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Turner joins Pools 4 Schools in Birmingham

10th November 2011

Olympic swimming hopeful and Commonwealth medallist Grant Turner joined kids in the pool in Birmingham yesterday to announce that the youngsters will have the opportunity to swim at the London Aquatics Centre next year.

This exciting news came as the British Gas Pools 4 Schools returned to Aston with a commitment to teach over 1,000 children to learn to swim through the programme, which has already taught over 4,000 children at the King Edward IV Aston playing fields site.

Nationally, one in five children leave primary school unable to swim, and in communities with limited pool access this figure can be as high as four out of five.

Children from Prince Albert School joined Grant in the temporary swimming pool to mark the return of the programme to Aston, and to hear the news that they will swim at the London Aquatics Centre.

The lucky group of children will be special guests at the British Gas Swimming Championships in March 2012, where Grant will be competing in the freestyle events.

Turner said: “Nationally, one in five children leave primary school unable to swim, and in communities with limited pool access this figure can be as high as four out of five.

"The British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme ensures children have the opportunity to learn a vital life skill, improve their fitness and have fun in the water. I’m really pleased to be supporting such a revolutionary scheme.”

The British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme, which is supported by British Gas, Speedo and the ASA, is a highly innovative solution to school swimming, which nationally has taught 30,000 children to swim over the last two years in areas with limited access to swimming facilities.

The 12m x 6m portable and temporary pool being used in Aston is built by Total Swimming and provides a range of activities from swimming lessons to mini-polo and aqua-aerobics delivered by experienced teachers. The facility is available to local schools and community groups to learn to swim within a safe environment.

Olympic bronze medallist and Total Swimming director Steve Parry is the brains behind British Gas Pools 4 Schools. Parry said, “I’m really excited that Total Swimming, British Gas and Speedo are back in Birmingham to continue the success of the scheme and our mission to teach school children and members of the community to swim."

Jon Glenn, Head of Learn to Swim at the ASA, said: “The ASA is delighted to welcome Speedo on board as a programme partner and to continue to join British Gas in supporting the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme.

"Swimming lessons in school could be the only opportunity for some pupils to learn to swim and gain water safety knowledge. The importance of swimming is reflected in the Government’s commitment to retain physical education as a compulsory National Curriculum subject with the expectation that all children learn to swim."

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