St John Ambulance’s Big First Aid Lesson


St John Ambulance is reaching out to parents to inform their child’s school about the Big First Aid Lesson, an educational event that aims to equip over 50,000 young people with the skills to act in an emergency. Television star Claudia Winkleman is set to host the biggest free first aid lesson in the country on Friday 12 June 2015.

The Big First Aid Lesson is a one hour free, online first aid session streamed live into classrooms across the country. The lesson will combine first aid training and 999 scenarios with real life stories, as well as opportunities for pupils to join the conversation via Google Hangouts. It is aimed at students between seven and 16-years-old.

The only equipment schools will need is an internet connection and a screen (such as an interactive whiteboard) for their pupils to watch in the classroom or during assembly. This year, the event will focus on first aid skills that might be needed over the summer holidays and pupils will learn how to confidently deal with head injuries, asthma attacks and anaphylactic shock, which can happen to people who have allergies.

Last year over 32,000 young people tuned into St John Ambulance’s first Big First Aid Lesson – and this year the charity wants even more to take part. By 2018 the charity is aiming to train two million children a year in life saving skills.

Claudia Winkleman, a TV presenter and mother of three, said:

‘The Big First Aid Lesson is a fantastic and engaging way of teaching students the skills they may need to help keep a classmate or a family member safe in an emergency while they’re out on the playground or enjoying their summer holidays. All schools should make teaching young people basic first aid a top priority.’

Wendy Human, Director of Charitable Initiatives and Training, St John Ambulance said:

'We’re asking teachers to commit just one hour of their timetables to the Big First Aid Lesson so every student can learn how to save a life - it could be the most important lesson your child ever learns.

‘We’re looking forward to working with Claudia to create a fun first aid hour, so more young people can feel confident to deal with any first aid emergency.’

Young life saver

St John Ambulance frequently hears stories of schoolchildren needing to give first aid. 17-year-old sixth former, Austin Sullivan put his life saving skills to the test when a classmate had a seizure.

The student remembered the first aid training he learnt at school less than 12 months earlier on a St John Ambulance course as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. He immediately took control of the situation and applied his first aid knowledge to help his friend who was having an epileptic fit while they were playing football at lunchtime. Austin’s classmate went up for a header and when he crashed to the ground he started to have a fit.

Austin stayed calm and asked other students to clear back so his friend had enough space around him and then asked someone to go and get a teacher and call for an ambulance.

‘I waited for my friend to finish fitting and then put him into the recovery position. I tried to reassure him that he was going to be ok and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. No one at school knew he had epilepsy.’

Austin added: ‘If I hadn’t have had first aid training, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do that lunchtime. When I did the course last year I thought I would probably never need to use first aid on anyone in the real world, but I’m really glad that I had the skills to help a friend. Everyone should learn first aid.’

St John Ambulance believes first aid should be on the National Curriculum, so that we can teach first aid to an entire generation. The charity is asking parliamentary candidates to promise to support first aid in schools on a special website: thepromise.sja.org.uk Members of the public can also pledge their support on the same site – so that politicians know first aid in schools is important – and check which candidates in their constituency have signed up.

For more information about the Big First Aid Lesson or to register, go to www.sja.org.uk/bigfirstaidlesson