FAQs for schools about school swimming

Kids by the pool. Answers for schools about school swimming.

If your question isn’t covered in our FAQs for schools about school swimming section below, please try one of the other sections or email us at schoolcharter@swimming.org. Please click on the sections heading of interest to expand to reveal the FAQs.

  • Click/tap to reveal or close FAQs about the School Swimming Charter

How does our school sign up for the Charter?
Simply visit the online sign up page here.

What are the benefits of using the Charter in our school?
Schools who take school swimming seriously and sign up to the Charter can look forward to a measurable uplift in their attainment levels. Charter schools will benefit from:

1. A guarantee that if they deliver our recommendations they will be complying with the national curriculum requirements

2. Being able to show parents and the community that the school is taking action to improve school swimming

3. Improved standards of swimming teaching and assessment

4. Potential revenue from Awards sales

5. Pupils feeling positive recognition of their progress as they are rewarded for reaching milestones

6. Providing a higher level of engagement in pupils and teachers by providing lessons that are high quality, better resourced and structured

7. Increased staff retention by providing training for class teachers on how to teach swimming

8. Having a direct relationship with and support from the national governing body for swimming.

How do schools receive updates on new developments on the Charter?
We will communicate regularly with Charter schools via emails and e-newsletters for head teachers and identified School Swimming Champions.

When our school has signed up what do we do next?
You will receive a confirmation email straight away, sent to the address provided when you sign up. This will give you full guidance on what to do next, including a link to an online resources library for you to download the materials you would like to access immediately. We recommend that when you receive your pack of Charter resources in the post, you turn first to the Charter brochure which provides a good introduction to the materials and how to make maximum use of them.

What does our school need to collect or report back to you about our swimming progress?
We have no specific requirements for Charter schools to send us any reports, but we would ask that you take part in the annual School Swimming Census which will provide us with information on your swimming attainment figures. We would love to hear feedback from schools on their use of the Charter, what works, what doesn’t and any suggestions for improvements. These can be emailed to us at schoolcharter@swimming.org. Positive examples of improvements and successes are particularly welcomed for us to use in marketing and press materials.

What happens if our school only wishes to improve standards and lesson planning but does not wish to charge parents for badges?
It is completely the individual school’s decision as to whether or not the cost of badges is passed on to parents.

How do we pay for the badges?
There are several ways that schools can approach the funding of badges.

1. Pass on the charge to parents. This has the benefit of involving them in their child’s school swimming achievements and giving the badges a tangible value for pupils to aim for.

2. Use the Primary PE and Sport Premium funding provided by government

3. Ask the PTA/PTFA to contribute towards the costs. Again, this has the benefit of involving them in the school swimming programme and they will feel more a part of the overall achievements of the school when attainment levels are published.

Our school is already taking school swimming seriously and we don’t think we need to change anything. Should our school still sign up to the Charter?
Yes, we do recommend that you sign up so that you can gain access to our resources and support materials, particularly to use the Awards to recognise the success of your pupils. It is great that you are committed to the success of your school swimming, why not tell us about it by emailing us at schoolcharter@swimming.org

If I have a concern about our school swimming lesson provider, who can I talk to?
Ideally you should discuss your concerns directly with the swimming teachers and the lesson co-ordination/management staff at the pool to try and resolve any issues. If you feel you would benefit from our support or advice, do contact us at schoolcharter@swimming.org

Our school only does school swimming in the summer. Can our school leave it until the summer term before signing up to the Charter?
We recommend that you sign up to the Charter as soon as possible, don’t leave it until the summer term as it may take some time for you to make any necessary changes to your school swimming programme in consultation with the lesson provider and this is best done sooner rather than later. Also some of the resources are for use in the classroom, so you don’t need to wait until you have school swimming taking place to start educating pupils on water safety and how important swimming is for their good health.

