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In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

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School or private lessons? A guide for parents to help you choose

Many parents wonder whether taking their child along for private swimming lessons would be more beneficial than relying on school swimming. But what are the differences between the two?

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two is the cost of swimming lessons. School swimming lessons are free, so for those parents who can't afford private lessons, this might be the preferred option. Private lessons are more in depth and personalised, but invariably this comes at a cost.

School swimming lessons are part of the National Curriculum and children are required to meet the standard distance requirements of 25m unaided swimming, although schools cannot always provide the amount of lesson time they might like. Private swimming lessons allow a much more comprehensive course, with 1-1 attention between the swimming coach and the student.

"Private lessons allow 1-1 attention between the swimming coach and the student."Swimming pools have always provided a place for like-minded people to congregate, spend time swimming together and perhaps enter into some light-hearted competition. For some children, spending time swimming with a group of strangers might not provide the same sort of social integration that they would experience in school lessons.

Private tuition is less rigid. It will teach your child everything they need to know about swimming and pool safety, but the emphasis is on them enjoying the experience, keeping healthy and learning to swim at their own pace.

School lessons follow a set curriculum which prepares them to ensure they are safe around water and can get to safety should they need to. Its aims are often simpler; to make sure that your child can swim the length of a pool by the time they finish primary school.

"School swimming should enable your child to swim 25m unaided, as set out in the National Curriculum."

Private lessons allow parents to have more of an input in what their child is learning. You can get feedback as to how your child is doing, rather than a little snippet in the school report...if anything at all.

If you’re not sure whether to book your child in for private swimming tuition or just rely on their school swimming lessons, the main considerations are simple. Does your child really enjoy swimming? Can you afford private swimming lessons?

If the answer to either of these is no, then there is nothing wrong with allowing your child to learn the essentials at school, then looking at private lessons at a later date if they wish to.

  • If you would like to search for pools in your area running ASA Learn to Swim then complete an advanced search on our Poolfinder for further details.
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