Durrington High School is a year ahead of the new health curriculum, thanks to a passionate science teacher who knows first hand the importance of the CPR procedure.
Emergency first aid training will become compulsory in English schools from September 2020 but Jaimie Eason was the driving force behind implementing the heart training earlier than required, as her son Bradley was born with congenital heart disease and she is passionate about the benefits of teaching CPR to young people.
Jaimie said: “According to statistics from the British Heart Foundation, there are 30,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospital every year and less than 1 in 10 people survive due to the lack of CPR knowledge.
“By making CPR part of the science curriculum, we can ensure that every child in key stage three knows how to perform CPR, which is a great start.”
Brad was 16 when he travelled to America for treatment in June last year. The community in Shoreham, where they live, helped raise £25,000 to get him to a consultation with a doctor in Cleveland, Ohio, after he was told by doctors in London that he might have to wait years for the heart and lung transplant he needed.
Thanks to the #MendBradsHeart campaign, he was treated at the Cleveland Clinic, where doctors carried out open heart surgery, performing a mitral valve replacement and a tricuspid valve repair.
Jaimie said Brad is now doing brilliantly following his treatment and the experience inspired her to ensure CPR was taught in her school.
The lessons are now part of the science curriculum in key stage 3 at Durrington High. Students in year seven will learn how to perform CPR and then have a refresher in year nine. They will also be taught how to use the defibrillator and from September 2020, basic first aid training will be added.
Helen Fraser, marketing lead, said: “The school are using a CPR kit provided by the British Heart Foundation and specifically designed to make sure the CPR is being performed correctly.
“The steps of CPR are quite basic but it is having the confidence to perform it in an emergency situation that is a large factor.
“By teaching these vital skills at a young age, it is hoped they will have the knowledge and the confidence to act should they ever need to.”