Questions about the Teaching Model:

Isn’t CPR Taught in Schools Now?

The government has added first aid in schools to the curriculum from 2020. Although lesson plans and resources have been provided, no provision to teach basic skills face-to-face has been made to our knowledge. Our Charity began in 2016 before first aid was added to the curriculum, because these skills are so important and research has shown that many people are still reluctant to perform CPR

By reaching out and teaching children four very simple skills we hope to equip and empower them to feel they can step up and provide assistance should they see a child choking, collapsed or an adult collapse. In time this will create a society where it is the norm to step up and offer assistance – rather than be reluctant to get involved.

What Are The Expectations of The Children Taught? Does This Training Make Them ‘First Responders?’

Our training is designed to equip and empower them to feel confident in recognising someone needs assistance because of choking or collapse, quickly assess a casualty whilst staying safe and take immediate first action and summon help quickly. It is there to empower them so they can act and not feel helpless. There is no expectation for them to become first responders or to be summoned to attend to casualties that are not in their immediate vicinity. It is simply to empower them so they have some basic skills if they are the person right there at an event-for example at home with a sibling. The choice to get involved and offer assistance to a casualty remains entirely theirs.

Why Do You Not Teach Rescue Breaths?

Rescue Breaths (mouth-to-mouth) should be performed if the rescuer is both trained AND happy to do so. We do not teach rescue breaths for the following reasons:

  1. They are technically difficult to perform – even by trained medical professionals
  2. They interrupt chest compressions
  3. Rescuers are often reluctant to perform them – especially on casualties who have vomited
  4. Reluctance to perform rescue breaths has been linked to lower incidences of bystander CPR
  5. The recommendations for CPR during Covid-19 from the BHF and Resus Council UK are to not perform rescue breaths

We acknowledge that in paediatric cardiac arrest (especially in younger children) that low oxygen levels are the most common reason for the heart to stop. However, hands-only CPR is still a valid and useful technique and increases the chance of survival over not receiving CPR at all.

Why do you not teach pulse or breathing checks in the casualty assessment?

We teach our child rescuers to perform a brisk “shake-and-shout” assessment to attempt to elicit a response. This removes the need to bring the rescuers face into close contact with the casualty’s face (thus reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission) and also removes the issue of not being sure of the response.

It can be difficult to tell if a collapsed casualty is breathing at all, breathing normally or to be able to feel a pulse – especially through clothes and in a noisy environment. If the child-rescuer does not know if a pulse is present or if the casualty is breathing, they will not know what to do next. This risks them stopping resuscitation altogether, which, if the casualty needs chest compressions, they will not receive and thus their chances of survival decrease significantly. Casualties who are not breathing normally and do not have an adequate pulse will need CPR. Our simple assessment gives a clear response (the casualty either speaks, moves, gasps, moans or they do nothing) meaning the rescuer knows what to do next. If compressions elicit a response from the casualty we teach the rescuer to stop and to put them into the recovery position and re-check them frequently until help arrives.

What if chest compressions are given to a casualty who does not need them?

Chest Compressions are very stimulating. If a casualty has fainted, they are very likely to regain consciousness at the stimulus of a chest compression and thus respond – which will trigger the rescuer to stop compressions and place the casualty into the recovery position. There is very little evidence to show injury or a bad outcome for a casualty who received compressions they didn’t need. This is in contrast to those who did not receive compressions when they needed them. Resuscitation Councils globally recommend that if a casualty is unresponsive and rescuers are not sure if they are breathing or have a pulse, then they should start hands-only CPR.

Should I cover the casualty’s face when performing CPR?

Current guidance suggests that you should if you can, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. We take a very practical approach to this advice and suggest that if the casualty has a facemask it can be applied before chest compressions begin, but unless a cover is immediately to hand, commencement of CPR must not be delayed by looking for face covering. We would not recommend covering the face of a casualty who is a young child and also that any face coverings used must not be a risk to blocking off the casualty’s airway.

What If the Attempted Resuscitation Fails?

We make it clear in the sessions to the children that sometimes resuscitation efforts don’t work and people whose hearts have stopped can still die. It is important to understand that it is not because the rescuers did anything wrong. By summoning help and performing chest compressions early, the casualty has been given the very best chance of survival and that is the important thing. It’s just sometimes the reason for their heart stopping-or their underlying health being poor – was too severe for them to survive – even with perfect assistance. Support is offered for rescuers such as

Or you can contact us at

Questions about Volunteering:

Do I Need to Have Formal CPR Training to Teach?

We welcome people who are formally CPR trained to volunteer, but it is not a requirement to be able to be a volunteer instructor with Little LifeSavers. Learning our simple model and agreeing to teach it exactly as laid out is all that is required. Formal CPR training provides far more than our simple bystander skills model and is therefore not necessary. Because it is our aim to reach as many children as we can with our simple skill set, we need to recruit as many volunteer instructors as possible throughout the UK. It is neither feasible nor necessary to formally train thousands of adults when the model we teach is so simple.

How Often Should I Volunteer to Teach?

The short answer to this is as often as you can – because it means we can teach more children and it is good practice for you as a volunteer instructor – especially when you have just started volunteering with us. Ideally we would ask for availability of all our volunteer instructors for one day or half day once a month and we only teach during the school day and in term-time. Volunteers who do not teach for six months will be required to attend a Zoom Training session again to refresh their memory for the training model.

How Long Do Sessions Take to Teach?

