13/06/2006

'Top up' swimming lessons announced

Primary school pupils who are unable to swim by the age of 11 will be given additional swimming lessons under a new scheme launched by the government.

Swimming lessons are already compulsory for primary school children in England, with 83% of pupils able to swim competently by the age of 11.

However, intensive swimming lessons will now be introduced for children who are unable to swim the 25 metres required by the end of Key Stage 2.

The £5.5 million 'top up' scheme, which will be run in partnership with the Amateur Swimming Association, will see pupils attend local pools every day for an intensive series of daily swimming lessons over two weeks during the school term.

The scheme will run over the next two years and is a key part of the government's school sport strategy which aims to raise participation in physical education and school sport.

Schools Minister Jim Knight said: "Every child should learn to swim. It is an essential skill and is a fun way to exercise. We want to give as many pupils as possible confidence in the water, and the potential to enjoy a whole range of other watersports and activities."

The scheme will build on the trials of intensive swimming lessons involving over 800 children in Bristol and County Durham last year which the government said showed a marked increase in the numbers of children being able to swim.

Overall, 57% of the pupils who had previously not reached the standard achieved this by the end of the scheme.

School sport partnerships, where groups of schools work together to increase sports participation, are working with the Amateur Swimming Association to organise the top up lessons.

David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the Amateur Swimming Association, said: "The Amateur Swimming Association is committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn to swim. Trials have already proven that with extra lessons and smaller group numbers more children are able to meet the minimum 25 metre requirement, and with the support of our regional coordinators we will be able to help many more children reach that target."

(KMcA)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

17 May 2012
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.
16 July 2015
RNLI And ASA Launch Swim Safe Campaign
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) have launched and joint open water safety initiative, Swim Safe. Figures have revealed that one in five children have gotten into difficulty while swimming in open waters.
26 August 2010
Boy Dies In North Yorkshire Swimming Pool
An eight-year-old boy has died after getting into difficulties at a North Yorkshire swimming pool. The tragic incident happened at Hambleton Leisure Centre in Northallerton shortly before 4.30pm on Wednesday. The boy, who was understood to live locally, was taken to the Friarage Hospital, but was pronounced dead later.
21 January 2004
Children take the plunge with new swimming charter
A charter to help all children to learn to swim safely has been launched with the help of swimming champion Duncan Goodhew in East London today. The Charter gives practical advice to schools and local authorities on planning and organising swimming lessons, with guidance on encouraging more children to take part.
09 November 2005
Public schools found guilty of fee fixing
Fifty of England’s top public schools have broken competition law by exchanging information about fees, the Office of Fair Trading has announced. Following an investigation lasting more than two years, the OFT found that pupils’ parents ended up paying higher fees as a result of the information-sharing.