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McIlveen welcomes addition of CPR and defibrillator awareness to the school curriculum

(L-R) Denise McAnena, British Heart Foundation, Faith Chitwekwe, Head Girl Wellington College, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA, Ryan McCarroll, Head boy Wellington College and Stephanie Leckey, NI Ambulance Service.

Today marks a change to the school curriculum as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and awareness of the use of defibrillators (AED) become mandatory elements of the school curriculum.

Minister Michelle McIlveen has welcomed the changes which are part of a wider package to provide training and resources to support the rollout of CPR training in schools at Key Stage 3.

Welcoming the changes the Minister said:

“CPR is a critical and potentially life-saving skill. We know that providing CPR training within the school curriculum can have a clear and measurable impact on survival rates.

“I have therefore brought forward legislation to make CPR training and AED awareness compulsory elements of the curriculum at Key Stage 3.

“I am pleased to confirm that the new legislation comes into operation today and schools will be required to teach these vital skills as part of Learning for Life and Work lessons from September 2022.”

The Department of Education is working closely with educational partners and key stakeholders including the British Heart Foundation and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

The Minister added:

“I have already written to schools setting out my expectation that all pupils at Key Stage 3 will receive training on CPR and awareness of AEDs and this is now underpinned by a legal change to the school curriculum.

“My Department will be writing to schools to remind them of this new requirement and outlining the support we will provide to them.”

Fearghal McKinney the Head of British Heart Foundation in Northern Ireland (BHF NI) said:

“Today truly is a momentous day as the legislation comes into force that will lead to a new generation of lifesavers. Every day in Northern Ireland people tragically die because bystanders don't have the confidence or knowledge to perform CPR and defibrillation. We know that in other countries where children are taught CPR in school, cardiac arrest survival rates are higher.

“With the right support for schools, today’s change to the curriculum promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.”


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