Kelso High School: Sports first aid

If you teach physical education or you’re a sports enthusiast, you may have encountered a fair few first aid situations. For Kelso High School, Scottish Borders, first aid has become an essential part of their sports leaders programme. Every year students aged between 15 and 16 take part in the initiative with the objective of becoming sporting coaches of the future.

Neil Innes, Active Schools Coordinator, uses First aid learning for young people, a first aid teaching resource from the British Red Cross, to teach his students essential first aid skills through a series of interactive lessons. Here, Neil and his colleague Kevin Brown share their experiences and encourage other schools to get involved.

Sports first aid

The resource includes lots of sporting scenarios, from asthma attacks in the playground, to heart attacks on the football field and head injuries on the badminton court.

Neil says, “Our students are regularly seeing sprains and strains, head injuries and bleeds when they are out coaching and getting involved in sports in the community, so for them the first aid lessons are really relatable. There are lots of good videos to watch, which engages students and gives them an insight to the scenarios that they will come across.

“The resource has broadened our students’ horizons, as they may have typically focussed on skills more commonly associated with sports rather than considering some of the other skills like a heart attack or a stroke.”

breath1Many of the students had never learned first aid before but it is something that they all really enjoy. Like 15-year-old Owen, who says, “I have really enjoyed learning first aid because it gives you that reassurance and confidence when you come across a situation to help someone in need.”

The students also love the interactive and practical nature of first aid. Owen adds, “I enjoy first aid; it’s fun and interactive and gets the whole class involved in a practical way.”

Tying it to the curriculum

First aid learning for young people links closely to the Curriculum for Excellence, supporting young people in becoming responsible citizens. The resource also allows students to use their skills in the community and understand the importance of respecting and caring for each other.

“The programme has also meant our students have become responsive community citizens,” says Kevin Brown, Principle Teacher of Physical Education at Kelso High School. “They’ll no longer just walk past and instead will stop and intervene because they feel confident to step in and assist.”

It’s particularly important for a rural town like Kelso, where it could take longer for an ambulance to arrive, and their new skills could help save lives.

The resource

When talking about First aid learning for young people, Neil says, “The resource has a really good structure, it is easy to use with limited preparation and you can pick and mix the most relevant activities and skills for the students. It also has a whole host of practical activities which are perfect for this age group.”

Kevin adds, “The interactive nature of the case studies adds depth to the learning … the Red Cross really brings first aid to life.”

The students also agree; they like to practise their skills during the lesson and enjoy the interactive nature. 16-year-old student Mark says, “Most of the lessons are very practical – I like that type of learning. It makes it very enjoyable and it goes really fast.”

Neil adds, “It’s great to see the kids get involved … and develop a two-way relationship where they too are inputting to the lesson.”

Encouraging other schools

Neil finds teaching first aid very rewarding as he is often thanked by his students for giving them the skills. He thinks that it is an important life skill that all schools should do.

“It’s very worthwhile and it is also very rewarding when you are delivering it as you are potentially going to be helping save lives or help prevent more severe injuries.”