Children will be taught basic lifesaving skills under Government plans for health education to be taught in every school.
By the time they leave secondary school, all youngsters in England will have been taught how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and basic treatments for common injuries.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) described the plans as a “decisive moment” in improving on the fact that fewer than one in 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital in the UK survive.
In countries that already teach CPR in schools, cardiac arrest survival rates are more than double those of the UK.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “On arriving at university I was struck that the American students I met knew how to do CPR – and I didn’t have a clue.
“As a father I want my children to have the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves safe and help others, and as Education Secretary I want that for every child.
“Learning the basic skills of first aid and techniques like CPR will give young people the confidence to know that they can step in to help someone else in need and in the most extreme cases – it could potentially save a life.”
The proposals, due to be rolled out in 2020, are part of the Department for Education’s plans to strengthen teaching of health, sex and relationships education.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF, said: “The Department for Education’s plans to introduce CPR on to the curriculum is a decisive moment in the battle to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, following years of campaigning by the BHF and others.
“There are 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests every year, and each day people needlessly die because bystanders don’t have the confidence or knowledge to perform CPR and defibrillation.
“This is why all schoolchildren should be given the opportunity to learn these skills.
“Introducing CPR lessons into health education in all state-funded secondary schools is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.”