Community of Lifesavers Education Programme

Community of Lifesavers Education Programme

In March 2022, legislation came into effect stating that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) must be included in the minimum statutory content in Learning for Life and Work at Key Stage 3. CCEA has partnered with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), the Department of Education (DE) and the Education Authority to create the Community of Lifesavers Education Programme to support schools in meeting this requirement.

The legislation under Article 7 of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order now states that:

The Department must exercise its powers under Article 7(2), to ensure that, in relation to the area of learning called Learning for Life and Work, in relation to Key Stage 3, the minimum content includes -

(a) training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and
(b) automatic external defibrillator (AED) awareness.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the Kids Save Lives European Programme – a CPR training programme implemented in school curricula in 34 countries across Europe. In referring to the training programme, a number of key resuscitation expert groups, including the European Resuscitation Council issued a statement recommending children from the age of twelve in all schools worldwide should receive two hours of CPR training annually. This led to the development of ten key principles which underpin the Community of Lifesavers Education Programme. More locally, the Department of Health published the Community Resuscitation Strategy (2014) and the implementation of this strategy included instructor training of teachers through the British Heart Foundation Heartstart initiative. This enabled pupils in over 600 schools across Northern Ireland to receive CPR training. The Community of Lifesavers Education Programme will build on the foundation of the Heartstart initiative in the teaching and learning of this key life skill.

Whilst the teaching of CPR and AED will sit within Learning for Life and Work, it will be necessary for schools to develop a whole-school approach in developing policy and delivery of the programme. In doing this, it is advisable for schools to identify staff in schools to be responsible for the coordination and delivery of the programme and allocate specific time to plan and deliver the course content. Teaching resources will be provided through this Hub and free kits for the practical teaching of CPR are available for post-primary schools from the British Heart Foundation through this link. Training for teachers will be delivered by the NIAS Community Resus Team and this is expected to take place from January 2023.

Programme Modules

This Hub will provide a range of resources to support schools in the effective delivery of CPR and other emergency first aid procedures at Key Stage 3. CCEA will be continuously updating these during 2022-2023.

The information and resources we provide will support the delivery of training under six core modules:

  • Conscious Casualty
  • Unconscious Casualty
  • Choking
  • Suspected Heart Attack
  • Cardiac Arrest 1: CPR
  • Cardiac Arrest 2: CPR and AED Awareness

Within each module you will find resources along with a PDF introducing the topic, a short, recorded webinar and a PowerPoint presentation which can be used in class with your pupils. It is recommended that the Four-Stage Teaching Approach is used when delivering the programme. This approach helps facilitate and retain learning and enables pupils to move from novice to skilled lifesavers. It is planned to add further optional modules to the core content covering the following topics:

  • Seizures;
  • Stroke;
  • Bleeding; and
  • Anaphylaxis.


The teaching ideas, lesson plans and accompanying worksheets have been developed using previous materials provided by the British Heart Foundation through its Heartstart programme for schools. We would like to acknowledge the British Heart Foundation and to thank them for sharing their materials for wider educational use.

Areas of Learning

Learning for Life and Work