Should life saving CPR Training form part of the curriculum? The Assembly’s Education Committee wants to hear your views

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 23 November 2021

Reference: EDUC 02/21/22

The Assembly’s Education Committee has today launched its ‘Call for Views’ on the Education (Curriculum) (CPR and AED) Bill. The new proposals were brought forward in a Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Colin McGrath MLA.

If passed, the new legislation will mean that mandatory cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and automatic external defibrillator (AED) awareness will be included in the curriculum for all Key Stage 3 pupils in Northern Ireland. The Committee is also keen to explore the possibility of extending the proposals to include mandatory refresher training on a periodic basis.

Speaking after today’s launch of the ‘Call for Views’, the Committee Chairperson, Chris Lyttle MLA said: “It is crucial that our local children and young people, in line with their counterparts in other regions of the UK, are equipped throughout their educational journey, with a blend of practical skills and knowledge. In this instance, not only will this particular training serve to enhance their overall learning experience, it could also be key to them acquiring the skills necessary to save lives in the future.”

Mr Lyttle continued: “Many of us watched on in horror, as the talented Danish footballer, Christian Eriksen collapsed during Euro 2020. There can be little doubt that his life was saved by the quick administration of CPR and defibrillation at the scene.  Interestingly, in Eriksen’s native Denmark, the adoption of mandatory CPR training in schools has been cited as leading to an improvement in survival rates of cardiac arrest to one in four. Sadly, in comparison with Denmark, our local survival rates paint a much starker picture, with less than one in ten people who suffer an out-of-hospital experience, recovering from a cardiac arrest.

This Bill has already gained strong support from consultation exercises carried out by Mr McGrath in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission and Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which have highlighted that 94% of respondents believe that CPR training should be compulsory in schools.”   

Mr Lyttle concluded: “For a relatively small place, our local education system has produced many exceptional people, including the inventor of the portable defibrillator, Frank Pantridge from Hillsborough. As a Committee we would hope that, as well as providing vital CPR and AED training, this legislation will serve to inform and inspire our young people towards inventing new methods to enhance life-saving techniques in the future.”

The Committee ‘Call for Views’ and further information on how to respond can be accessed on the Northern Ireland Assembly website via The closing date for responses is Friday 17 December 2021.


Notes to Editors:

Further information on the Education (Curriculum) (CPR and AED) Bill can be found here:

Committee Membership:

Chris Lyttle MLA (Chairperson)

Pat Sheehan MLA (Deputy Chairperson)

Nicola Brogan MLA

Robbie Butler MLA

Diane Dodds MLA

Harry Harvey MLA

Daniel McCrossan MLA

Justin McNulty MLA

Robin Newton MBE MLA


Media enquiries to:
Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368