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Operators call for School Swimming to remain a key part of the curriculum

Nofio, Plymio, Nofio Artistig, Polo Dŵr, Addysg

Operators provide a safe environment for children to enjoy their aquatic journey. On day six of Get Into Learn to Swim week 2022, we hear from our network of operators from across Wales about why they continue to provide school swimming opportunities, and why it should remain a key part of the new curriculum.

Wes Billings, Aura Wales Swimming Coordinator, said: “I feel that ensuring we can provide school swimming gives an inclusive opportunity to all children to access some form of learn to swim experience. I feel that there are a lot of children in Wales who face barriers of entry to a swimming journey. School swimming may be the only opportunity they have to gain water confidence and improve any current ability towards a life skill.

“Becoming a competent swimmer is our ultimate goal to ensure we hit through any of our swimming activities. We thrive to deliver quality swimming lessons to ensure that people can enjoy the water without any fear attached to them. We also want to ensure that children, adults and families can be happy with the service we provide and that Aura can be held in high regards to the delivery of swimming.

“I would wish to see school swimming remain a part of the curriculum due to many not being able to access such an important life skill due to cost, travel, other siblings, availability, working parents and many other reasons. With the price of living continuing to rise, unfortunately, an activity such as swimming may be put to one side in favour of general life needs.

“Taking school swimming from the curriculum will have a further effect to the amount of children being able to access swimming and aiming to complete KS2 before leaving primary school.”

Jodie Powell, Area Swim School Lead- GLL Cardiff said: “For some children school swimming may be the only experience they have of swimming lessons. To provide school swimming lessons we can potentially get around every local child, providing the school is willing to book.

“Swimming is a life skill. We should be part of keeping children safe around water also providing knowledge they can continue to use throughout life.”

Penny John-Pearse, Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “Most children learn the physical skills and techniques associated with swimming and water safety, as well as the knowledge and understanding of what they should do in the event of their unforeseen or unexpected entry into water. It should help them understand the consequences of their own actions and ensure they make good decisions for their own safety.

“Water competence is so important because our local authority is a coastal area with many beauty spots associated with open water environments - ponds, lakes and rivers.  Our young people need to learn how to make good decisions for themselves so they stay safe when playing in or near open water situations.

“When taking part in regular physical activity, individuals enjoy the health and well-being benefits that come with adopting a physically active lifestyle.  Swimming is an activity that crosses all life stages so people can start well, live well and age well through all life stages.  Often referred to as a cradle to grave activity.”

Amy Brumby, Duty Officer, Pembrokeshire Leisure said: “Pembrokeshire has 186 miles of coastline meaning residents are never far from open water. Giving children the skills to enjoy our beaches and coastal areas is vital. Being safe and confident in water is a skill that all children throughout Wales should be given. School swimming lessons are so much more than learning to swim. Swimming is a which saves lives, that you can take part in for life, promotes physical literacy and is fun!

“It’s important to provide children in Pembrokeshire the opportunity to learn to swim and be safe in and around all types of water. School swimming is the only opportunity for some children to learn to swim and with child poverty an increasing issue this provision is essential to ensure that this life skill is accessible to all.”

Jonathan Phillips, RCT Council, said: “School swimming is important as it gives children who come from hard to reach areas the opportunity to learn to swim and become safe in the water.

“Ensuring children in RCT are safe when around rivers, lakes and reservoirs is very important to this council in order to prevent potential loss of life. I would like to see school swimming remain a key component of the new school curriculum as children learning to swim is a vital skill and part of their development, which a lot of parents can’t afford to pay for.”