SHOEBURY High School is one of the first in the country to pilot first aid training as part of the curriculum this year.

The school, part of 300 schools nationwide, which will grow to 500 in the near future, will receive training and resources from the British Red Cross to boost pupils’ lifesaving skills.

Compulsory first aid training will be part of the national curriculum across the UK from next year, but the school has been chosen to pilot the initiative.

Primary school pupils in England will learn basic first aid, whilst secondary school students will learn more in-depth lifesaving skills.

This comes after ten years of campaigning from the British Red Cross, and an event on Friday at the school marked its adoption of the lessons.

Amanda Treherne, social science teacher at the school, said: “We’re really glad to be bringing in first aid as part of the new PSHE lessons. We want to give our students life skills they can bring into the community.

“With first aid training, they can get the skills and the confidence to act if something happens, and they can take that with them into adulthood.”

On Friday, first aid training was delivered to Year 11 students at the school, with plenty getting involved.

One student, Charlotte Milligan, 15, from Shoebury, said: “I think it’s really helpful to learn first aid, because you never know what might happen.”

Another, Emily Blunden, 15, also from Shoeburyness, added: “My mum’s a nurse, so I know how that quick action can save someone’s life.

“It’s just really important to know that you can be the person that does something.”

Suzanne Palka, community education co-ordinator at the British Red Cross, who has experience in teaching first aid, said: “I love teaching these skills to school children because they’re like little sponges. They soak up the training and retain it, so they can use it for the rest of their lives.

“Knowing a few fairly simple skills and having the confidence to use them can make the crucial difference in an emergency.

“Around 18 months ago I taught key skills to a school group. Two weeks later, their teacher had a heart attack, and they were able to use first aid to save his life.

“That’s what we want to achieve – a generation of lifesavers.”