Proposal for children to learn life-saving skills in schools – Friday 11 January 2019

This week I report on the DfE’s plans for children to learn life-saving skills as part of health, sex and relationships education, the publication of an activity passport for primary school children to inspire and boost resilience, the Education Secretary’s request for schools to lead the way in reducing plastic waste and the announcement of the first modern foreign languages centre for excellence.

Plans for children to learn life-saving skills
To ensure the next generation knows what to do in an emergency, the Government is planning to make health education compulsory in all state-funded schools. Under the proposed new guidance, by the end of secondary school pupils will be taught how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and basic treatments for common injuries.

The proposals are part of the Department for Education’s plans to strengthen teaching of health, sex and relationships education – building on free resources already available for schools to teach first aid including those provided by the Every Child a Lifesaver Coalition, made up of the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.

Activity ‘passport’ to inspire children and boost resilience
Early in the new year the Education Secretary launched a ‘Passport’ of activities to enrich children’s experiences and skills, backed by the Scouts, Girlguiding and National Trust.

The ‘My Activity Passport’ list is part of the Education Secretary’s vision for every child to have the opportunity to enjoy new and varied experiences, no matter their background, comprising of key areas:

  • drive and tenacity;
  • sticking at the task at hand;
  • understanding how to work towards long term goals when reward might be a long way off in the future; and
  • being able to pick yourself up and bounce back from life’s challenges.

Schools urged to ban single-use plastic
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has urged schools to “lead by example” in the Government’s drive to reduce plastic waste. This would involve avoiding the use of plastic bags, straws and bottles in favour of sustainable alternatives, and talking to pupils about the detrimental long-term effects that discarded plastic has on the environment.

No additional funding has been allocated to assist schools with the changes; however, Mr Hinds has said that his department will “increase communication” with the school supply chain over plastic packaging of “day to day” supplies for schools, but his “ambition” is for schools to work with suppliers to make the changes themselves.

New centre for excellence to boost modern foreign language skills
The School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, announced yesterday that the University of York was England’s first modern foreign languages centre for excellence.  The centre, which will be known as the Centre for Excellence for Languages Pedagogy, will work with schools to help more young people learn foreign languages.

The university will now co-ordinate the work of nine modern foreign languages hubs – leading schools that are working with other schools and sharing best practice to boost the teaching of Spanish, French and German.