PUPILS at a Maldon secondary school have spent the past two weeks learning a potentially life-saving set of new skills.

More than 300 Year Nine students from Plume Academy took part in first aid sessions following a £600 donation from the Rotary Club.

The invaluable, three hour-long lessons were taken by qualified trainers from Maldon and Essex Lifesaving, and saw the students gain an awareness of defibrillation and learn how to prevent choking, perform CPR, treat people for shock and deal with bleeding.

Plume Academy principal Carl Wakefield said: ‘‘We were delighted our whole Year Nine were able to partake in a number of sessions of high quality first aid training.

“They were absolutely superb throughout the week and my colleagues and I were exceptionally proud of them as a result.

‘‘However, this would not have been possible without the support of Maldon Town Council as well as the amazing Rotary Club of Maldon.

“We sincerely thank both organisations for their generous, thoughtful and somewhat invaluable contributions.’’

The Government announced plans last year to make first aid training a mandatory part of the school curriculum by 2020, after years of campaigning by the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and British Red Cross.

Speaking about the vital skillset becoming a compulsory part of education, head of Year Nine Ash Stoneman said: ‘‘This sends a clear message that they are committed to empowering young people with life-saving skills they will take forward into adulthood. This will enable future generations to have the simple yet vital first aid skills, which could mean the difference between life and death in a first aid emergency.’’