Pupils speak out about first aid
Over 8 out of 10 school children believe
the public would think more positively of young
people if they knew they were first aid trained, according
to a survey released today by St John Ambulance.
Currently many don’t have first aid
skills and most (69%) wouldn’t know how to help
someone who needed them, including young people who have
witnessed violent crime.
Teachers are also calling for pupils to have
the opportunity to learn first aid in school and want their
colleagues to know how simple it is to teach.
The results come as St John Ambulance prepares
to launch its new
strategy for schools - Developing skills, saving lives – at
The Education Show.
The strategy will help ensure access to those who want
first aid training and the organisation is urging teachers
to help them make a difference to the lives of young people – and
those around them.
We’re encouraged that teachers are calling for more people to learn first aid in schools. We know that first aid saves lives and you are never too young to learn.
Head of Training
Every year 400,000 young people are injured at
school, with more injuries occurring outside the school ground.
However only a small percentage of the 450,000 teachers and 8
million pupils are first aid trained.
The pupils' survey
St John surveyed 1552 primary and
secondary children at schools across the country in a mix of rural
and urban areas, with the help of The Children’s Forum.
We found that:
- 69% of school children wouldn’t know how to treat a
friend or loved one who needed first aid
- 72% of these children would like to learn first
- 83% would feel more confident helping those
around them if they were taught first aid.
Crucially, given the current image of young
people in society, 8 out of 10 pupils surveyed felt that the public
would think more highly of them if they knew youngsters were first
This is what primary pupils had to say:
- 'I was going home from art class and I saw a man lying on the
floor - blood pouring out his head - in the road. He had been hit
by a van. I felt really scared even though my mum and dad were with
me. I didn't know what to do. Should I call an ambulance?'
- 'I was with my little brother and he was eating some fruit and
he took too much fruit in his mouth and he started to choke. I felt
scared and worried.'
- 'My friend got hurt and I put some ice on her. I felt great
because I could help someone, without telling my mum or dad or a
teacher about the accident.'
Secondary pupils echoed the thoughts of
younger pupils, with some witnessing shocking scenes:
- 'They were stabbed and I had no clue what to do. I was in a
crowd and just left as someone called the police.'
- 'I was in primary school and a boy had a fit and I didn't know
what to do.'
- 'My friend was drunk, he collapsed and began vomiting. I put
him into the recovery position and called an ambulance. I felt calm
because I knew what to do.'
What teachers thought
Research among teachers show they all
felt that first aid should be offered to pupils to learn, whether
this was at an after-school 'enrichment' club or within Citizenship
and PSHE modules – the latter of which will be compulsory from
2011. They recognised first aid as an important life skill that
boosts confidence and promotes teamwork.
The teachers surveyed were asked about the
materials St John Ambulance provided, and all replied positively
about resources such as Young first aider – an interactive pack
which contains everything teachers need to start training young
people straight away including film clips, lesson plans, worksheets
and certificates for all who take part.
Comments from teachers included:
- 'All schools should offer first aid – its something all
children will be meeting and needing in life'
- 'It's much easier than you first think it's going to be.
In the beginning you are worried about your own expertise – but the
Young first aider pack gives you all the support that you
How St John Ambulance helps
St John Ambulance has a long history of
working with schools but is stepping their commitment up a gear
with its new strategy to ensure that every school child has access
to first aid training over the next five years. Since launching its
Young first aider training resource in
2007 over 4000 schools have used it to train 300,000
children; however the charity wants to go further with the
support of teachers, pupils and parents.
Elaine Howlings, who is responsible for
schools training at St John Ambulance, says: 'We’re encouraged that
teachers are calling for more people to learn first aid in schools.
We know that first aid saves lives and you are never too young to
learn. More importantly, our research shows that young people
want to learn about it. They’ve told us how helpless they
feel not being able to help a loved one.
'First aid can do more than save lives or care
for a friend; it could change how people think about young people.
Teachers recognise that it can also help pupils understand the
value of life and the importance of communication and teamwork, as
well as boost self esteem – and let's not forget that learning
first aid looks good on your CV,' she continued.
'We urge teachers, parents and pupils to get
in touch with us to find out more about what we can offer young
people. It's only through partnership that we can make this