CPR classes in primary school: first aider’s push

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LIFE-saving resuscitation courses could soon become part of the primary school curriculum with a Tamworth man fighting to have CPR taught in classrooms across the state.

Former pool supervisor Cameron McFarlane has given CPR lessons to more than 20,000 students in NSW and is preparing to take his classes abroad into Vietnam to help combat child drowning figures.

Some agencies estimate up to 11,000 children drown each year in Vietnam and while Mr McFarlane hopes his skills can help overseas, he has a mission to embark on when he gets home.


Mr McFarlane met with NSW education minister Rob Stokes recently to discuss embedding his resuscitation course into the primary school curriculum.

The Tamworth man said it was a long way off becoming a reality, but the wheels have been put in motion.

In recent years, schools have taken on broader responsibilities in the lives of students engaging in safer driving and drug and alcohol awareness courses, among other intiatives.

But Mr McFarlane didn’t believe it would be a burden for schools to run CPR courses too.

“This is the feedback I’m getting from the principals,” he said.

“They’re asking why this isn’t a part of the education system.

“[CPR] is an important skill and I think kids should have an understanding of it before going to high school.”

Mr Stokes said basic first aid was part of the mandatory content in PDHPE, but he stopped short of endorsing compulsory primary school lessons without “broad consultation”.

“It was great to meet Cameron and learn about the great work he is doing in primary schools across regional NSW equipping young people with lifesaving resuscitation skills,” Mr Stokes said.

“I understand Cameron and St John Ambulance are considering a submission to the NSW school curriculum review, and I encourage them to do so.”

Under our Local School Local Decisions policy, school principals are empowered to make decisions about which teaching and learning programs meet their students’ needs.

“Some schools choose to use external agencies to complement their existing PDHPE programs, such as the Royal Lifesaving Awards, St John’s Ambulance Certificates and Surf Lifesaving Awards.”

Book your school groups in with Canberra First Aid at www.canberrafirstaid.com