PRIMARY school children have learnt life-saving skills thanks to a charity project based in Oxfordshire’s hospitals.

And the scheme has now won an award for its work teaching more than 69,000 Oxfordshire 10- and 11-year-olds over the years what to do in an emergency.

The Injury Minimisation Programme for Schools (IMPS) was presented with a special certificate of accreditation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents on Tuesday.

Oxfordshire’s IMPS manager Lynn Pilgrim accepted the bronze award recognising its “educational excellence and quality”.

She said: “We teach school children emergency life skills they might need to use in an urgent situation.

“We’re delighted to be the only Oxfordshire child safety education project which has been given this award.

“But the biggest reward for IMPS is knowing our scheme has helped so many people across the county.

“We often hear about young people who have had the confidence to calmly use their training and help others who are choking or seriously injured, as well as children who have decided to wear a cycle helmet. There can be no greater reward than that.”

Ms Pilgrim oversees a team of 20 trainers and has been running the Oxfordshire programme since it launched in 1995.

She said she had heard of more than 25 cases where children had used their skills in life-saving emergencies.

As part of the programme, Year Six pupils visit one of Oxfordshire’s hospitals for two-and-a half hours where they are taught by IMPS trainers.

In the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Accident & Emergency department the children are wired up to a cardiac monitor and have their fingers plastered.

They can also go to Abingdon Community Hospital, Witney Community Hospital or Townlands Community Hospital in Henley.

IMPS also provides schools with up to 50 lesson plans which can fit into the curriculum.

Thirty children from Year Six at St Christopher’s Primary School in Oxford were at the John Radcliffe on Tuesday for their training.Aaron Presley, 10, said: “I really liked seeing the hospital with all the things in it and the emergency room as well, and I enjoyed it when they plastered our fingers.

“It was really interesting, particularly what they said about wearing a bike helmet.

“I’ll always wear a bike helmet. And I would use CPR if there is someone I know was in trouble on the floor.”

The programme, which is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, costs about £100,000 a year to run.

It is supported by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and also gets funding from the Government, donations, fundraising and grants.

Eight other similar projects are run across the UK.

St Christopher’s pupil Millie Harrison, 10, said: “I would like to help someone in my family if they needed it, like my sister Katie. She’s eight.

“I knew vague things about what we were meant to do before but they showed me how to do it properly.

“I thought you should just ring for an ambulance when you had a burn, but actually you are meant to put it under a cold tap for 10 minutes and then wrap it in clingfilm. Then if it gets worse, go to the doctor.

“And if someone fell down and was lying on the floor I would know what to do. “I knew about CPR but had not actually done it on a mannequin before. But I’d never heard of an automated defibrillator before.”

Her Year Six teacher Carmel Hornbuckle said: “These skills are really important.”


  • RHODRI Jones from New Marston called 999 after he found a man collapsed at a bus stop.

Rhodri, 13, who is autistic and often finds speaking difficult, remembered being taught what to do in an emergency and called for an ambulance last month.

He went through the IMPS programme three years ago, at St Michael’s Primary School in Marston, before starting at the special school, Woodeaton Manor. Rhodri has autism spectrum disorder and finds social interaction difficult.

He said: “I dialled 999. He just collapsed at the bus stop shelter and fell off the seats.”

  • IMPS trainer Alison Wiffin retired from nursing at the John Radcliffe Hospital to teach the programme.

The 63-year-old, from Headington, said: “Oxfordshire’s school children are really very lucky but every child across the country should have the opportunity across the country.

“I absolutely love it, it is so rewarding. We are teaching them life skills they will remember in for their future.

“And with Accident & Emergency departments getting busier and busier it is a good idea to reduce the number of accidents from that point of view too.”