You may have seen on the TV and in national press coverage recently that primary schools in England are being encouraged to take a serious look at their school swimming programmes with the launch of the ASA’s new School Swimming Charter, combined with the results of the third annual School Swimming Census.
We wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the details of the news announcement and the role of pool operators.
The Census, found that 45% of children aged between seven and 11 years old are unable to swim 25 metres unaided. While this is a 6% increase on figures released in 2013, the ASA believes 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.
In response to these findings, the ASA has 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.
Swimming lesson providers and swimming teachers have an incredibly important role to play. The introduction of the School Swimming Charter into primary schools creates opportunities for swimming lesson providers to:
• Encourage schools to make greater use of their facilities by providing additional teaching staff to schools to both improve the teacher: pupil ratios and/or deliver Top-Up Swimming for those that may be struggling. Schools can use their government funding for these areas if they are in addition to curriculum swimming.
• Discuss the structure and content of the lessons with school staff to gain everyone’s input and the opportunity to provide constructive improvement suggestions
• Ask primary schools to share the extensive range of Charter resources with you to help with lesson planning and delivery
• Link together with school teaching staff to diarise swimming and water safety messages presented in the classroom in conjunction with relevant pool activity
• Encourage schools to increase the time spent in the pool. The ASA recommends that every primary school pupil should receive a minimum of 25 hours curriculum swimming tuition per year, and that each lesson should be a minimum of 30 minutes in the pool. You could add to this by suggesting pool time is increased to 45 minutes per lesson for the older pupils.
The ASA are also encouraging parents to take up additional private learn to swim lessons which will go a long way to support the lessons undertaken during school hours.
The School Swimming Charter has its own Awards programme, consisting of eight separate levels of achievement. As the Outcomes for each Award are based on those already existing in Stage 4 of the ASA Learn to Swim Framework, it will be easy for swimming lesson providers and swimming teachers to adapt current school swimming lesson plans to ensure pupils are receiving the correct instruction to achieve the new set of badges and certificates.
For more information about the School Swimming Charter, visit the website here www.swimming.org/schoolcharter
For more information on the Partnerships Top Up Swimming Programme check out our page under ‘Our Projects’.