Secondary school children will learn life-saving skills such as CPR and the purpose of defibrillators.
The British Heart Foundation said the move would improve “shockingly low survival rates from cardiac arrests”.
The plan was announced as part of new guidelines on relationships and health education in schools.
The BHF said that fewer than one in 10 people survive cardiac arrests suffered outside of hospital, with 10,000 people in the UK dying each year as a result. Survival rates in countries that teach first aid in school are up to three times higher, the BHF said.
Research by the British Red Cross, which also campaigns on the issue, found that 95% of British adults would not be able to provide aid in “three of the most life-threatening first aid emergencies”.
The government’s decision comes after Lord Kerslake’s inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 found members of the public tried to help the injured and dying but lacked the requisite skills.
The inquiry raised concerns that people on the scene were “trying their very best in genuinely harrowing circumstances” but “did not appear familiar with first aid principles”.
Read more Plan to teach all children first aid
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