February 07, 2013

Michael Gove has missed first opportunity to save lives, must not miss second

Fabrice Muamba in Downing StreetA 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.

Respond to the Government’s new consultation on the programmes of study

This is a golden opportunity to make a lasting difference to this country’s terrible cardiac arrest survival rates

Along with Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) , we want to see emergency life support skills become a mandatory part of the secondary school curriculum in England. At the moment, only 1 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.

Read Fabrice Muamba's blog

Maura Gillespie, our Head of Policy and Advocacy, 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.”

Learn more about our campaign to ensure every child leaves school knowing how to save a life