10,000 children learn to swim at British Gas Pools 4 Schools
2 July 2010
Sporting legends Mark Foster, Steve Parry and athletics’ Dave Moorcroft have been helping to celebrate the success of British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme which yesterday reached the milestone of teaching 10,000 children to swim.
The trio were at the Coventry AT7 Centre to mark the success of the scheme, which is delivered by Total Swimming in conjunction with the ASA and the Department of Education – and there was even the opportunity to tuck into some celebratory cake!
Since 2009, portable pools have been travelling all over the UK with the aim of teaching children and families to swim in areas where this opportunity has been limited.
And now, 160 schools, 250,000m and 100,000 swimming lessons later, British Gas Pools 4 Schools has achieved what it initially set out to do – to teach 10,000 children from diverse backgrounds, communities and lifestyles, to swim.
British Gas Pools 4 Schools is a simple yet effective idea – the swimming pool is set up in an accessible space, whether that’s a gym, school hall or even car park, open for six to eight weeks and provides local school children with swimming lessons and is used by the local community.
Total Swimming’s Alex Scotcher said there were many people to thank for the success, including British Gas and all the partners, but he also acknowledged it’s the teachers that make a big difference to this programme.
“It’s the motivation and quality of the teachers who deliver the lessons that has made a difference to the 10,000 children around the country.
“This is the last of this year’s programme and it has been the result of some serious partnership working. Coventry has been the winner in terms of the numbers of people. They have had 500 children through the programme already and we are only half way through.”
The swimming lessons provided by British Gas Pools 4 Schools aim to help school children achieve the National Curriculum target of teaching school children to swim 25m unaided and is a highly effective solution to school swimming.
In Coventry, where the pool is delivered in conjunction with Coventry City Council, Coventry Sports Foundation, The School Sports Partnership, the ASA and The Primary Care Trust, 32 of the city’s 37 schools have taken part. The pool has also been a hit with the community, with stories of families walking 1.5miles to take part in community sessions.
David Nuttall, the Council’s Service Manager Sports and Arts, added: “It’s not just about having the pool, it’s about providing the public access and about giving them the chance to try different things like synchronised swimming. This is all down to the commitment of the people involved.”