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Some schools ‘not teaching kids to swim’

ASA | Swim England

3 min read Partner content

Up to 1,300 primary schools still do not offer swimming lessons, according to the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).

This is despite school swimming being a national curriculum requirement.

The ASAis calling on primary schools and politicians to show their commitment to school swimming as new figures reveal that 45% of primary school children are unable to swim 25 metres.

“Swimming isn’t just a leisure activity or a way for young people to keep healthy, it’s a life-saving skill that every child has the right to learn,” said ASAActing CEO Ashley Beaveridge.

“As such it is concerning that despite school swimming being a national curriculum requirement, nearly 1,300 primary schools still do not offer swimming lessons.

“Our research shows that school swimming is often the only opportunity many children have to learn to swim, so it is vital that we look at the barriers preventing primary schools from allocating the required time.

“As the national governing body for aquatics, the ASAhas a unique responsibility to support schools with their swimming programmes.

“This is why we are asking every primary school in England to sign up to our School Swimming Charter so that together we can increase the number of children leaving primary school able to swim and with the knowledge of how to keep themselves safe in water.”

ASA, the national governing body for aquatics, has released its third annual School Swimming Census¹ on the state of school swimming.

The report found that 45% of children aged between seven and 11-years-old are unable to swim the length of an average sized pool unaided. While this is a six per cent improvement on figures released in 2013, the ASAbelieves more needs to be done to ensure all children leave primary school with the ability to swim and the knowledge of how to keep themselves safe in and around water.

The 2014 Census also revealedthat despite school swimming is part of the national curriculum, nearly 1,300 (6.6 per cent) primary schools do not teach it in Key Stage 2.

This is despite drowning being the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK, and concern that if they do not learn to swim at primary school, one in five children will never be confident in water.

The ASAhas developed the School Swimming Charter, a comprehensive package of support that aims to ensure every primary school in England has the necessary knowledge and resources required to deliver high quality school swimming programmes.

Beaveridge added:

“The Department for Education has shown its commitment to school swimming by keeping it within the revised national curriculum and providing funding through the Primary PE and Sports Premium. We are asking those in central and local government to continue to show their support for the only sport that saves lives by supporting calls for Ofsted to be more robust in their assessments and encourage their local primary schools to sign up to the School Swimming Charter.”

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