Our 10-year campaign for a lifesaving defibrillator in every single school

Since 2012 the Foundation has worked tirelessly to save lives and place lifesaving Defibrillators across the UK. We have worked closely with the Department for Education and Government:

  • We worked with our 250 Defibrillator champions to passionately lead the campaign in parliament to ensure that no school is left behind
  • Worked with several Education, Health, and Sport Ministers in Government
  • Secured a change of Government policy in 2013, the Department for Education began advising all Schools to purchase a defibrillator as part of their First Aid equipment – naming us as a key stakeholder in this policy
  • On Wednesday 24th January 2018, we launched our National Campaign at Number 10 Downing Street, for a lifesaving defibrillator in every school. We set an ambitious target that by 2020, when Oliver would have been 21 years old, that all schools would have access to a lifesaving Defibrillator. Brexit and two elections and coronavirus, our deadline was delayed. We did not give up!

SUCCESS ON 17th March 2022 Our meeting with the Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi, promised us that every school in England will receive a lifesaving defibrillator by Autumn 2022/2023.

On 19th July we went back to Parliament to thank Nadim Zahawi personally and met with the new Secretary of State for Education the Rt. Hon James Cleverly.

James Cleverly said: “Access to funding must not stand in the way of every school having on-site access to a life-saving defibrillator. The evidence clearly shows that defibrillators drastically increase the chance of survival from a cardiac arrest, and it is particularly important that they are available close to sports halls and playing fields that children, young people, and the wider community use on a daily basis.

“That is why I am so pleased to be able to roll these devices out to schools across the country over the coming year, and I hope this goes some way to preventing more tragic stories like Oliver King’s.”

The Government said: that many schools would already have defibrillators on site but that the programme would work to “plug the gaps” and ensure that all state schools in England have at least one device that could also be used by outside sports teams using school facilities.

Mark King said: “Since 2012 we’ve fought with tenacity to make defibrillators mandatory in all schools. I am therefore delighted that, after our decade-long struggle, the Government has finally listened, and schools will now be equipped with them.

“It will mean families up and down the country won’t ever have to go through the pain that we did when we lost our Ollie. I miss my Ollie every day. I was determined that no other family has to suffer the same loss that my family has”

“I am over the moon and thankful to the MPs and ministers who’ve supported our campaign and particularly all of those at the Department for Education”.

“Since 2012 I have driven across the country personally delivering 5,900 Defibrillators and the foundation has provided certified training to over 135,000 people. We know that the defibrillators placed have saved the lives of 65+ people.”

We will not rest until we meet the target of every school having a Defibrillator across the UK”

No matter how hard we worked, without your support, we would not have achieved this important goal.

Senior Conservative MP and former Health Minister Anna Soubry backing the campaign said: “As a long-time supporter of the foundation, I wholeheartedly back The Oliver King Foundation’s National Campaign for a lifesaving defibrillator in every school. Legislation would ensure that this happens faster but to the foundation’s credit they are not waiting! Their determination and passion will ensure that they meet their target for every school to have a defibrillator by the time Oliver would have been 21 in 2020.”

Senior Labour MP, Maria Eagle added her support: “My constituents Mark and Joanne King have tirelessly campaigned for this since the tragic loss of their son, Oliver in 2011 when a defibrillator that may have saved his life was not available. I have supported their work from the beginning, and I have no reservations in offering my full support in backing their campaign to ensure these life-saving devices are available in every school. I will continue to do everything I can to advocate for legislation to ensure this happens.”