Our school has school swimming delivered in conjunction with other schools.  How will it work if we are signed up to the Charter and they aren’t?  Do we all need to sign up together?
No, just one school can sign up to the Charter but any other schools involved must agree to deliver the same Award outcomes. This will allow teachers to deliver consistent and progressive lessons.

Is the School Swimming Charter just for primary schools?
Yes, as it has been designed specifically for children aged 7 to 11 years. However, the ASA we are developing a programme of support for secondary schools and this will be announced as soon as it is defined.

We hope that secondary schools will support the Charter by encouraging their feeder primary schools to sign up.

Our school is not in England/is an international school. What support can you provide to help us improve our school swimming?
Schools outside of England are welcome to sign up for the Charter. There may be an additional charge for postage of the resource pack which will be established after sign-up.

Can I speak to other schools who are already using the Charter before I sign up our school?
As the Charter is brand new, we are not able to offer this currently. We hope to be able to provide details of successful Charter schools at a later date.

Our school swimming is run by the local authority so how does the Charter help here?
This is exactly the situation where use of the Charter support and resources will provide a great amount of benefit to schools. We recommend that schools initiate discussions with their lesson providers to ‘Check’ the current swimming attainment figures, ‘Challenge’ the swimming provision and ‘Change’ where necessary and the resources we provide can help facilitate this.

Our local lesson provider controls all our school swimming and the school doesn’t tend to get very involved. Can they sign up to the Charter?
No, only schools themselves can sign up to the Charter, it is a direct relationship between the national governing body for swimming and primary schools. Schools need to be involved in school swimming, it is part of the national curriculum and they need to take ownership.

How does our school integrate our disabled and/or special needs students who take part in school swimming?
The Award structure in the Charter is fully inclusive and our resource materials support this and provide advice where necessary. We also provide a guidance booklet on the subject which can be downloaded here.

How many swimming teachers does our school need for our school swimming?
We provide a basic recommendation that there should be a maximum of 12 swimmers per qualified teacher. We provide a guidance booklet with full details on the ratios and many other aspects of school swimming which can be downloaded here.

How do we get our pupils involved and excited about school swimming?
The Charter is a really easy way to do this, we provide eight different badges and certificates to encourage pupils to work their way through the different levels of Award. Presentation of the Awards in assemblies and encouraging the pupils to keep their own individual School Swimming Passports updated with a sticker when they achieve each Award will go a long way to generating a lot of enthusiasm. We also provide a range of resources for use in the classroom to bring swimming to life including crosswords, word searches and other fun ideas for cross-curricular integration.

Some of our pupils really struggle with their swimming. What extra support is there for them?
If your class teachers attend the National Curriculum Training Programme, this will give them the necessary skills and expertise to be able to give extra support to those swimmers that need it. If swimmers are still struggling by the time they reach Year 6, schools can use their Sports Premium funding to pay for Top-Up swimming, which are specifically planned additional swimming lessons to help pupils to achieve the minimum national curriculum standard before they leave for secondary school. For more advice on use of the Sports Premium visit here.

How do I get information on School Swimathon?
Comprehensive information and school sign up details are available on the Swimathon Foundation website at www.schoolswimathon.org.

What is Top-Up swimming and who is it for?
Top-Up swimming is specifically planned additional swimming lessons to help pupils to achieve the minimum national curriculum standard before they leave for secondary school. Schools can use their Sports Premium funding to pay for it. For more advice on Top-Up Swimming and use of the Sports Premium download our guidance booklet here.

  • Click/tap to reveal or close FAQs about costs and funding

Is the School Swimming Charter an annual cost?
Yes, the annual cost per school is £50 + VAT.

Transport to the pool is sometimes an issue for our school. How can we look to cut costs?
Centralised organisation of transport within local authorities would be a good way to reduce cost and ease organisation.

Coach companies may have spare capacity during midweek days so can be hired at reasonable rates.  Schools could also look to share transport where possible or consider community buses. Shuttle runs can also help to reduce costs. E.g.

