Taken from the Department for Education's 25th July 2023 Press Release.
The government has confirmed today (25 July 2023) that all state-funded schools in England now have a life-saving defibrillator, drastically increasing the chances of surviving cardiac arrest for all state school pupils in England.
Following the government’s £19 million rollout, over 20,000 defibrillators have successfully been delivered to almost 18,000 schools since January.
In June, the Department for Education oversaw the successful completion of deliveries of defibrillators to secondary schools. Now, all eligible primary, special and alternative provision schools who did not already have a defibrillator have received deliveries, boosting their numbers in communities across the country.
Today’s milestone marks another step in the government’s commitment to delivering stronger, safer communities across the country.
In July 2022, the government committed to delivering these devices before the end of the 2022 to 2023 academic year to ensure that all state funded schools in England had access to a defibrillator, following the campaigning from Mark King of the Oliver King Foundation to ensure all schools have a defibrillator. Mark tragically lost his son, Oliver, after he suffered sudden cardiac arrest at school during a swimming lesson when he was 12-years-old.
Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan said:
"Having access to defibrillators in schools drastically increases the chance of pupils, teachers and visitors surviving a cardiac arrest.
Thanks to the tireless campaigning of Mark King, Jamie Carragher and Nicola Carragher we are proud to say that every state-funded school in England now has access to a defibrillator.
Teachers and pupils across the country can now be reassured that they will have access to one on school grounds should tragedy strikes."
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, said:
"We know that quick access to a defibrillator can save someone’s life if they’re having a cardiac arrest.
I’m proud that the government has ensured all state schools have defibrillators, but we want to go even further.
That’s why we’ll be inviting organisations to bid for a share of £1 million of government funding to buy life-saving defibrillators for community spaces, like town halls and parks across England."
Oliver King Foundation founder, Mark King:
"We as a family and foundation will continue to strive for change so no other family has to suffer as we are. > > We would like to say a massive thank you to Nadhim Zahawi, Lord Stuart Polak, Jamie Carragher and the DfE for helping us aim for legislation.
Oliver’s memory will live on and lives will be saved!"
Large schools have been provided with 2 or more defibrillators so that they can be strategically placed in areas of the schools where a cardiac arrest is more likely, such as sports halls.
A defibrillator is a machine that is placed externally on the body and is used to give an electric shock when a person is in cardiac arrest i.e. when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. Prompt defibrillation can help save a person’s life.
The government is also supporting schools in making defibrillators available to the community, with 1,200 external heated defibrillator cabinets being provided to primary and special schools by the end of 2023 in areas of deprivation, where provision is generally lower.
The rollout will build on existing requirements for schools to teach first aid as part of the curriculum, with secondary school pupils being taught life-saving methods such as CPR and the purpose of defibrillators. This rollout will help protect schools and their local communities against cardiac arrest, delivering wider access to these devices.
George Woods, Chief Business Officer for Education and Enterprise at St John Ambulance, said:
"It’s fantastic news that our eligible state schools will have this lifesaving technology at their fingertips should it be needed.
Defibrillators are an incredibly important piece of equipment and can often dramatically increase the chances of someone surviving a cardiac arrest.
We are delighted that pupils, staff and visitors to the school can benefit from these devices in the event of a medical emergency until further help arrives.
At St John Ambulance, we know that community first aid saves lives, and this is the perfect example of a whole community coming together to make it a safer place to be."
James Cant, Chief Executive at Resuscitation Council UK said:
"It’s great news that 20,000 defibrillators have now been delivered to all state schools across England, it’s now essential that they are regularly checked, registered on the Circuit and always rescue ready.
We need to see more defibrillators placed outside school gates in high-risk areas so they are available to the community, so it’s encouraging to see that 1,200 community facing defibs will be rolled out by the end of the calendar year."