The Swim England report on the value of swimming gives a damming insight to the state of children’s swimming.
In the last school year, 1 in 4 primary children left school unable to swim.
“ For some children, school is the only place they will have the opportunity to learn to swim. Yet, despite swimming being on the national curriculum, too many children are being failed by the system with 23 per cent of children leaving primary school unable to swim the statutory 25 metres while one in five cannot self-rescue.
Swimming ability is also affected by location. Only 45 per cent of children and young people going to school in the most deprived areas of the country can swim 25 metres, compared to 76 per cent in the least deprived areas.”
Despite receiving extra funding, on average £20,000 a year, hard pressed schools are channelling the money into other non-curriculum activities and even to pay wages, rather than boost their children’s swimming.
Quoting lack of staff and support teachers to cover the activity, many schools fail to achieve the government guidelines or to publish their results, despite the scrutiny of Ofsted.
Some parents believe it is the schools responsibility to teach the children but like any learning that takes place at school, it should be backed up and reinforced by parents at home.
Shirley Pool has an open offer to guarantee that every child attending with a school will learn to swim but so far there has been little uptake from the local schools.
It looks like it is down to the parents to ensure their children are safe in the water.