1. Take class 1 to the pool, drive back to school

2. Take class 2 to the pool, return class 1 to school

3. Take class 3 to the pool, return class 2 to school

Schools should not rely on parents to contribute financially to school swimming lesson transport as many parents already pay for additional swimming lesson provision after school to support the teaching process.

Can our school use the Sports Premium for school swimming?
Although the Sports Premium cannot be used directly on curriculum swimming, it can be used to help cover the cost of additional training for class teachers and providing additional benefits such as Top-Up swimming lessons. Specifically, the provision of Top-up or intensive swimming lessons for those pupils who are struggling to achieve the 25 metre target is an eligible programme for use of the Sports Premium.  It can also be used to pay for the cost of the Charter itself. For more details download our guidance booklet here.

Our school has already allocated the Sports Premium funding. Is there any other funding available?
One way of generating additional funds would be to use the Awards badges to create an additional revenue stream for the school.

Can we charge parents for school swimming?
You can ask parents for a voluntary contribution but no child should be denied the opportunity to learn to swim because of cost issues.

  • Click/tap to reveal or close FAQs about School Swimming Champions

How does our school let you know who our School Swimming Champion is?
If you didn’t enter their email address on the sign up form, simply email us at schoolcharter@swimming.org with the school name, the name of the School Swimming Champion and their email address.

I want to be a School Swimming Champion, how do I sign up?
You will need to be linked to a particular primary school, and they will provide your contact details to us as part of the sign up process.

What is the role of a School Swimming Champion and who should this be?
Ideally it will be an individual with an interest and/or some previous experience in swimming. This may be a particular class teacher, a teaching assistant or even a governor. It doesn’t necessarily matter who it is, they just need to be active and enthusiastic. For full information on the role please click here.

  • Click/tap to reveal or close FAQs about awards and resources

How does our school order new badges?
There are a number of options for schools, depending on whether individual Awards are needed or a package of a number of Awards together. The Awards and Resources catalogue gives full details of the packages and costs. You can request one by email.

How much do the badges cost?
They are provided as part of a package, either in a Booster Pack or as individual Awards. For a pack of 35 individual Awards which comprises badges, certificates and Passport stickers, the cost is £25 + VAT. The Awards and Resources catalogue gives full details of the packages and costs. You can request one by email.

Do schools need to charge for badges or not?
It is completely the school’s decision as to whether or not the cost of badges is passed on to parents.

How do we use the badges, certificates and stickers to best effect in our school?
Badges and certificates should be awarded in assemblies by the head teacher or the School Swimming Champion. This will have the result of generating enthusiasm and involvement in the pupils and give them something to aim towards. Stickers should be awarded to pupils either at the same time in assembly or by the class teacher or School Swimming Champion as and when they are achieved immediately after swimming lessons.

What resources does our school receive when we sign up to the Charter?
A comprehensive pack of both physical and digital resources are provided. A pack is posted out to the schools which consists of :

1.  School Swimming Charter document; a printed brochure which explains the Charter in detail

2. National Curriculum Resource Pack – a splash proof folder containing three comprehensive guidance booklets on delivering school swimming

3. Package of 140 badges and certificates covering Awards 1-4 (35 badges and 35 certificates per award), for awarding to pupils on successful completion of each set of outcomes

4. Waterproof Guidance Cards for teachers to use on poolside which explain and illustrate the outcomes for each Award

5. Seventy Passports for pupils to record their progress, which can be used to show parents how their swimming is developing and can be used when moving to a new school. The Passports include 35 stickers per Awards 1-4

6. Aquasplash Festival Pack for organising a primary school swimming competition, including a splash proof guidance booklet,  DVD and activity cards giving comprehensive details on how to run a competition framework

7. A resource bag used to store all of the physical resources.

An email is sent to the identified contact immediately at sign up which contains a link to the following digital resources:

