17 Nov 2009
Kirklees Education in West Yorkshire are celebrating the results of their Key Stage 2 attainment figures for their School Swimming programme, which is supported by the government’s national Top Up swimming fund and more recently the School Swimming Improvement Programme.

The yearly school swimming programme offered to all schools within the area for 7-11 year olds has seen outstanding improvements in the pupil’s swimming achievements.  For example, one school has seen an increase of 70% in the Key Stage 2 attainment figure, which means children should be able to swim unaided over a distance of at least 25 metres.  Another is boasting a 100% pass rate in their school swimming programme through offering extra lessons every week, which is a 38% increase on the statistics recorded before Top Up swimming was introduced.

Swimming and water safety are statutory activities at Key Stage 2 (unless completed at Key Stage 1) and the Top Up Programme of swimming lessons to support the weakest swimmers in primary schools was introduced in 2006 to help them achieve the 25 metre goal.  In the Kirklees area this is provided through extra lessons led by ASA qualified swimming teachers with school staff on hand to help and encourage pupils both within and outside the curriculum.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) £8.25 million funding through the School Swimming Improvement Programme has further assisted these pupils to develop general water confidence and water safety skills through a national initiative co-ordinated by the ASA’s team of School Swimming Advisors.

Sue Barlow, ASA School Swimming Curriculum Advisor, is delighted at the success of the programme in Kirklees.  She said, “This is great news, I am so pleased that through the support of the ASA and the government funding we have been able to help so many children in the Kirklees area to learn to swim.  The vast majority of the improvements in these schools are due to the additional funding they have received, but the hard work, extra training and commitment of the PE Advisor and swimming staff should be recognised. They have done so much to provide the correct environment so that the children feel fully supported and encouraged”.

Janet Thorpe is the Kirklees PE School Improvement Officer who is very proud of the achievements of the schools in the area. 

“The more pro-active schools have definitely seen the best results in offering these extra lessons to their non swimmers and it is wonderful to know that the pupils are benefiting from this type of support.  It all runs by working in partnership together - the swimming teachers take a lead on identifying schools and individual pupils for support and how it can be implemented, and the schools are keen to improve their standards and welcome suggestions and extra opportunities for their pupils.” 

She added, “We also work closely with local leisure provider Kirklees Active Leisure to run half term learn to swim schemes, where pupils identified by the swimming teachers receive personalised invitations.  Additionally we provide Parent information sheets to explain the school swimming sessions that are running and to detail what is available during the summer holidays.  We all feel these initiatives have had a significant impact upon the overall school swimming standards across Kirklees.”

Schools Minister Iain Wright said: “Swimming lessons are really important.  They teach children how to be safe and confident in the water, and they help keep them fit and healthy.  Swimming is also a great way to enjoy the Government's 2012 Legacy offer to all children of five hours of high-quality PE and sport a week.   I'd like to congratulate the children, teachers and parents of Kirklees on their own swimming success story."
Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe said: “It is great that young people in Kirklees have made such a splash and are swimming so strongly. They are not the only ones - across England nearly seven million free swims have been enjoyed by those aged 16 and under since the Government’s £140 million free swimming initiative was launched in April. Well done to Kirklees - like so many other local authorities, they are playing a key part in making sure London 2012 delivers a lasting legacy of getting people, young and old, to be more active.” 


For more information contact the ASA PR Officer Claire Freeman on 01509 632265 or email

PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP)
The Top Up and School Swimming Improvement Programmes are funded jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) through the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP). Launched in January 2008, the PESSYP expresses the Government’s commitment to improve the quantity and quality of PE and sport undertaken by young people aged 5-19 in England. PESSYP builds on the success of the PE, School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL) Strategy for 5-16 year olds, which went live in April 2003. It will see an investment of £755 million over three years to deliver the work announced by the Prime Minister in July 2007, and is now set out in Public Service Agreement target 22.

About the ASA
The ASA is the English National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Open Water and Synchronised Swimming. It organises competition throughout England, establishes the Laws of the Sport and operates comprehensive certification and education programmes for Teachers, Coaches and Officials as well as its renowned Learn to Swim Awards scheme. The ASA supports 1,220 affiliated swimming clubs through a National/Regional/County structure. The ASA aims to ensure everybody has an opportunity to learn to swim.

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The Kellogg Company was founded in 1906 and today produces 40 different cereals including popular brands such as Special K, Cornflakes and Coco Pops, and 56 different snacks including brands such as Nutri-Grain and Special K snacks. Kellogg’s has been a partner of the ASA and British Swimming for 13 years, sponsoring the Kellogg’s ASA Awards and enabling over 50,000 people to take up swimming as part of an active lifestyle.

About British Gas
British Gas is Britain's favourite domestic energy supplier. As well as providing gas and electricity, it also installs and maintains central heating and gas appliances in millions of homes throughout the country. British Gas is very proud to be the principal partner of British Swimming and home countries: The ASA, Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales. British Gas is supporting the team's quest for medals on the world and Olympic stage - and giving as many people as possible the opportunity to learn to swim and use swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle. British Gas wants to ensure local pools remain at the heart of our communities. By using its expertise, it can help them reduce costs by being more energy efficient and safeguard the facilities for this and future generations. For more information visit

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