THE Oxfordshire branch of a programme which teaches children life-saving skills has reached its 100,000th Year 6 pupil.

The Injury Minimisation Programme for Schools (IMPS), which launched in 1995, aims to empower young people to take responsibility for their own safety, equip them with basic first aid skills, and reduce death and disability as a result of common accidents.

It targets children between the ages of 10 and 11 who are statistically at the highest risk of having an accident, and brings them to a local hospital to help them learn resuscitation skills, what to do if someone is choking or unconscious, and how to prevent accidents happening in the first place.

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The programme sees Year 6 pupils from across Oxfordshire visit the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Horton General Hospital, or Witney, Abingdon, and Townlands Community Hospitals.

Specialist trainers also show pupils how to use both CPR and defibrillators, as well as basic information like how to put someone in the recovery position.

Around 5,200 pupils attend every year, with 80 per cent of state schools and several special needs schools enrolled onto the programme.

It is partly funded by Oxfordshire County Council, and boosted by local grants, donations and fundraising for IMPS through Oxford Hospitals Charity.

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Debbie Lock, programme manager, said: “We are so pleased and proud that we’ve reached this landmark. It’s amazing to think that we’ve given so many young people life-saving advice.

“We know it makes a real difference – we’ve even had thank you letters from pupils when their new skills have been called upon at really important times."

She added: “Even if children don’t put their learning into practice, being in hospitals and clinical environments as part of their course makes them more comfortable with these surroundings."

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