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2013 School Swimming Census

The 2013 School Swimming Census is the largest ever investigation into the state of school swimming.

The ASA believes that swimming needs to be an integral part of the overall physical education programme on the National Curriculum to address the issues identified in the report.

These are key outcomes from the report which indicate why urgent action is needed.

  • More than half of children (51%) of children aged 7-11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided. This equates to 1.1million children who are unable to be safe in and around water
  • Only 2% of schools deliver the Government’s recommended tuition time of 22hrs per child for school swimming
  • The average state school pupil spends just 8 hours 15 minutes a year in swimming lessons Schools on average dedicate 0.25% of KS2 teaching time to swimming compared to 50% to maths & English, 9% to science and 5% to PE in general
  • 44% of primary schools say budget is a key barrier impacting on school swimming, as well as lack of time in the school day and travel expenses
  • More than a fifth of schools do not know their KS2 swimming attainment rates
  • 16% of teachers said swimming provision was negatively impacted because they needed more training
  • State schools are struggling most with 49% achieving the attainment rate compared to 63% of private schools
  • Just 4 in 10 of the 1000 parents of primary school children surveyed said their child is receiving school swimming (Opinion Matters, April 2013)

A lifeline for school swimming

Although there are many inspiring examples that prove how school swimming is being implemented successfully, despite swimming being on the National Curriculum, in many schools it is simply not being delivered.

Where it is taught, often KS2 attainment targets are not being met or monitored.

As well as parents providing essential support in inspiring a love of swimming from an early age, taking part in swimming as a family and through lessons, there are two significant actions that need to happen.

  • Headteachers and governing bodies in schools struggling to deliver statutory swimming requirements should invest the forthcoming additional Government funding into the only sport that can and does save lives – swimming.
  • Government should call upon Ofsted to include the delivery and monitoring of compulsory swimming lessons as part of primary school inspections in PE.

ASA School Swimming Manifesto

The 2013 Census follows on from the 2012 school swimming report ‘Save School Swimming, Save Lives’, which laid down a six-point ASA School Swimming Manifesto to provide direction for everyone involved in the delivery of school swimming.

  1. Every child learning to swim in primary school
  2. Improve training for primary school teachers
  3. Robust monitoring of school swimming by Ofsted
  4. Swimming as a school budget priority
  5. Support at secondary schools
  6. Help keep school pools open
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