Survive and Save Club

According to Ray Lau from Survive and Save Club in Harrow, taking your time is key to implementing the National Plan for Teaching Swimming (NPTS) Learn more about his experiences below.

Ray Lau and the Survive and Save Club in Harrow have gained a wealth of experience from implementing the NPTS, so we decided to ask him a few questions about his experience so others could follow his lead.

He is happy to follow up on any of his answers below. Simply email him at

Ray Lau Q&A

Q. Do you have a full-time Level 2 teacher coordinating the swimming programme at your pool?

A holder of the ASA Level 3 managing and delivery of programmes co-ordinates the programme


Q. Were you implementing the NPTS 1997 edition?


Q. So when did you start to implement the NPTS 2007 edition?

We implemented this in January 2008 and piloted the Rookie Lifeguard programme in September 2007.

Q. How easy was it to purchase your NPTS pack?

Easy. I did it over the phone. 

Q. Do you think it is good value for money?

Yes! Bit it would have been better if the DVD had been available from the start and the distance stroke awards certificates & cloth badges.

Q. Did you attend any CPD training and if “yes” how did you find out about the courses and were they useful?

Yes I did attend CPD. The majority of teachers have attended the FUNdamentals seminar and some of NPTS, and our education and development officer has attended all the seminars. Also, a number of teachers have attended the NPTS Overview and Mini Polo.

We found them all useful, however we are very disappointed with London region as the number of seminars has been very limited in meeting the needs of our aquatics programme.

Q. What other resources would you like the ASA to develop as a priority?

A revision of the Training DVD with realistic swimmers from the NPTS programme representing “expected standards”.

Q. Did you use the NPTS Action Plan to help you implement the NPTS? Did you do anything different?

Yes. We focused on a transition phase between the old and new where we completed the old NPTS assessment and then re-assessed them against the new programme.

Q. What were the main skills gaps areas with the swimmers when you transferred and how did you overcome these?

Butterfly! Sculling – Synchro skills. I took the lead in delivering some tutor demos and specifically taught the skills involved.

Q. Are there any best practice examples within your implementation that you could share with others?

We implement an Aquatics stage 8 & 9 programme where swimmers complete the competitive swimming with a rotating programme on Flip n Fun, AquaFun, mini-polo! and Rookie Lifeguard.

Due to the popularity of the programme we will be establishing a mini-polo! teaching section including stage 10.


Q. At what stages of the NPTS do you experience the highest dropout rate of swimmers and what (if any) interventions have you got in place to try to keep swimmers and parents involved?

Our dropout rate is Stage 7 when swimmers are not progressing because of the 100metres and 25metres butterfly aspects. We are currently organising teachers to attend a butterfly CPD.

Q. Please could you detail if you are currently using or considering using any of the other ASA awards such as Swim a Song or distance badges?

No. Swimmers progress onto Rookie Lifeguard and lifesaving programmes of the Royal Life Saving Society.

Q. What would be your key recommendations to anyone considering implementing the new NPTS?

Take your time! Ensure you have conversion assessment completed on all swimmers about four weeks before the end of the current course then teach the skills and adjust.

Q. Have you noticed an improvement in your programme since moving to the new NPTS? Please can you explain any changes.

Yes! There has developed a greater motivation, and interest in, the higher stages. It has resulted in a better quality of swimmer.

Q. Are there any other comments you would like to add at this stage?

There are points in the programme where swimmers do become ‘stuck’ at Stages 2, 5 (Butterfly!) and 7 (100m and Butterfly!)

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