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Half of Primary Children "Can't Swim a Length"

Half of Primary Children "Can't Swim a Length"
6 November 2014 1370 Views No comments

Just under half of children in primary school don't possess the skills to swim the length of a pool by themselves. According to the latest report from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), many children in England are not being taught how to swim.

The ASA found that over 1,000 primary schools don't offer their pupils swimming lessons, despite the fact that swimming is a part of the national curriculum. This could be damaging later on life in terms of life-saving skills and confidence in the water.

According to the ASA, not enough primary schools are making sure that their pupils are spending enough time in the water, which means that they are not learning to swim unaided.

The annual census from ASA, which is based on a survey of 900 primary schools, found that around 45 per cent of children aged from seven to 11 aren't able to swim 25 metres without help – the length of an average pool.

While this is still a high number, it shows an improvement from last year's report which found that 51 per cent of primary school children couldn't swim the distance. This is a positive step forward; however, there is still more to be done to ensure that children are leaving primary school having gained swimming skills.

The report states that upon leaving primary school, children should be able to swim 25 metres unaided and also know about water safety. Each child should spend around 25 hours learning to swim with their school as part of the curriculum.

However, around 6.6 per cent (1,300) of primary schools aren't providing swimming lessons. Schools that do provide lessons supply an average of 18, an increase of two lessons on last year. This means they spend just under ten hours in the water, as lessons last around 33 minutes on average.

The report stated: "If primary schools can commit to adopting the recommended approach, we estimate that approximately 200,000 additional children would leave primary school being able to swim and gain an active start to life."