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FAQs for Licensing

Below you will find answers to many of the most popular questions about Aquatic Professional Licensing & CPD we get here at the ASA

What is licensing?

A licence is an accreditation to coach or teach following the achievement of an ASA teacher/coach qualification or equivalent.  Learners are invited to apply subject to meeting a number of specified criteria.  The licence is valid for a three-year period and is to be renewable subject to the holder meeting additional specified criteria.  The criteria are based upon accepted best practise but do not include a requirement for re-assessment.  Whilst the licence requires the licensee to keep up to date, teaching and coaching quality will remain the responsibility of the employer, the club and the individual.  It is recommended that all employers incorporate a teacher and coach monitoring process within their own quality assurance procedures which:

  • Provides proof of competence; summary statement of qualifications and experience
  • Provides some protection for children through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
  • Helps to promote high standards for teaching/coaching
  • Provides a framework for continuous improvement and CPD
  • Provides evidence to employers that teachers and coaches are willing to undergo continual development
  • Assists employers and clubs in the selection of teachers/coaches
  • Provides for a separation of qualified and unqualified staff and licensed and unlicensed staff
  • Provides a vehicle which can be used to implement change
  • Commits the holder to uphold the code of ethics in swimming
  • External credibility for the profession and for the ASA
  • Part of a regulated and developing career structure
  • Licence can be suspended or removed in certain circumstances

Is a licence compulsory?

Holding a licence is not compulsory and at this point in time there are no plans to make it so by the ASA.  However, The Government through the UK Coaching Framework does envisage all coaches being licensed by 2016.

A person cannot hold an ASA licence if they do not hold an ASA qualification or equivalent qualification.

I am currently on the pre-April 2009 scheme. Can I cancel my existing licence and apply to go onto the new programme?

No. The rules are that you must fulfill the requirements of the scheme you are on before you can transfer onto any new scheme.

Should I be licensed if I am a volunteer?

Yes, all volunteers are encouraged to be licensed.  It is recognised that the ASA club structure for swimming and its associated disciplines relies heavily on time given by volunteers and that a large number of volunteers contribute a relatively small number of hours per week.  Collectively these hours amount to a considerable contribution without which many clubs would cease to exist.

The opportunity to become licensed is open to all who meet the stated criteria but the requirement to become licensed does not.  The recommendations are as follows:

  • Volunteers who do not receive any payment other than, perhaps, expenses for travel etc. who teach/coach for more than four hours per week should be licensed.
  • Those who are paid a fee for their services and who work for more than two hours per week should be licensed. 
  • School teachers who teach swimming and/or the other swimming disciplines within the context of a school programme do not need to be licensed, however it is recognised that school teachers will be expected to meet requirements specified by their own professional bodies.

Should a club encourage volunteers to be licensed? 

Swim21 makes this compulsory for volunteers active over four hours a week on a regular basis. Non swim21 clubs should read questions on licensing outlined above.

How much might it cost to do CPD courses to achieve licence renewal?

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a general term used for options open to an individual to further their own education and can take many forms, from formal seminars to more informal mentoring.  Costs will therefore vary.  CPD seminars are quality assured with each seminar undergoing stringent verification.  Swim21 clubs and teachers/coaches applying for a licence will receive vouchers, which can be used for IoS CPD seminars.  To discuss further please contact your regional ASA office.

Is there a cost reduction for the licence fee if you are an official and a coach?

There is no cost to the licence if an individual is a member of the ASA or the IoS.

What about Child Protection workshops?

There are many variations in the type, length, content, etc. of child protection training workshops which are delivered throughout the country.  As with CRB checks this is an important area and the ASA needs to be confident that evidence submitted as part of the licensing scheme meets the needs of teachers and coaches as well as the criteria requirements of swim21 accreditation. 

