A WYTHALL school has gone to the top of the class after gaining the St John Ambulance Schools’ Mark Award.

Woodrush High School has scooped the impressive national award given only to schools that show a significant commitment to the safety and health of their pupils, workforce and wider community.

The outstanding-rated academy school in Shawhurst Lane is the first secondary school in Worcestershire to be given the accolade and joins only 26 schools across the West Midlands region holding the title altogether.

Currently, all year 10s have completed extensive first aid training as part of the PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) curriculum. This has been done using the online resources provided by the charity’s Teach The Difference programme, which covers a variety of modules including choking, bleeding and fainting. In addition, some 15 plus teaching staff are trained first aiders and all office staff are in the process of completing a three day training course.

David Monk, assistant headteacher and head of PSHE said staff and students had been delighted to receive the award. He said: "We are very proud to have gained the St John Ambulance Schools’ Mark Award and believe that learning first aid is a really important part of the students all round education. You just never know when you will meet a situation where first aid is needed, so it’s crucial that our young people and staff are adequately trained to deal with the unexpected.

"We are also really delighted with how engaged and interested our pupils have been whilst participating in the variety of practical lessons. They really valued learning first aid and thoroughly enjoyed doing it."

Due to the success of this initial training programme the school has decided that every 14 to15-year-old pupil will participate in a similar course during year 10.

In addition, the school is awaiting the delivery of its own resuscitation manikins, so pupils can commence  training in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) and the onsite youth centre has so far raised £900 towards the purchase of an AED (Auto External Defibrillator) unit which they plan to house in a redundant red telephone box.

Sam Lukes, St John Ambulance Regional Community Training Co-ordinator for the West Midlands, said: 'It is absolutely fantastic that Woodrush High shows such commitment to its students, staff and local community by training so many people in first aid.

"First aid training teaches pupils to care for others and other skills like communication, as well as equipping them with the crucial skills to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved."

For more information about training in schools, call 0121 237 3873, email west-mids-training@sja.org.uk, or see teachthedifference.org.uk for more information and resources.