All state schools in England to have defibrillator after work of Oliver King Foundation

Posted: 27th July 2023

All state schools in England now have access to a potentially life-saving defibrillator, thanks to a campaign by a bereaved dad.

Oliver King, 12, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at school during a swimming lesson in Liverpool in 2011.

The schoolboy had an unknown but treatable condition called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), which kills 12 people each week.

Since his death his dad Mark, who set up the Oliver King Foundation, has joined forces with former England footballer Jamie Carragher to push for mandatory defibrillators in all schools.

Research shows that accessing a defibrillator within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest increases the chance of survival by over 40%.

Following the campaign, in July 2022 the Government pledged every state school in England would receive a defibrillator – a device that gives an electric shock to the heart of a person who is in cardiac arrest – by the end of the 2022/23 academic year.

Since then a total of 20,376 defibrillators have been delivered to 17,862 state schools in England, backed by £19 million of Government funding.

Mr King said: “We as a family and foundation will continue to strive for change so no other family has to suffer as we are.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to Nadhim Zahawi, Lord Stuart Polak, Jamie Carragher and the Department for Education (DfE) for helping us aim for legislation.

“Oliver’s memory will live on and lives will be saved.”

Large schools have been provided with two or more defibrillators so they can be placed in areas where a cardiac arrest is more likely, such as sports halls.

The Department for Education (DfE) has said millions of children in England now have access to these devices, which it said drastically increase the chance of pupils and teachers surviving a cardiac arrest.

Secondary school pupils are also being taught life-saving methods, such as CPR and the purpose of defibrillators, it added.

In June, the Government announced that defibrillators had been delivered to all secondary state schools in England.

Now all eligible primary, special and alternative provision schools who did not already have a defibrillator have received a device, the DfE has confirmed.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “Having access to defibrillators in schools drastically increases the chance of pupils, teachers and visitors surviving a cardiac arrest.

“Thanks to the tireless campaigning of Mark King, Jamie Carragher and Nicola Carragher we are proud to say that every state-funded school in England now has access to a defibrillator.

“Teachers and pupils across the country can now be reassured that they will have access to one on school grounds should tragedy strike.”

Source: All state schools in England to have defibrillator after work of Oliver King Foundation | ITV News Granada

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