Thank you to all those who have contacted me regarding the Second Reading of the Emergency First Aid Education Bill, due to take place on 20 November.  Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the debate due to Ministerial engagements but I do agree with the importance of first aid education.

The Government too is supportive of the idea of teaching first aid in schools, but without introducing legislation to force schools to do so.  Indeed, there are many things which people regularly ask to be included in the national curriculum and it would be difficult for schools to do any actual teaching if everything was included.

The national curriculum is designed as a minimum expectation; a framework around which schools should be free to build their own system of learning based on what works for them. Schools are free to include first aid in their programme if they choose to, but should not be forced to.

Furthermore, schools are not the only providers of education to children; parents and voluntary groups outside school also play an important role.  The Department for Education is supporting the work of voluntary organisations in this area and is currently working with the British Heart Foundation to promote its CPR kit to schools. It is notifying all schools of the Foundation's "Call, Push, Rescue" kit in the next all-school termly e-mail.  It will continue to work with the Foundation to promote its resources, as well as those provided by St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, to all schools.

First aid skills are an important part of our children's wider education and although the Government does not believe that adding it to the national curriculum would advance the cause most effectively, it will remain open to further discussions about the best way to promote these issues to schools.