Glasgow could have thousands of lifesavers in its schools if a ground-breaking partnership between the city’s education services and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) takes off.
Secondary school pupils are being taught simple life-saving skills and are taking those lessons into primary schools as part of an innovative peer tutoring scheme.
The programme, which is backed by the Scottish Ambulance Service, St Andrew’s First Aid and the Glasgow/BHF Heartstart initiative, was showcased at Garrowhill Primary in the East End, with seniors from Bannerman High School acting as mentors.
Pupils will learn, then pass on, emergency life support skills which cover cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to deal with bleeding and choking.
Under the guidance of Paramedic John Gallacher, colleague Anne Harrison, who is Community Resuscitation Development Officer, and John Breen, Bannerman High Employability Officer, two dozen pupils were taken through three emergency scenarios and asked to put what they had learned into practice.
The lessons, which dealt with conscious, unconscious and cardiac arrest casualties, are built around simple but effective routines.
Jonathan Findlay, Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: ‘Our aim is to have S4 pupils and P6 trained up in life-saving techniques – that is nearly 11,000 young Glasgow people who will be able to help out if faced with a life-threatening emergency.’
Garrowhill Headteacher Richard Buchan said: ‘
We’re always looking for ways to make learning real and meaningful and, rather than doing a worksheet, the children are hands-on and using a life-saving skill.
‘I also think the peer tutoring is a really good link to have. They are really good role models for our children and are raising aspirations as well in terms of what our pupils can hope to achieve when they go to S5. Hopefully, they’ll become buddies themselves and pass on their knowledge and skills to younger pupils.’
John Breen said: ‘We have six primary schools that feed into Bannerman, and I would like to see all P6s trained. It will take a lot of time but once it starts it’ll be far easier to roll out across all the schools.’