Defibrillator training

Along with several others, I was trained in the use of a defibrillator in Feniton Primary School on Sunday morning.

I have absolutely no medical background and regret to say that I’ve never even undertaken first aid training, but the session on Sunday was so simple that non-medics like me had nothing to fear.

Living in a rural community means that ambulance response times are much slower than in urban areas. South West Ambulance Service has a target to respond to 75% of calls within 8 minutes. Patients in rural areas will rarely get this level of service.

One of the initiatives to counter this is the roll-out of community defibrillators through charities such as HeartSWell (

We learnt basic CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the hour and a half course, which was led by an excellent instructor who reinforced the serious message with snippets of brilliant humour.

The statistics are scary.

In the United States, if you have a heart attack outside hospital, you have a 66% chance of survival in some states. In the UK, the national survival chance is 8%. Having trained community volunteers who can perform CPR before using the defibrillator to shock the heart will give the patient a much greater chance of survival while waiting for an ambulance to come and take over.

The defibrillator is easy to use, compact, portable and very effective. They are designed to be used by a non-medical layperson. The machine guides you through the process using verbal instructions and visual prompts. They are safe and will not allow a shock to be given unless the heart’s rhythm requires it.

So now, as a community, we need as many people as possible to undertake training in the use of CPR and the defibrillator. Feniton Primary School is delighted to organise more training sessions if there is a demand. Some of the older children in the school are being trained on:

19 May at 4 p.m.

and there are a few places left. Call the school on 01404 850303 to get on this course or register your interest in possible future courses.

It really is that simple … and this very short course could save a life …

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Desperate plea to look again at the Fairer Funding Deal

Local schools are still reeling from the news that they will see cuts to their budgets from Government funding. The situation is truly desperate. Budgets have already been cut to the bone and now we can expect to see some real changes with cuts to front-line staff.

Colin Butler, Executive Headteacher of the Otter Valley Federation, incorporating Feniton and Tipton Primary Schools, has written to all parents to outline the parlous state of affairs. He will have difficult choices to make.

In his letter, he says,

Devon is one of the lowest funded authorities in the country. Currently, the annual funding allocated for a pupil in Devon is £290 less than the national average. For the Federation that is approximately £90,000 per year, every year. Year on year we have been underfunded. The government is planning a move towards a National Funding Formula (NFF) which means that funds are spread evenly regardless of where you are based in the country. However, moves to a national funding formula for schools, creating a fairer funding system, will not bring the benefits to our school that we had hoped to see as the effect will be more than offset by the many other pressures facing our school budget at this time.

The broader picture is that 98% of schools nationally show a reduction in their budget and that Devon’s reduction is a massive £35,157,274; £401 per pupil, the equivalent of 943 fewer teachers.

So what can you do about it?

Visit and sign up to the petition. It takes seconds!

And email your MP, either Neil Parish ( or Sir Hugo Swire ( and tell him how worried you are about your children’s future education. You can do this through the Schools Cuts website or use the email addresses here.

Colin Butler continues, “Our school is not alone. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has shown that more than half (55%) of school leaders in a recent survey felt that their deficit would be untenable by 2018/19. Funding pressures are being felt across all phases and in all schools, not just our own.”

Please support the hard work of the teachers in our local schools by making your voice heard … loud and clear.

Sign the petition!

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Defibrillator is coming to Feniton!

An excellent initiative, instigated by Feniton Primary School, is about to come to fruition with a defibrillator being installed close to the school.

The next step is to train eager volunteers.

The beauty of this defibrillator is its simplicity. You don’t need to be medically qualified to operate it and you could save a life!

In just an hour and a half, you’ll learn all you need to know about carrying out effective CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and how to use your local defibrillator.

The sessions are:

Sunday 12 March 8.45–10.15

Sunday 12 March 10.30–12.00

At Feniton Church of England Primary School, Station Road, Feniton


Sunday 12 March 1.00–2.30

Sunday 12 March 3.00–4.30

At Tipton St John Primary School, Tipton St John

To book a place or for more information call 01404 850303 or email


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