To achieve this, the ASA is following the recommendations made by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and only the training programmes listed below can be accepted:

  • Sportscoach UK workshop titled ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children Workshop' (formerly known as 'Good Practice and Child Protection’)
  • There are two versions of this workshop.  The ASA preferred course is delivered by the ASA/sports coach UK and uses swimming specific examples, referring to the ASA Child Protection Policy and guidelines.   For details of these courses available in your area click here.
  • The second is the generic workshop delivered by sports coach UK, usually as part of a County Sports Partnership Education programme. For more information on the sports coach UK workshop click here

Other approved courses:

  • Child protection training delivered by Local Safeguarding Childrens Boards (LSCB's). All approved Local Authority training is now delivered by their LSCB and should be the LSCB logo on the attendance certificate
  • Football Association – Child Protection and Best Practice
  • Netball – Duty of Care Child Protection Training
  • Gymnastics – Child Protection Awareness Workshop

We would emphasise that the ASA preferred course is the ASA/sports coach UK swimming specific course and we would encourage everyone to attend this because of the additional information it provides relating to our sport.

For more information on Safeguarding & Protecting Children, visit the Child Protection in Sport Unit website here.

What about CRB Checks?

One of the criteria required by the ASA teacher/coach licensing scheme relates to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.  This is a complex issue and the following guidance is intended to clarify some of the evidence requirements which applicants are required to submit.  When developing the detail of the CRB check in respect of licensing the ASA consulted with the Child Protection in Sport Unit which was established by Sport England to provide help and support in this area.  It is almost inevitable that the guidance below will not cover every eventuality and some evidence may need to be considered on an individual basis.

Does everyone applying for an ASA teacher/coach licence need a CRB check?

Yes.  There are no exceptions to this and police checks (some police departments still offer this service) are not acceptable as they are not considered to be sufficiently comprehensive.

I am a volunteer who works in an ASA affiliated club.  What is the cost of a CRB Check?

As a volunteer working in an affiliated club the service is provided free of charge.  You will need to sign that you do not receive any remuneration for teaching/coaching from your club and no remuneration for any teaching/coaching carried out for any external organisation e.g. local authority learn to swim scheme, private swim scheme.

I work as a volunteer in an affiliated club but also teach/coach swimming for my local authority.  Can I get a free CRB check through the ASA?

No.  The ASA is only allowed to process, at no cost to the individual, CRB checks for a volunteer.  As you are also employed you will need to liaise with your employer who may, or may not, cover the cost of a CRB check for you.

I have had a CRB check through the ASA which is more than 6 months but less than 3 years old.  Do I need to complete a new CRB application?

No, your ASA CRB check is valid for 3 years.

If I have a CRB check though another organisation which is less than 6 months old, can it be used for my licence application?

We cannot guarantee that a CRB will be acceptable from another organisation. We would suggest that you forward it with your application so that we can make enquiries with the counter signatory. Please note, we cannot accept any CRB's from other organisations that are more than 6 months old.

Do I need to send all the required identification e.g. passport to the ASA?

No, the club secretary or welfare officer can complete the section related to evidence of identity.  If you are not a member of a club but are in an employed situation this can be completed by a line / senior manager.

If I am applying through the ASA who do I send the application form to?

CRB Administrator, Sport Park, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3QF 

I am a British citizen working in the armed forces but stationed abroad.  Can I be licensed?

Yes.  Your CRB check will be carried out in this country and will be valid.

I live and work abroad but I have an ASA teacher/coach certificate.  Can I be licensed?

No.  The licence only applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the CRB check will only provide evidence related to those countries.  The Scottish ASA will be introducing an identical scheme and Disclosure Scotland provides the same service as CRB.  Employees working in Scotland are advised to register through this route.

I received my Level 1 licence but then 6 months later achieved my Level 2 certificate.  Can I upgrade and what is the status of my CRB certificate?

Yes you can upgrade but your new licence will only be valid until the date on your original licence.  Your CRB certificate will remain valid until your licence renewal date.  To upgrade you will obviously need to meet the requirements of the Level 2 licence.

What are the costs of CRB checks by the ASA?

  • Volunteers working in affiliated clubs – free of charge
  • Individuals (who are not volunteers) wishing to use the ASA to apply for a CRB certificate - £58.00
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