'Lifesaving skills' - St John wants first aid as compulsory part of NZ school curriculum

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St John's Ambulance would like to negotiate with the Ministry of Health on how to make first aid a compulsory subject in all New Zealand schools.

St John's Sarah Manley is hoping to negotiate with the Health Ministry about getting first aid training into all schools.
Source: Breakfast

Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast, St John director of community health Sarah Manley said the national ambulance provider believes every primary school aged child in New Zealand should know basic first aid skills.

"We believe probably it's important to work with the Ministry of Education, with the New Zealand Resuscitation Council to have that conversation on how we integrate it into the school curriculum, because we believe every child in New Zealand should have these life saving skills," Ms Manley says.

St John currently provides an ASB St John in Schools - a visiting first aid course for pre-school, primary and intermediate schools around the country available on request by schools themselves.

However, there is no compulsory requirement for New Zealand schools to book this course.

Ms Manley says St John teach "quite simple concepts but important" for young students.

Included in these is, how to call 111, memorising and relaying the child's address, how not to be scared by an emergency situation, and basic bandaging.

Research has shown intermediate aged children are capable of performing CPR, so St John also teach that to appropriate aged students in their visiting program.

"Kids take to this learning like ducks to water, so they love learning these skills, and they put them to really good use, so we're really encouraged about the behaviour change we're seeking in our program," Ms Manley says.

Mrs Manley says St John are hoping to expand their current first aid in schools visiting program, from primary and intermediary schools to include secondary schools.

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