Sessions take approximately an hour to deliver but can run on by ten or fifteen minutes so allowing for 90 minutes to deliver it is recommended. We have set the session times as starting at either 10 am in the morning or 1pm in afternoon so as to make scheduling simpler for both schools and volunteers. Schools will have the contact details of volunteers who are available for the session so they can request a different start time. Please also allow for travelling time.

How Will I tell you when I’m Available to Teach?

We have a state- of- the- art online Booking System which will coordinate your geographic location, travel distance and the dates you can offer teaching with every other volunteer near to you. This means that when dates and travel radius overlap for three volunteers- a date is marked as ”available” on the system and then a school located in that radius can go ahead and book.

For an enquiring school the booking system shows when volunteers who are geographically near to them can come and teach (so availability of volunteers in Aberdeen will not be shown to a school looking to book a session in Kent for example). If there is no marked availability then schools can use the “request a session” facility and geographically relevant volunteers will receive an email asking if they can be available for a specific date.

In the past, sessions were organised by a single volunteer, emailing or messaging their local volunteer pool and asking for availability on certain dates. We found this method of organising the sessions very laborious and time consuming for the volunteers, and so have moved to a centralised and automated system so schools can simply see dates that are available and choose. This does require all volunteers to engage with the system and tick dates they can offer either a morning, and afternoon or both to the charity, as well as keep a regular check on their emails. The system will message and email when one of your dates has been booked – with the details of the school and numbers of children.

Why Do I Have To Pay For My DBS Check?

We have a duty of care to the children and communities we serve to safeguard the children we teach to the best of our abilities. To fulfil this we must undertake an enhanced DBS Check for all our volunteers. Whilst there is no fee from the DBS for checks for volunteers, we have to use an umbrella body to do our checks because as an organisation we do not – as of yet – undertake enough checks per annum to be able to do this ourselves. So it is only the administration fee we ask for. It also ensures that volunteers go on to commit to teaching – rather than volunteering simply to obtain a free DBS check without any service to the Charity; we also have an obligation to those who fundraise and donate money to us – to spend those funds on the work of the charity so it is important we don’t allow this to happen. The donation for the DBS check can be entered on a tax return as a charitable donation.

I’ve never taught before and don’t feel very confident. Can I still Volunteer?

Yes absolutely. If you believe as we do, that learning and practicing basic bystander rescue techniques is important then you can volunteer. We have considered the needs of our volunteers very carefully and want everyone to feel valued and supported when delivering our sessions. Watching the training videos is the first step to seeing how simple our skillset is. One you have been through the DBS check procedure and have read and signed our volunteer paperwork, you will have access to the following:

  • A live zoom training session with our medically qualified trustees
  • A script of the session to refer to
  • A quiz to test your knowledge and a certificate
  • Standard answers to FAQ’s the children may ask
  • An account on our automated booking system

Along with these steps, the schools are asked to have the capability to show the “Introduction and Skillset Demonstration” video at the start of the session, which will serve as an immediate reminder of the skills and means you will not have to demonstrate the skills live, until you feel comfortable to do so.

Questions about Delivering the Training Session in School:

Why do I need to be able to show a video at the start of the session?

Our volunteer instructors come from every walk of life, which means not all of them are necessarily experienced in teaching or demonstrating in front of others. Being able to show the introduction and skillset demonstration video is extremely helpful for volunteers especially new ones (all of whom are trained of course) when delivering their first or second session. It is a way of supporting them and increasing their confidence to deliver the session, ensuring the session runs smoothly for them as well as the children receiving the training and so encourage them to continue to volunteer and teach these essential skills to children.

Why not just let schools show the videos to the children? Why deliver a face-to-face training session at all?

The videos can certainly be use and referred back to at any time. Delivering a practical session gives an experience upon which to anchor the knowledge as well as physical feedback and memory. In essence it brings the knowledge and skills to life and gives a vital opportunity to practice – which simply watching a video does not offer. It also helps adult members of the public who volunteer with us- to practice these skills as well as network with each other and the school, building a community.

If the school hall is not free, can you deliver a session in a classroom?

Unfortunately not – no. Classrooms do not provide adequate floor space for the three instructors to teach up to 60 children the choking and two CPR skill scenarios at the same time – which is vital to ensure each child practices every skill inside the allotted one hour session time. Classrooms are also too hot and the noise level becomes too loud.

Why is 60 children the maximum you can teach in a session?

Ideally we prefer 30 children per session which gives 10 children to each rotating group. This makes the quality of the teaching high and the instructors able to deliver the session comfortably.

However we recognise the need to train children and the constraints of the school timetable. So a maximum of 20 children per rotating group allows the session quality to remain good without overwhelming the instructors. We want all the children to have the opportunity to practice each skill and any more than 20 per group means the session will overrun.

Why do I need to provide a member of staff for the session?

This is essential for the following reasons:

  • Although all our volunteers are DBS checked and agree to a code of conduct, safeguarding is an absolute priority for Little LifeSavers. Should a volunteer have concerns about any aspect of the session, they are instructed to raise them with the member of staff supervising the session and then report to the safeguarding lead trustee, who will need to follow up with the school.
  • Volunteers will need assistance in managing the children during the session if they are to keep within the time frame. Sessions can become very noisy and it is vital that the volunteers have help keeping the children on-task. The children need to split into three groups and the supervising member of staff is best placed to do this, as well as keep time for the 10 minute rotation.
  • Feedback will be requested for the session at the end from a member of staff for quality control.