Schools cannot be expected to do everything

On P.62 of today’s The Mail on Sunday, it is reported that Ministers have backed a campaign that calls for first aid to be added to the school curriculum. Schools minister David Laws says the skills should be taught as a compulsory part of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons. 

Mr Laws says: “Liberal Democrats are clear that all schools should teach PSHE, and that we would expect that to include first aid.

Health minister, Earl Howe also joined in, saying: “First aid is a highly valuable, potentially lifesaving skill and I encourage schools to teach pupils first aid through their PSHE lessons.

I couldn’t agree more that first aid is highly valuable and learning it has certainly helped me to help others over the years.  But growing up, at school-age, I learnt basic first aid as a member of the Cubs and Scouts – it stood me in good stead.

Let’s not ask schools to do everything – we are setting them up to fail – but let’s ask schools to create effective partnerships, to signpost to organisations who are better equipped to support in giving the children some of the other skills they need in life.

So, rather than taking on more work, let’s encourage schools to make contact with other organisations – click here for some suggestions – and then to support children and families in attending a rich range of non-school activities.

Please do not interpret this as an expectation for schools to teach a limited, Maths and English only curriculum – this is certainly not an approach I agree with – but an expectation to create an opportunity for children to develop beyond the already rich, creative, enquiry-based curriculum that schools should already offer – an offer that gets squashed by trying to squeeze too much into it.



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