EDUCATION at Thorogate Primary School goes far beyond the three Rs. Youngsters throughout the Rawmarsh school have completed First Aid courses, for which they all received certificates.
For several years, pupils have been given basic first aid training, and go on to leave school armed with knowledge that could save lives.
And it already has!
Staff member Kath Noble recalled one instance in which a pupil saved his younger brother from choking – by performing a necessary abdominal thrust, learned as part of his school training!
“If just one life is saved as a result of these lessons, then they are more than worthwhile”, said Mrs Noble.
The smallest children are taught how to stay calm when someone takes ill, to recognise if they need help, and what to do.
Each year they move to a further level of tuition, while refreshing what they have already learned.
By Year 6 and level three, pupils can conduct full CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), stem serious bleeding, deal with choking and respond to most medical emergencies.
With statistics that show 50 per cent of people of heart attack victims would stand more chance of survival if someone recognised their symptoms and knew what to do, the ‘heart start’ instruction is a priority.
It is made more so by this part of South Yorkshire suffering one of the highest incidences of heart disease in the country.
The whole course – that is based on St John Ambulance instruction – is a joint scheme between the school, the British Heart Foundation and the Rotherham Healthy Schools Initiative.
Skills are taught to pupils in a practical way, and as part of the timetable, with adult and baby mannequins to practice on, and a whole range of equipment.
The staff who administer the training have themselves been through qualifying courses run by St John Ambulance, and the charity has recently launched a new initiative.
Over the next five years they aim to ensure every pupil has a chance to learn about first aid, as a direct response to a survey that showed both they and their teachers would like the opportunity.
A nationwide survey of 1552 schools found 69 per cent of kids would not know what to do if someone needed first aid from them.
But 72 per cent said they would like to learn it, and 83 per cent said they would feel more confident if they had first-hand knowledge.
In addition, eight out of 10 pupils thought people would think more highly of them generally, if they were trained in the discipline.
Rotherham’s Healthy Schools Initiative has been ahead of the game in its bid to get the borough’s schools proficient in first aid. Thorogate was one of the first primaries to adopt the principle and pupils have graduated from the scheme for seven years.
First Aid is viewed as an important life skill that ultimately helps youngsters understand the value of life.