Eight-year-old Stephen stands in his school uniform holding a sign that says 'I can save a life so can you'

Stephen learned first aid in schools and saved a woman’s life © Mike Poloway/UNPChristchurch School, Skipton. 4 December 2017. Stephen Orbeldaze.

Great news! The government is planning to add first aid to the school curriculum in England.

Years of campaigning by the British Red Cross and other organisations are finally paying off. Children and young people will now get the skills they need to save a life.

Why is first aid in school so important?

British Red Cross research found that more than nine in ten adults (95%)* would not be able, confident or willing to help in three life-threatening first aid emergencies.

Teaching first aid in schools will help change this. We want everyone to know how to save a life.

But does first aid education in school really work?

Yes. Red Cross teaching resources have helped children and young people learn first aid in school for years.

So we know that children who learn first aid go on to use it. These real-life stories of young first aiders show how this works.

Saving a woman on the street: Stephen’s story

Because Stephen, aged eight, learned first aid at school, he was able to help a woman who had collapsed on his street.

He quickly rushed over, tried talking to her and checked her breathing.

Once he knew she was breathing, he rolled her on to her side with her head tilted back to keep her airway open.

Stephen then asked his mum to call an ambulance and stayed with the woman until it got there.

Stephen said, “I was a little nervous at first but I remembered what to do because I had learned it at first aid club.

“I think it is important to know what to do because we should all help each other. I am really proud of what I did.”

Stephen’s teacher Mrs Brown said, “He felt amazing afterwards and it was thanks to us that he had the confidence and skills to know what to do – that’s hugely rewarding.”

When your mum collapses: Hanna’s story

“She is a little girl, she is only ten and she wouldn’t have known what to do if she hadn’t been taught at school,” said Michelle Floyd.

But luckily, Michelle’s ten-year-old daughter Hanna took action quickly when she collapsed.

“She knew what to do because she said she had practised calling 999 at school,” Michelle said.

The call handler stayed on the phone and talked Hanna through the key actions.

Remembering what she had learned at school, Hanna moved Michelle to her side and tilted her head back to help keep her airway open. Hanna stayed calm and kept talking to and reassuring her mum.

The paramedics quickly arrived and took Michelle and Hanna to hospital. Michelle was so grateful that her daughter had known what to do. “Hanna was just amazing,” she said.

Hanna’s teacher Mrs Woodhead shared, “It’s a life skill that I think all children should know.”

I love being able to help people: Breck Primary School’s story

Two children in primary school practise first aid for a burn as a boy pours cool water on a girl's arm - first aid will soon be in the school curriculum

A first aid lesson at Breck Primary School, © British Red Cross

We’ve also found that children love learning first aid.

When teaching assistant Anita Wylie joined Breck Primary School, she made it her priority to introduce first aid learning into the classroom.

“I am passionate about the importance of teaching this valuable life skill to children,” Anita said.

Three-quarters of the pupils taught first aid at the school have already put their skills into practice. Most have helped friends and family with injuries like nosebleeds, burns and bleeds.

When we spoke to a group of eight- and nine-year-olds there about their first aid lesson, love was a word that came up again and again.

“I once did call an ambulance for my friend,” Emily shared. “I love being able to help people and I love first aid.”

Help children learn first aid in school

Now is a time to celebrate and a time to act.

If you want to teach first aid in your school, find out more about our online first aid resources.

Together, we can help all children learn the skills they need to save a life.

*The findings come from an online survey of 2,004 adults in the UK conducted by Critical Research, in April 2017.