The BBC reported this week that primary schools need to offer more chances to take part in swimming sessions, as a report released by the Amateur Swimming Association indicated that around 1,300 primaries ‘do not offer swim lessons, even though it is a skill on the national curriculum’.
The report also indicated that almost half of primary school pupils are unable to swim the length of a swimming pool unaided.
The National Curriculum specifies that swimming instruction must be provided to pupils in either Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2. Skills that should be developed in these sessions include using a range of strokes, such as front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke, swimming confidently over a distance of at least 25 metres and to be able to perform self-rescue in a range of situations.
The ASA recommend that schools dedicate ‘at least 25 hours of study time per child to curriculum swimming’. The Guardian reported that the average pupil ‘spent the equivalent of just 10 hours in the water over the academic year’.
Unfortunately, this is not the first year research has brought forward results such as these. In 2013 the ASA report ‘found 51% of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim the length of a typical swimming pool (25 metres) unaided’, and similar results were released by the ASA again in 2012. Hopefully the results of this year’s report will cause a more active response than the previous few years.