1. Resources for school teachers to use in the class, including fun activities and cross-curricular ideas

2. Templates for use poolside to help deliver lessons and record pupil achievements

3. Templates for School Swimming Champions to use in communications with parents, swimming teachers and pool operators

4. Water safety presentation for pupils and Charter introduction presentation for use in assembly

5. Demonstration video clips including how to introduce a ‘games led’ approach to swimming lessons

6. School Swimming Parent Guide for web or email distribution

7. School Swimming stamp for school use on printed and online materials

How do the school swimming Awards link in with the ASA Learn to Swim Framework?
The Learn to Swim Framework is the structure of learn to swim lessons utilised in more than 1,000 swimming programmes nationwide, as well as overseas and has taught millions of children to learn to swim. The School Swimming Charter Awards are a specialised adaptation of Stage 4 of the Framework which means schools can be secure in the knowledge that their pupils are working towards clearly defined outcomes that are proven to be highly successful in teaching children to swim.

At which Stage would a child enter the 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 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 Learn to Swim Framework. To achieve any Stage all skills must be achieved.

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

School Swimming Charter Award achieved 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

What are the benefits of using Awards in our school?
Recognition of success is a very important part of an effective school swimming programme and enables both pupils and parents to see a tangible level of achievement. Pupils will want to strive to achieve the next Award and look forward to the celebration of their attainment in front of their peer group at school assemblies.

Can our school just buy the badges and certificates on their own?
Yes, there are a number of options for schools, depending on whether individual Awards are needed or a package of a number of Awards together. The Awards and Resources catalogue gives full details of the packages and costs. You can request one by email.

Can parents buy the badges and certificates?
Parents are not able to buy badges and certificates directly us, but they can purchase them from a participating Charter school.

How does our school get access to the electronic resources?
When the school signs up using the online form, a contact email address for a key contact, such as the head teacher, will need to be provided. An email with full instructions is then sent out to this address which provides direct links to the library of downloadable resources.

Do we have to use the School Swimming Passports?
We highly recommend that Passports are used by all pupils who participate in school swimming as they have a number of benefits. Pupils can use them to keep a record of their own personal achievements in school swimming and show their family and friends. It also provides a record which can be passed on if the pupil changes school and when they move on to secondary school.

Do I need to collect up the Passports at the end of Year 7, what do I do with them?
Yes, we recommend that they are all collected and passed on to the relevant secondary school as a package.

Can I order just Passports on their own?
Yes, Charter schools can access the Awards and Resources Catalogue.You can request one by email. A set of 35 Passports can be purchased for £6 + VAT. Stickers are provided with Booster Packs of Awards and individual packs of Awards.

If I have problems signing up to the Charter who do I contact?
Please email us at schoolcharter@swimming.org.

If I have problems ordering Awards and Resources who do I contact?
Please email us at schoolcharter@swimming.org.

  • Click/tap to reveal or close FAQs on teacher training

How does our school book teachers onto National Curriculum Training Programme (NCTP) courses?
Full details are provided in the Training section of the website here. If you have any queries please do email us at schoolswimming@swimming.org

How frequent are the NCTP courses?
From January 2015 the first four modules will be available to study online, so the frequency of courses will not be an issue. It will only be the final fifth module that will need to be completed as a face to face session.

How much do the NCTP courses cost?
They are £50 + VAT per candidate.

How do I find an NCTP course near me?
Email us at schoolswimming@swimming.org and we will contact you with course availability.

Why should we send our teachers on school swimming training as they had this when they did their teaching qualification?
Primary school teachers only receive six hours of instruction on PE as part of their teaching qualification. This covers all sports, not just swimming. The National Curriculum Training Programme provides all a school teacher needs to know about teaching swimming specifically. Find out more in the training section here.

Can I study for the NCTP online?
Yes, from January 2015 the first four modules of the NCTP will be available to study online at a time and pace suitable to candidates. The final fifth module will need to be completed as a face to face module including time in the pool.

Who do I contact if I have any problems with booking onto the NCTP?
Simply email us at schoolswimming@swimming.org and we can provide the necessary support and advice on booking procedures and course availability.


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