Thousands of children are to benefit from new defibrillators after the government negotiated a discount on the machines.
An initial 500 devices have been procured through a reverse auction process run by the National Health Service Supply Chain, in which suppliers 'bid' for the lowest price for which they could supply the machines.
Plans have been put in place to order additional batches of defibrillators through further reverse auctions, depending on school demand.
The purchase was made possible as a result of a collaboration between the Department for Education, the Department of Health and a range of voluntary and community sector organisations.
A new guide has also been made available to schools, covering the purchase, installation and maintenance of the machines.
Free cardiopulmonary resuscitation training kits are also being offered to all secondary schools by the British Heart Foundation, as part of its Nation of Lifesavers campaign.
Children die every week as a result of sudden cardiac arrest, often as a result of previously undiagnosed heart conditions. The purchase of the defibrillators and the 'Automated external defibrillators in schools' guide is intended to reduce the number of these incidents.
The devices work by administering a controlled electric shock to the heart through sticky pads placed on the chest. This interrupts the irregular heart rhythm that occurs during a cardiac arrest and causes it to return to normal.
Training is not required to use the machines, as exact instructions are provided by the device from the moment it is switched on. An electric shock is only delivered if the defibrillator detects an irregular heart rhythm.
Schools minister David Laws said: "Just as we have made schools better places for pupils to learn, it is equally important we ensure children and school staff are cared for in the rare event that they suffer a cardiac arrest.
"I encourage all schools to seize upon this excellent deal the government has struck on their behalf."
Posted by Tim Colman