Saara plans to teach swimming to help her community whilst studying

Saara, 16, from Leicester, completed her SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) qualification earlier this year, following in the footsteps of her brother, Abu Bakr.  Here, we’ll learn how she plans to benefit from working in aquatics, and what her mum, Sabreena, feels about her children becoming swimming teachers.

Saara asssitantSaara says:

“I was inspired by Abu Bakr to undertake the training, as I have seen how much he has enjoyed being a part-time swimming teacher whilst studying for his A Levels and his degree. I thought if he can do it, why can’t I?


“I completed my Level 1 in February 2024. It was a blended course, meaning I had both online learning and practical sessions at the pool.  I am sitting my GCSE’s this summer, but the training in February, didn’t impact my school studies as the in-person sessions were at the weekend and the online live webinars with our tutor were complimented by homework that I could complete around my own schedule. The training included duties of a Swimming Assistant, teaching swimming fundamentals, stroke components, scientific principles, lesson planning, equipment use, communication skills, anxiety recognition in pupils and motivational techniques.


“The training was really comprehensive and although I was nervous at my first practical session, I soon got over my worries, as the tutor was very reassuring and we could ask lots of questions.


“I had swimming lessons as a child and really enjoyed them. I made lots of friends at the pool and would meet up away from our lessons.  My mum was always very keen for me and my siblings to learn to swim as there are lots of people in our community, especially girls, who never learn to swim.


“When it came to our National Curriculum lessons at school, it was surprising how few children from my Muslim community could swim.  This is sad and I am keen to be a role model for our community as I understand how self-conscious some girls and women might feel at the pool. I want to encourage other Muslim children to swim, as swimming is so good for your overall wellbeing.


“Once I complete my GSCE’s I plan to start teaching in the summer holidays, and will go on to get my Level 2 Swimming Teaching Qualification when I’m in the sixth form. One of the good things about teaching swimming is, although you have a lot of responsibility, it’s not a job you ‘take home’ with you, so it allows headspace for your studies.”


Sabreena, Saara’s mother says:

“I am not a good swimmer and I didn’t want my own children to be scared of water like I am. I also didn’t want them to miss out on the fun opportunities of being in water so it was very important to me that I put myself out of my comfort zone to get my children swimming. I’m so proud of how their swimming progressed, and I think it’s great that both my son, Abu Bakr, and my daughter, Saara, have turned their hobby into a part-time job.  Learning to swim has given them the opportunity to work in aquatics.


“My son tells me that teaching swimming is a serious job. as you need to have discipline and control in the class to keep everyone safe.  But he loves how the job is different every day and how you overcome situations, and he will constantly make modifications for pupils with special educational needs and language or anxiety issues.


“I prefer my children to work as swimming teachers rather than in retail as it’s a safer environment where they can be respected. Plus, there is a continuation of their learning through the swimming teacher levels, CPD’s, as well as learning skills such as CPR. I am always telling my kids that we never stop learning and that is true of swimming.


“I have noticed how my children, especially my son, who is currently studying for his veterinary degree, have gained independence and confidence through teaching swimming. My son still teaches at the weekend and he feels as if he is contributing to society. Plus he gets to meet lots of people outside of our community.


“I’m really pleased that Saara is following in her brother’s footsteps, and I hope that she is always treated with respect wherever she works.  I will probably worry more about Saara, as Muslim girls and women tend to have more to overcome in terms of barriers to swimming, for example they are more visible due to their modest swimming clothes and might stand out more as ‘different’, but I am reassured that she will be teaching at a pool in the heart of our community. I’m looking forward to seeing her mature and become more confident through her part-time job, which will also give her more financial autonomy.”

Find out how to become a swimming teacher.