The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that the first deliveries of defibrillators to state-funded schools in England are taking place this week. The programme seeks to ensure that all schools have access to defibrillators. To do this, the department has procured over 20,000 defibrillators for schools, with deliveries expected to be completed over this academic year.
The department has worked with leading charities, including the British Heart Foundation, the Oliver King Foundation, Resuscitation Council UK and St John Ambulance to update its defibrillator guidance. This revised guidance will give schools the tools they need to successfully manage their defibrillators and maximise access, where appropriate. The guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/automated-external-defibrillators-aeds-in-schools
In addition, the department is providing awareness videos, showing how simple defibrillators are to use and will be encouraging schools to share these videos in staff meetings and assemblies. By providing defibrillators and raising awareness, this programme will help a generation of young people to feel confident and able to use this life saving equipment.
Research shows that cardiac arrest is more likely to happen during sporting activities. Therefore, secondary schools with two or more defibrillators will also receive an internal cabinet, so that one defibrillator can be placed at the school sports facility. This will ensure that defibrillators are strategically placed where they are most needed and will maximise their availability to the community using the sports facility for clubs and other activities.
Research also shows that broader access to defibrillators is lower in certain areas. To address this, we will be targeting support to primary schools, special schools and alternative provision settings in areas which currently have lower provision who want to make their DfE-funded defibrillators accessible to their local community, an external defibrillator cabinet. This will support greater access to defibrillators for local communities in the areas that need it most.
The procurement for defibrillator cabinets is underway, and we expect deliveries to take place this year. More details will be released once the procurement has concluded.