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Drive to teach Highland pupils life-saving skills

By Tom Ramage

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Highland councillors today (December 5) heard about how the local authority is making huge strides in its ambition to provide emergency life support to all pupils in Highland.

Life-saving for all Highland pupils
Life-saving for all Highland pupils

Following a presentation from Pam Gowie from Lucky2BHere - outlining the history of the charity and the importance of Emergency Life Saving training - members were asked to note the report to the Care and Learning Committee from Interim Head of Education, Nicky Grant.

Over recent years Highland Council has promoted collaboration between head teachers of secondary and special schools and the Lucky2BHere charity.

The focus has been on empowering schools and communities to undertake fundraising for a defibrillator for their community and also provide Emergency Life Saving training for pupils.

The council has also encouraged engagement between head teachers, pupils, parent forums and communities to raise awareness of the importance of training for pupils and community members.

Currently 20 secondary schools and two special schools have a defibrillator on site and the focus in now on ensuring a commitment from the remaining schools to progress this in their local community.

From August this year Lucky2BHere has been engaging with secondary schools to offer a programme of emergency life support training, with the intention to delivery initially to S3 pupils. An evaluation will take place at the end of its current term to consider its success and sustainability.

The goal is to ensure that all young people in Highland leave secondary school having had the opportunity to undertake life-saving training.

Interim Head of Education Nicky Grant, said: “Lucky2BHere has been delivering this training in some of our schools for some time, through PSE or as part of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum. This is directly linked to improving outcomes for children, young people and their families.

“In addition one secondary school is currently developing its S3 Leadership Course, which includes Lucky2BHere emergency support training, with a view to securing SCQF wider achievement accreditation supporting the raising attainment agenda for all young people.”

Portree High School led the way in 2011 after it introduced Lucky2Bhere training and fundraised for a defibrillator.

The Lucky2Bhere charity was set up in 2009 by Ross Cowie from Portree, following his survival from a sudden cardiac arrest, and has found massive support over the years in Badenoch and Strathspey, with all communities joining in to raise their own funds and establish equipment at public halls and other accessible venues.

Courses in their use have long been available in the strath thanks to the charity.

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