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8 February 2013
A review of the national curriculum in England has disappointingly failed to find room for life-saving CPR skills.
Education Secretary Michael Gove MP announced today what subjects would be taught in primary and secondary schools as part of the national curriculum. While all the current curriculum subjects were retained, there was no inclusion of emergency life support skills, which include CPR.
However, Mr Gove will now look at exactly what each of the confirmed national curriculum subjects should include. It means there is still an opportunity CPR could be taught but within another subject’s programme of study.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) want to see emergency life support skills become a mandatory part of the secondary school curriculum in England. At the moment, only one in 10 people survive a witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK. In Seattle and some parts of Norway, where CPR is taught in all schools, survival rates are more than 50 per cent.
In September, former footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed in cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match, delivered to Downing Street a 100,000-strong petition backing the BHF and RCUK’s campaign.
Maura Gillespie, Head of Policy and Advocacy at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Michael Gove talks about concentrating only on the essential knowledge and skills which every child should master. So it’s incredible to think he has found no room for CPR, one of the most essential skills any child could ever learn.
“It’s dismaying there is no place for CPR but the Government could still ensure every child leaves school knowing how to save a life if it were to include CPR in a core curriculum subject.
“This is a golden opportunity to make a lasting difference to this country’s terrible cardiac arrest survival rates.”
Respond to the Government’s new consultation on the curriculum's programmes of study at bhf.org.uk/backCPR.