IT IS a victory for schools and children everywhere.
Government education bosses are making it cheaper for schools to buy life-saving defibrillators and aim to have a scheme in place by the autumn term.
The announcement is a giant boost for the Daily Echo's campaign to get the vital equipment in every Hampshire school, launched after 16-year-old Mountbatten School pupil Sam Mangoro suffered a heart attack during a PE lesson earlier this year.
His life was saved by quick-thinking staff who shocked him with the device four times, just months after it was purchased by the Romsey school.
Defibrillators currently cost between £800 and £1,000 and the Government is looking for a supplier partner to offer them to schools at a reduced price.
Schools Minister Lord Nash said: “There is nothing more important than keeping children safe at school. That is why this government is today publishing updated guidance to schools on managing children with medical conditions.
“By securing defibrillators at a reduced price schools will find it much easier to install these potentially life-saving devices. We hope schools right across the country will take advantage of this.”
Sam made a full recovery at Southampton General Hospital and will return to school The news has been welcomed across the board from schools, politicians and charities, including Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry.
He said: “It was a great blessing that Mountbatten School had a defibrillator when Sam Mangoro had a heart attack.
“We certainly welcome the government announcement and like the schools' minister we would urge schools, where they consider it appropriate, to take advantage of this offer.
“But we have to emphasise it is very much a matter for the individual school.”
Cllr Perry, who represents Romsey Extra ward, added he hoped more primary schools would be able to purchase the life-saving equipment if costs were reduced.
Meanwhile Sue Killen, chief executive of St John Ambulance, which runs defibrillator training classes, urged schools to go further and teach skills like CPR.
She said: “Defibrillators save lives, so we encourage schools to take the Department of Education's advice and include defibrillators as part of their first aid provision.
“While this is a welcome step in the right direction, installing the machine is only part of the solution. The best schools make sure that life saving skills are known by pupils, teachers and other staff alike, so that everyone knows what to do when faced with a life or death situation.”