Priority Call For First Aid Training In Schools

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A community minded initiative is aiming to pave the way for access to first aid & defibrillator training for primary and secondary schools in the North East & Yorkshire.

Chris Green, a clinical educator with CIPHER Medical has set up a group of community minded volunteers to deliver ‘taster sessions’ around first aid and how to use defibrillators.

More than ten volunteers from CIPHER medical give up their time to deliver the sessions with the aim of increasing awareness on the importance of first aid not only for staff, but also for pupils themselves.

One of these volunteers is Holly O’Brien, an Emergency Care Assistant working Frontline and on events. She recently attended Dormanstown Primary Academy in Redcar to deliver a CPR & AED session as well as an ambulance tour for a group of year 5 and 6 children.

Holly, like other volunteers have limited time in between 12 hour shift patterns but recognise the importance of spreading the word, adding: “Imagine if someone was in need of emergency assistance but the earliest arrival of paramedics was an hour or four. If treatment from anyone with knowledge has not begun in the first few minutes then the outlook is not good. 

“Now imagine if all people around were qualified and able to administer CPR and use a defibrillator thanks to something as simple as a training course.

“Lives can be saved and we all have a duty of care for each other. I am urging decision makers to organise their courses as a priority and help make everyone around us safer.”

The Government introduced First Aid & CPR training as part of the National Curriculum in September 2020 stating that schools should provide access to courses for all pupils and staff. This is compulsory for secondary schools in England. In Northern Ireland it is also compulsory for primary school children to be taught first aid on the National Curriculum.

Some primary schools are ahead of the curve in offering pupils and staff first aid training courses and installing defibrillator machines on site, but some are less aware and Chris is hoping the ‘Taster Sessions’ will raise awareness and encourage schools to hold courses as a priority.

“We are able to organise everything for schools from training course to defibrillator provision and installation. We see on a daily basis how important first aid training is. Knowing what to do and how to do it literally saves lives. Tragic events occur all around us and we need to be better prepared. 

“The Government have instructed schools and colleges to provide first aid training courses although awareness around the subject or even on providers like ourselves is minimal. Most assume that only a couple of staff within a school are supposed to be qualified in First Aid. 

“The reality is that schools should be providing First Aid Training to all staff and also all pupils.” Said Chris.

In addition to the accredited course which schools and work places can book, CIPHER volunteers go out in the local community to deliver interactive sessions around First Aid, CPR, AED and even careers talks to local community groups such as schools, charities and youth groups.

Chris added: “We don’t have a fund for this work, but as medical clinicians we know how important knowledge and training in the community is. This is why we have a group that volunteer their time to help raise awareness.”

In addition to the Taster Sessions groups can book a nationally recognised training course for their staff, pupils and members to gain a qualification and become part of an increasing number of members of the public with knowledge and abilities to save a life.

Andy Thomas, CEO of CIPHER Medical and a Consultant Paramedic said “In today’s world it is more likely to be the 30-50 year old staff member suffering from a medical episode such as a heart attack. These are not just problems for the elderly.

“Time is critical and having a colleague or pupil nearby with the knowledge of what to do and access to the right equipment can increase survival rates dramatically.

“These newly qualified people can then take this ability into their communities as well.”

In a world where stress levels continue to increase; the risk of medical problems and strain on an overloaded health care system is highlighting the urgency for a proactive approach from all organisations regarding First Aid training.

If your school or workplace is interested in booking a course, contact CIPHER medical on 01642 265220 or email

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