First Aid for Schools: How Early Education Can Help Future Generations


First Aid, how important is it to you?

Well, as a skill set that can potentially save lives and reduce long-term injury, we’re hoping its pretty high on your list of priorities. But just in case it’s not, in this article we’ll be exploring just how beneficial first aid can be when taught from an early age, and how this can affect our communities positively for future years.


Europe today faces growing challenges with an increase in its ageing population. An increased population across the UK and the rest of Europe can mean a potential risk for our generation and future generations to become overly dependent on emergency services.  A rise in dangers such as road accidents, domestic accidents and binge drinking are on an increase throughout the nation causing reason for worry of the stretch of our emergency resources.

Skills for Life

By introducing First Aid skills to children whilst still in school, we can create a generation with a greater value for life, encouraging them to assist those who are in need and providing them with a better knowledge of preserving life and reducing injury.

In a recent survey conducted by British Red Cross, more than 90 percent of secondary school students showed an interest in becoming first aid trained through school and felt it would help their confidence should they need to help a friend or family member who required emergency assistance.

In addition to this, the same survey acquired the following results:

- 94% would feel more confident to help a friend or family member needing first aid if they received training
- 91% of students would like to learn first aid in schools
- 67% agree that it would be easier to find a job if they received first aid training
- 66% are not currently confident that they could help someone who needs first aid


Norway currently leads Europe in First Aid safety with 95% of their population equipped with the life-saving skills. This is closely followed by the 80% qualified population of Austria and Germany and 75% of citizens trained in Iceland.

Currently in the United Kingdom, no more than 5% of our 64.1 million population is equipped with the first aid skills which can save a life. 55% of European Countries have began to make first aid training compulsory for a driving license and 70% have introduced mandatory courses for industrial workplaces . These beneficial developments have begun to span widely across Europe, so why is the UK failing to see the need for First Aid training in our schools?


What First Aid Means For Schools

From cuts and bruises, to more serious incidents which can include seizures and cardiac arrests; school is no safe haven no matter how many precautions are put in place. This is why first aid skills hold such importance to the safety and well-being of both staff and pupils for the promotion of quick recovery and also the administration of immediate life-saving care.

Should a student suffer a cardiac arrest during a P.E lesson, every minute which passes without treatment decreases their chances of survival by 10%. With current ambulance response targets at 11 minutes, over 80% of the victim’s chance of survival could be lost before the arrival of medical assistance.

With first aid trained students and staff however, and with an AED on site, this could be a very different story.

Upon collapse, a fellow student could immediately begin to administer effective CPR to the victim, with the teacher taking over should they begin to fatigue.

Another pupil can alert the head office, where the defibrillator can be retrieved and an ambulance can be contacted.

Bringing the defibrillator to scene of the emergency, this can be applied to the victim where life-saving shocks can be delivered within minutes of collapse – thus giving the pupil the best chance of survival.

First aid education highlights the importance of fast action and effective treatment, giving victims a better chance of survival whether an emergency was to occur on the school grounds, in a public location or even at home.

Investing in Lives

Currently, 400,000 young people are injured at school each year, only a small percentage of the 450,000 teachers and 8 million pupils are first aid trained and capable to deal with such injuries.

Statistics show that accidental burns, falls and poisoning are among the leading causes of death and injuries of children up to the age of 14 in the UK. It has been determined that 55% of these victims could have been saved had there have been a trained first aider nearby.

As we absorb information so much easier at a younger age, by starting from the very beginning and providing children in school with the skills and awareness to act in a first aid emergency, we can create a generation to minimise the effects of injuries and diseases.

Investing in our pupils can be incredibly cost effective for the future. By having the first aid knowledge to provide immediate care can reduce the severity of an injury, preventing the unnecessary use of medical equipment/treatment which can ultimately reduce costs to the NHS for the future.

As all first aid certificates last for 3 years, by scheduling a refresher course routinely for when their certificate is due to expire we inadvertently make first aid a second nature to their skill set. Doing this would mean by the time they leave full time education, they will be so accustomed to having such knowledge, they would actively and regularly refresh their skills, ensuring they are equipped for life.


There are currently 8.4 million pupils enrolled in schools throughout the UK, making up over 10% of the overall population in the UK. If we begin educating our schools in first aid now, creating first aiders who not only have the confidence to act in an emergency situation, but can also share their skills with family members and friends; in a matter of years we can create an entire popular which has adequate knowledge of first aid, how to provide effective care and potentially save lives.

We hope this article has helped to promote just how important first aid is, and what first aid training in schools can mean for our country and our future.

To share your views on this matter, or to discuss it in more detail please feel free to get in touch via our facebook and twitter pages where we can interact with you further on this subject.


Comments (2)

  • Hi Frankie,

    I'm interested in running a pilot study in South Shropshire looking at the impact of teaching primary school children 1st aid on the local nhs economy. I wondered if you had any research on the benefits of teaching children 1st aid. Especially on any cost benefit to the bus and UK economy. It's a bit of a deep subject sorry.

  • Hi Tom,

    Many thanks for your comment. Please find a few of our blogs that highlight the benefits and importance of teaching children First Aid:

    I hope these help. Kind regards, Jenny.

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