Charity calls for first aid to be taught in schools

First aid

Three youngsters have headed to the Scottish Parliament as part of a campaign calling for lifesaving skills to be taught in primary schools

7th March 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has launched a campaign calling for all children in Scotland to be taught basic first aid skills.

A teenage student from Glasgow and two primary school children from West Calder will appear before a Holyrood committee today (Thursday 7 March) to urge the Scottish Government to back the teaching of basic first aid skills in all state primary schools.

Rebecca Russell, 18, from Crookston, who is a youth group leader with St Andrew’s First Aid, Ellie Meek, 10 and Millie Robinson, 10, from Parkhead School, West Calder, will appear as witnesses in front of the Petitions Committee at the Scottish Parliament.

They will join St Andrew’s First Aid chief executive Stuart Callison and other representatives from the organisation in urging MSPs to back its public petition, which wants all primary schools in Scotland to incorporate basic first aid as an integral part of their curriculum.

Millie and Ellie are both in the Thistles in the West Calder Company. Thistles is a fun and educational weekly programme for children aged five to 10 to work towards achieving their Inspiring Thistle Award. They learn about the history of St Andrew’s First Aid, first aid and life skills including, keeping themselves safe, the planet and sustainability, healthy body, looking after pets, sport and games and nature, which helps them reach their goal of completing 12 badges to achieve their Inspiring Thistle Award. 

Rebecca, who studies at City of Glasgow College, first joined St Andrew’s First Aid aged 10 as a cadet at its Stanley Company. Now eight years on she is a youth leader and teaches a new generation of cadets first aid at its meetings in Ibrox Parish Church.

Rebecca has used the skills she has learned twice to help strangers in the street suffering potentially life-threatening health issues and nurse them until paramedics arrived. Her knowledge also inspired her to pursue a future career in child health and social care.

She believes if the petition is successful and all primary school children are given the opportunity to learn life-saving skills, the benefits for society in Scotland will be huge.

She said: “If all kids learned these skills there would definitely be fewer deaths. Say for instance a parent collapses at home, a child who sees this happen would be potentially able to save the life of that family member.

“It could be the difference between life and death. Not only that, it could be passed down from generation to generation. It would also be beneficial for paramedics as they would know there is a child there who knows how to keep a person stable and prevent more damage happening before they arrive.”

Callison said: “Rebecca, Millie and Ellie are fantastic examples of how young people can learn about first aid when in primary school.  Rebecca has carried this with her through her life and it gave her the confidence to help strangers in need and shape her future career.”