FAQs for parents about school swimming

Parents and kids in swimming pool. Parents, find out how you can help improve school swimming.

If your question isn’t covered in our FAQs for parents about school swimming section below, please try one of the other sections or email us at schoolcharter@swimming.org

Can I sign up my child to take part in the School Swimming Charter?
No, the Charter is for primary schools to sign up to, not for individual pupils.

What can parents do to help improve school swimming standards?
Parents should ask their child and their school questions about the school swimming programmes. For example, the ASA recommends 25 hours of swimming lessons each year to ensure a child can swim competently and is safe in water. If schools aren’t providing this parents should challenge the school.

Parents can also use their networks to share information about their experiences of school swimming provision and write to their MP asking about standards and putting pressure on the government to provide more resources. Further ideas are contained in the Parent’s Guide available to download here.

How do I know if my child’s school is using the Charter or not?
If the school is signed up to the Charter, there should be absolutely no doubt that this is the case because they should be telling you as parents and your child that there are going to be changes to the school swimming programme. The ASA provide a substantial range of template materials for communicating to parents all the details of the Awards that your child can aim to achieve.

How do I find out what level my child is at in their school swimming?
Quite often schools don’t keep any records of the attainment levels of their pupils, simply because they are not expected to provide reports on this for Ofsted inspections. However if they are signed up to the Charter they will be provided with all the necessary assessment and evaluation template materials so they will be able to easily update parents on the individual achievement levels of pupils

At which Stage would my child enter the ASA Learn to Swim Framework if they have achieved Award 2 of the School Swimming Charter Awards?
School Swimming Charter Award 2 has been mapped across to Stage 2 of the ASA Learn to Swim Framework.  Please note that some of the skills contained in the School Swimming Awards may also be included in the higher stages of the ASA Learn to Swim Framework.  To achieve any Stage all skills must be achieved.

The School Swimming Charter Awards have been mapped to the ASA Learn to Swim Framework Stages as follows:

School Swimming Charter Award achieved ASA Learn to Swim Framework stage entry
Award 1 Stage 1
Award 2 Stage 2
Award 3 Stage 2
Award 4 Stage 3
Award 5 Stage 4
Award 6 Stage 4

How do I get my child’s school to sign up to the Charter?
Speak to the head teacher, speak to members of the PTFA, and speak to the governors. Encourage the PTFA and governors to get involved and find out about the resources provided as part of the Charter. It is ultimately the head teacher’s decision but they can be greatly influenced by the views of parents.

My child struggles with swimming, what should I do?
You could ask your school about the provision of Top-Up swimming lessons, which can be provided for pupils. Top-Up Swimming is designed to enable every child to achieve the Key Stage 2 standard in swimming at primary school and to help develop other related skills such as water confidence and water safety. It delivers intensive swimming lessons for those who appear to be struggling to meet the Key Stage 2 requirements as they approach the end of Year 6.

Why should I pay for extra private lessons if my child is already getting swimming tuition at school?
This is the recommended ideal situation because when you are learning to swim, you can never have too many lessons. It should be the priority for both types of swimming lesson to teach children to not only learn to swim but also to become water safe. Lots of children are water confident and enjoy splashing around in the water, but they would not be able to save themselves if they got into trouble in the water. As many lessons as possible, along with lots of positive praise will go a long way towards improving the worrying drowning statistics.

Should parents be paying towards school swimming lessons?
No – schools should only ask for a voluntary contribution. The government has provided funding to help schools cover their costs. However, you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of the Awards that your child receives. This is at the discretion of individual schools as to whether they request parents to contribute or not.

What if my school isn’t doing any school swimming?
Firstly approach the head teacher to find out why. It may be that school swimming is taking place, but you are just not aware of it because it may be offered to specific Year groups or only at certain times in the school year. If you are positive that school swimming is definitely not offered to your child as part of the school day at any point during their time in primary school, let us know by emailing us at schoolcharter@swimming.org.

Who do I approach in my child’s school about getting involved in the Charter?
The best people to contact would be the head teacher and also members of the PTFA. Make it clear that you wish for the school to take school swimming seriously and encourage them to sign up to receive comprehensive support and resources to bring a range of benefits for the pupils, teachers and the school as a whole.

How do I encourage my child to get more involved in swimming?
Parents play a big role here. To start with, why not lead by example and go swimming yourself regularly and as a family and have some fun. Take an active interest in their progression at school swimming lessons and encourage your child to do their best to achieve the eight different Award badges. Help motivate them to complete their School Swimming Passport with the stickers provided by the school. For plenty more advice and guidance, download our Parents Guide here.

What can I do to help promote the Charter?
Ask if your school is planning on signing up and also take the initiative to discuss with governors and members of the PTFA. Talk to other parents about the benefits of your children learning an essential life skill and how important it is that schools take school swimming seriously. Also you could share your thoughts with parents whose children attend a different school and encourage them to ask the same questions.

Keep up with the latest discussions on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ASAaquatics and follow us on Twitter @ASAaquatics #SchoolSwimming.

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