Investment in school swimming programmes guidance

8 April 2013

With the news that additional Government funding of £150 million per year has been committed to primary PE and school sport, giving schools the opportunity to review their swimming programmes, the ASA are offering guidance to pool operators to support the use of the funding.

There is a statutory requirement that pupils should be able to swim a minimum of 25 metres unaided by the time they leave primary school, and the new draft curriculum reinforces this with the following:

All schools must provide swimming instruction either in Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2. In particular, pupils should be taught to:

  • swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • use a range of strokes effectively such as front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke
  • perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations.

The ASA are working with schools to make swimming and water safety an absolute priority for use of the additional funding. Here we provide advice on the use of the funding, to ensure school swimming is prioritised. 

  • If pupils are not being offered swimming as part of the PE curriculum then these funds should be utilised to address this immediately.
  • Schools should investigate the achievement levels of their pupils and look at supporting those children who are not reaching the minimum standards.  Booster lessons are an ideal solution, often referred to as ‘Top Ups’.
  • As well as normal learn to swim lessons, provide additional lessons around general safety in and around water.  This essential component is sometimes overlooked in the delivery of school swimming but it is a statutory part of the national curriculum.  Increasing knowledge and practice of water safety skills will save lives.
  • Make sure schools are getting the best out of their teaching staff.  We recommend that anyone involved in the delivery of primary school swimming should take the specialised National Curriculum Training Programme qualification as a minimum. Click here, call 01509 640 463 or email
  • Encourage them to make use of all the available resources that can support school swimming delivery, such as a Games Pack and the range of awards available through the Kellogg’s ASA Award Scheme, visit
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