Three ways to help pupils attain their school swimming targets

The Key
The Key
Earlier this school year, it was reported that almost half of pupils leave primary school unable to swim the required 25 metres. So what can be done to support children in attaining their school swimming and water safety targets? We spoke to Jon Glenn and Michelle Brailsford from Swim England to find out.

Last year Swim England overhauled their former School Swimming Charter – and along with the Swim Group created a brand new set of free resources to help support children with their swimming targets.

The free resources set out the simplest solutions to help pupils make the most of their opportunity to learn to swim while at school.

If you weren’t sure before what the requirements are, the new resources make it really clear – these are the three key outcomes:

  • Perform safe self-rescue in different water based situations.
  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres.
  • Use a range of strokes effectively, for example front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke.

So what are the ways you can help?

1. Download the free resources

They are aimed at schools, swimming teachers/lesson providers, parents and carers, and are available to download from the Swimming and Water Safety in Schools hub on the Swim England website.

The Primary School Guide details:

  • Why it is important to teach swimming and water safety
  • What is meant by the three national curriculum outcomes
  • How to utilise the PE and Sport Premium to up-skill teachers and provide Top-up lessons
  • Ways to engage and support all pupils
  • And how to make lessons as cost and time effective as possible

2. Become a member of the Swim England School Swimming and Water Safety Charter

Primary schools that sign up to the School Swimming and Water Safety Charter receive access to downloadable certificates and a pack of physical resources, including progression cards (passports), stickers and waterproof syllabus guidance cards.

Also included is a set of guidance documents, star achiever pin badges, videos and a water safety presentation for assembly.

On updating the Charter, Swim England have ensured new materials have been created with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in mind. There are now comprehensive checklists and specific guidance for planning school swimming and water safety lessons – before, during and after, which now include points of reference throughout for teaching swimming to pupils with SEND.

3. Focus on training teaching colleagues

Maximise the people you have on hand to deliver a great school swimming experience – whether it’s a classroom assistant, a trainee teacher or an administrative colleague with a passion for swimming.

Swim England regularly run free webinars and roadshows for schools and lesson providers and you can find out more about these by visiting swimming.org/schools or emailing schoolswimming@swimming.org.

Preparing future generations

The government has recognised the importance of teaching our young people swimming and water safety by including it in the national curriculum.

Swimming isn’t just about being able to have fun in the water with family and friends. It is also about knowing what to do if someone gets into trouble in different water environments.

There’s a clear mandated opportunity to ensure every generation is taught basic water safety skills – and a lifelong love of the water. But all the key organisations must work together to make it happen.

For more information and resources on teaching swimming visit www.swimming.org

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