The British Heart Foundation
Creating a Nation of Lifesavers


The British Heart Foundation




In Norway, where CPR is taught in schools, one in four people survive a cardiac arrest outside of hospital. In the UK, where CPR is not on the curriculum, only one in ten survive. To help change this statistic, and bring CPR training to students in schools, we equipped teachers with powerful content to engage their students.

The challenge was to communicate this sensitive topic in a way that would inspire, and not intimidate, young people. In order to get through to secondary school students, with whom it can be particularly difficult to engage, it was also critical we differentiate the programme from other parts of the curriculum.

Knowing that adolescents are particularly sensitive and responsive to influence by friends, we backed up the practical activity of CPR with film content featuring emotive stories told through the experiences of peers.

The films were shown during assemblies to introduce the programme and were supported by a poster campaign that also featured our real-life lifesavers. Student participation was further encouraged and rewarded through certificates and wristbands proudly declaring: ‘I’m a lifesaver’.

To date, our training has reached over 100,000 pupils in 139 schools. Thankfully, it’s had an immediate impact, as 15-year-old Alex Cowes’ life was saved by his schoolteacher who performed CPR when he suffered a cardiac arrest during PE