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190,000 children learn skills to save a life in nation’s biggest first aid lesson

Claudia Winkleman helps St John Ambulance build a generation of life savers

Big First Aid Lesson with Claudia Winkleman

Today, Friday 12 June 2015, over 190,000 young people in England tuned in to watch a life saving lesson delivered by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman as part of our national Big First Aid Lesson.

The free one-hour webinar was streamed live into classrooms to teach young people first aid skills such as how to help someone who's having an asthma attack or an allergic reaction. We chose the summer-related conditions to help equip pupils ahead of the holidays.

Last year's event - the first of its kind - reached over 36,000 pupils making this year's event 11 times more popular, with over 2,700 schools uniting to watch the lesson.

'What they have taken away from the Big First Aid Lesson could save a life'

Claudia Winkleman said: 'It’s brilliant that 190,000 children now have the confidence to help in an emergency. What they have taken away from the Big First Aid Lesson could save a classmate, friend, or family member's life. I’m proud to be a part of events like these which give young people the opportunity to learn some crucial life-saving skills.'

During the lesson, students heard a first-hand account from 12 year old Kaitlyn Perkins, who used her first aid skills to help her brother when he severely cut his hand, as well as an interview with 8-year-old Sean Irwin who came to the aid of his mother after she knocked herself out cold.

Classrooms also had opportunities to ask our first aid trainers questions via Google Hangouts.

We created the Big First Aid Lesson to help teachers overcome barriers such as lack of time (35%)*, staff training (33%) and cost (21%), which teachers cited in research as preventing them from introducing first aid in school timetables.

Despite this, 96% of them want young people to learn first aid skills in schools, showing huge support for the subject. Our research also found that a majority of parents (86%) think first aid should be included in the national curriculum.

Teacher Laura Price, from the UCL Academy in London, who participated in the Big First Aid Lesson, said: 'The Big First Aid Lesson is a fantastic initiative and our students have really enjoyed taking part. The skills taught today are so relevant for the kids ahead of the summer holidays and the training scenarios really brought things to life. I’d definitely recommend other schools watch the lesson on YouTube if they missed it today, and we will be signing up for next year as soon as we can!'

11-year-old Harry Tinker, who watched the webinar, said: 'It was really good because if someone is in trouble you will know what to do and could help save their life. I think other kids my age should learn first aid, even if it’s just the basics it can make a big difference when people need your help.'

*St John Ambulance, 2014 You Gov survey of 1,157 primary and secondary school teachers in England