PUPILS have been learning new life-skills in an initiative designed to help them tackle a variety of emergencies.

Year 6 pupils at Barnard Castle School spent the day being taught a range of first aid and fire safety techniques, part of a rich programme of activities they experience as an alternative to SATs.

Andrew Clarke, of the First Aid Training Academy, delivered mini-medic workshops covering general emergencies, scene safety and calling for help, CPR using resus-dolls, and what to do in cases of choking, asthma attacks and clinical shock.

He said: “I love teaching these skills to young people as they really can make a difference between life and death. One pupil I taught went to Disney and while queueing for an attraction a lady had a seizure. She was able to put the person in the recovery position which made a vital difference to her health.

“The Prep School Year 6s have been great and have really taken on board the first aid messages and skills that could one day save someone’s life.”

Head boy Benjamin French said: “We all learnt a lot about first aid which has given us the confidence to at least have a go, if ever there is an emergency, knowing that we can never make the situation worse, only better.”

Headmistress Laura Turner said: “The first aid day is an important part of the Prep School’s Achievement Award, which Year 6 pupils complete in their final year as a more useful and enriching alternative to SATs.

“We teach them valuable life-skills which will never be forgotten rather than have them sit unnecessary exams.

“The Achievement Award is something unique to Prep School, which has been developed over the past eight years. Unlike SATs, the programme lasts throughout the year and is entirely relevant to their future learning.”

Anyone wanting to learn more about Barnard Castle Prep School and its Achievement Award can visit during open week, between 9.30am and 2pm, from February 11 to 14.