SCHOOLS are encouraged to take up the offer of potentially life-saving free first aid training for pupils.

Bracknell-based pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim is sponsoring a St John Ambulance trainer to go into schools in the Bracknell News's circulation area, thanks to a link-up between the three organisations.

St John Ambulance schools liaison officer Natasha Bright-Thomas said: "No school pupil is too young to learn basic first aid. And what greater lesson is there than the one which teaches them to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved?

"First aid training helps young people understand the value of life and the importance of caring for others. It also builds self-esteem and develops valuable life skills for the future.

"As a teacher myself, I understand that spare time for extra-curricular activities is limited but by giving pupils the opportunity to learn first aid we are empowering them to potentially save lives.

"The schools we have worked with so far have told us it is well worth making the time for first aid and many have already booked further sessions for the autumn term."

The charity can run assemblies lasting from 20 minutes to an hour introducing basic first aid with demonstrations of techniques including CPR. It is also offering the St John Ambulance Young First Aider course, which teaches primary or secondary pupils using videos, role-play and games. It helps them know about asthma, choking, bleeding, CPR and the recovery position.

The six-hour course can be held in one day, or three two-hour sessions. Pupils receive a certificate.

Under-fives can take part in a teddy bear first aid session of any length where pupils bring along their cuddly toys and learn how to apply a bandage, put them in the recovery position and make a 999 call.

For the assemblies, courses and teddy bear sessions, schools are asked to pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of the course materials and trainers' travelling expenses but all other costs are covered by the Boehringer sponsorship.

First aid training can be incorporated into other subjects such as person, social, health education (PSHE), citizenship, PE and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

* Schools in Bracknell, Ascot, Sandhurst, Crowthorne and Wokingham can contact St John Ambulance via 0118 933 5514 or email