11. Heather, 27, from London I never learned first aid when I was at school but there were definitely situations where it
would have been a good skill to have as there were many occasions with my friends where it could have been really dangerous. Also, when I look back on all the babysitting I did while I was younger - it's scary to think that I wouldn't really have had any idea how to deal with an injured/choking child. I think first aid is an important life skill because part of growing up is trying new things which might involve some kind of risk. Whether sports, travelling, drinking/drugs, relationships or just spending time with friends - knowing how to assess the risks in the first place and respond to a situation where someone is injured can really make the difference. Now I volunteer with young people and see what a difference it makes having the confidence to respond and skills to save someone's life, if the situation ever arose. I wish I'd learned first aid much younger - while I was still in school.
12. Anon, 21 from Hampshire I think first aid should be taught in school. It is a life skill - something that should be taught in primary, recapped over in secondary might not be used until years later in your 30s, or it might be used the very day after. I believe that if First Aid was taught in schools more people would know what to do if the worst happened and know not to panic and to take control, meaning that other aid can take advantage of 'free' help and use them to help them I think first aid is an important life skill because it gives you the confidence to help someone in need, and more importantly make a real difference and have a real importance in everyday society. Could you use first aid in a real emergency? Yes, what would be the point in it otherwise? It means that you know what to do for minutes after something happens, like putting pressure on a cut, this allows more response time. At the very least it gives you a bit more confidence if 999 operators were telling you what to do, that someone at some point has shown you. My story: I fell off a scooter in Cambodia - I was with a friend and we couldn’t speak the language and all we had was what we had on. Together we dressed my wounds with plastic bags (one was a burn) and a makeshift tissue dressing - not ideal by any stretch - and made it back, then we could do this properly. We both knew what to do as we had had training, and although it wasn’t life threatening we didn’t panic, and were calm, without knowing first aid it would have been harder.
The British Red Cross supports this inquiry, and is happy to appear to present its evidence if required.
Please contact: Emily Oliver, Senior Education Advisor, Policy, Research and Advocacy, British Red Cross, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL. Tel: 07710 710575 Email: email@example.com 4th June 2013