CHILDREN learned skills that could save a life when they took part in first aid sessions at their school.

The instruction took place at Great Hollands Primary through a News-backed initiative in which Bracknell pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a St John Ambulance schools liaison officer.

A teddy bear session for Year Two pupils aged six and seven was held on Thursday last week then Year Five and Six pupils aged from nine to 11 had five hours of training during the Young First Aider course over Monday and Tuesday.

Year Six pupil Billy O'Brien, 11, said the sessions were fun but added: "You never know when there's going to be an emergency situation and when there is you've got to be ready for it." Fellow Year Six pupil Ethan Boyer, 11, said they were taught about bleeding and shock and said: "It's good to know just in case something happens to one of my family or friends." Sorelle Collins, 10, in Year Five, added: "We learnt about what you have to do whilesomeone is choking or has something stuck in their throat and they can't get it out themselves." Topics covered by Years Five and Six also included asthma, coping in an emergency, the recovery position, bites and stings, burns and scalds, poisons, chest pains, bone, muscle and joint injuries, electric shock, fainting and resuscitation. Children were given certificates to recognise their achievement.

Julie Gilbert, schools liaison officer for St John Ambulance, who visited the school in Wordsworth, Great Hollands, to give first aid instruction, said: "The children actually get an awful lot out of it. It empowers them to actually want to help as opposed to walking on by.

"They have been really enthusiastic and really wanting to learn." Great Hollands Primary School's Year Five and Six team leader Andrea Flight added: "The children have been completely focused. They understand its importance and relevance to today's society." Primary and secondary schools can sign up youngsters to take part in a Young First Aider course - which is usually spread over six hours in total - for which they receive a certificate.

Meanwhile, the teddy bear sessions, tailored towards younger children, can take as little as 20-30 minutes.

The training part of the first aid courses are free, thanks to Boehringer Ingelheim's sponsorship. There is a nominal fee for use of equipment.

To make a booking, contact St John Ambulance via 0118 933 5514 or email