Ovingham Middle School students are Students are Heart smart with Heartstart

Keen students from Ovingham Middle School have received certificates for successfully completing the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Heartstart’ course

The course gives them the skills to make a 999 call, place someone in the recovery position and how to deal with someone who is choking.

Nearly 90 students from year 5, 6, 7 and 8 completed the course, which was led by Debbie Smith who is a teacher at the school. Alex Wheeler, Community Resuscitation Officer for North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), assisted Debbie with sessions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), dealing with severe bleeding and how to recognise someone is having a heart attack.

In recognition of the school's commitment to teaching the course, they were also presented with a HeartSmart award by the North East Ambulance Service.

Debbie Smith, Teacher said: "The Heartstart initiative is a fantastic way of teaching the principles of emergency aid through interactive sessions, role-plays, presentations and question and answering. Although we hope that pupils will never need to use the skills they have gained, we are confident from their responses throughout the programme that if they were faced with a real life first aid situation they would be aware of the main actions to take. They would know to stay calm and seek help as quickly as possible".

Alex Wheeler, Community Resuscitation Officer for NEAS said: "All of the students were so keen and got very involved. They took things very seriously and all made a real effort to have a go.   Even more encouragingly, the pupils were happy to share their new skills with family and friends, passing on their knowledge."

Neil Jones, Head Teacher of Ovingham Middle School: "Heartstart provides cross curricular learning and engages pupils in decision making activities. It also generates opportunities for peer coaching as those with pre-existing knowledge of first aid can assist others.

"The involvement of representatives from the North East Ambulance Service has been invaluable throughout the Heartstart programmes delivered at our school and visits from resuscitation officers have promoted our community cohesion links. One group of children particularly enjoyed the opportunity to have a first-hand look at an ambulance. Pupils are proud of their achievements when they are presented with their Heartstart certificates and as a school we are delighted to accept the Heart Smart award to recognise the hard work of those pupils and staff involved".

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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