Tuesday, 29 June 2021
Department of Education and Skills
334. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will consider implementing education on basic first-aid skills which could be introduced to children in upper primary school and continued in secondary school given it would provide most of the young population of this country with the basic skills necessary to react in an emergency situation (details supplied). [34533/21]
There are no plans at present to introduce First Aid into the curriculum. The curriculum in second level schools must meet an extensive range of needs in catering for the cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social, physical and moral development of students, and in preparing them for the demands of citizenship, lifelong learning and social and economic participation. Key messages arising from evaluations of the curriculum relate to overload, and the need to make more time and space for active learning and the acquisition of core skills.
The Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum, which is currently mandatory for primary and Junior Cycle students, is focused on promoting the health and well-being of children. Teachers can include CPR/first-aid in their SPHE programme, however, it is not a mandatory component. Personal safety is currently addressed in a variety of ways in the primary and post primary curricula. For example, SPHE aims to develop student’s skills for keeping safe and to make students aware of appropriate responses to various threats to personal safety. This provides schools with opportunities to prioritise first aid if they consider this appropriate to meet the needs of their students.
At Junior Cycle, the curriculum is made up of a combination of full subjects and short courses. Short courses are designed for 100 hours of engagement over the three years of Junior Cycle. Some short courses will be designed centrally by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and others by schools themselves or other bodies, using the template provided by the NCCA. It is therefore open to a school or other body to develop a short course in first aid training, for use in schools.
There are also opportunities within Transition Year in which a flexible menu of learning modules can be provided by schools within the context of a framework for the programme set out by the Department. As part of this, it is open to schools to provide first aid training if they wish to do so.
Schools are encouraged to engage with community groups and a wide range of stakeholders to provide for extra-curricular learning opportunities such as first-aid training or to give talks to students. It is the policy of this Department not to endorse any products or programmes produced by external parties for use in schools, irrespective of whether these are for commercial purposes or are freely available to schools. It is the responsibility of each individual school to select the materials and resources that it will use to support its implementation of the curriculum.