By Q Radio News
Stormont's Education Minister has announced post-primary pupils will have access to CPR training as part of their curriculum.
The Department has written to all post-primary school principals about the move.
It's expected key stage 3 pupils will begin to be provided with training from the 2022/23 school year.
Minister Michelle McIlveen said, "CPR is a critical and potentially life-saving skill.
"In Northern Ireland, there are around 1,400 cardiac arrests a year that take place outside hospital.
"Less than one person in ten survives to be discharged from hospital. We know that providing CPR training within the school curriculum can have a clear and measurable impact on survival rates.
“My Department has therefore written to all post-primary schools setting out my expectation that pupils at Key Stage 3 will be trained in CPR from the 2022/23 school year.
"I have asked CCEA and the Education Authority to work closely with the British Heart Foundation and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to develop guidance, resources and training to support schools in this important work.”
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen speaking to Q Radio
Following the announcement, the Department has sharing the story of Claire Doyle whose daughter Melissa saved her life after learning CPR at school.
CPR training kits are available free to all eligible post-primary schools through the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Call Push Rescue’ programme.
It contains a range of resources to support the teaching of CPR, including reusable inflatable manikins and practice-while you-watch DVDs.
Head of British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland Fearghal McKinney said: “Every day in Northern Ireland people tragically die because bystanders don't have the confidence or knowledge to perform CPR and defibrillation.
"We know that in other countries where children are taught CPR in school cardiac arrest survival rates are higher.
“We congratulate the Education Minister for taking this action to ensure every pupil will now leave post-primary school with the skills and confidence to save a life. This is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.”
Clare Doyle, Head of British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland Fearghal McKinney, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Stephanie Leckey and Melissa Doyle.