A Third Of Children Leave Primary School Unable To Swim

According to research by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), a third of children in England cannot swim by the time they leave primary school.

The research suggests many non-swimmers have never had a school swimming lesson despite its being part of the national curriculum for 7-to-11-year-olds, highlighting that swimming is the only curriculum subject that saves lives.

The Department for Education said schools must provide lessons and pupils must be taught to swim 25m unaided.

The research aimed to find out what proportion of 11-year-olds achieved the national curriculum target of being able to swim 25m (27 yards) by the time they left primary school.

Only 35 local authorities in England, around a quarter of those contacted, gave full responses to freedom-of-information requests relating to their records for 2011.

The results showed that two-thirds of children achieved the target, leaving one-third who did not.

The researchers calculate that this means around 200,000 children leave primary school each year unable to swim properly.

The survey responses also suggested that of the children who cannot swim, 39% had never been offered school swimming lessons.

The report states: "Each child should be safe in and around water, and a key element of this is being able to swim a minimum of 25m unaided.

"We call on central and local government to show their commitment to school swimming by reiterating this expectation to schools."

It also calls on primary head teachers to make swimming a priority in their school budgets and wants Ofsted to monitor the inclusion and delivery of swimming lessons.

ASA is also offering help and advice to encourage schools with their own pools to keep them open.


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