The British Red Cross has criticised the new statutory English schools curriculum for its failure to mention first aid education.
The charity suggests it is a "worrying move" to go against calls by many child health organisations and experts for the government to make life saving skills part of the core curriculum.
Rob the nation of a generation of life-savers
Jonathan Ellis, Head of Policy, Research and Advocacy at the Red Cross said: "Young people themselves are keen to learn first aid.
"We all know that emergencies can happen anywhere, but only seven per cent of people in the UK can correctly recall first aid advice and feel confident and willing to give first aid. So, simple skills learned in just a few minutes can save lives.
“We fear that the decision by government to ignore our calls will rob the nation of a generation of responsible life-savers in the future."
Lagging behind on life saving skills
The UK is currently lagging behind most of Europe in the number of young people trained in first aid. A recent ICM poll found that only 20 per cent of secondary school students in England and Wales have learned first aid in the classroom.
The Red Cross’ Pupil, Citizen, Life-saver campaign called for first aid and humanitarian education to be at the heart of the national curriculum in England. The campaign was supported by over 10,000 people, and 135 MPs signed a Parliamentary Petition supporting the cause.
Ellis added the charity will now urge the government to consider ways to promote first aid education in schools. Fifty schools are currently running a pilot scheme to promote health and wellbeing and the Red Cross wants a "healthy schools" approach to be common across every school.