Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

How to spot good swimming lessons


Good swimming lessons are made up of five key elements that parents need to look out for. They will let you know whether your child is getting the right provision.

They are:

  1. The Swim England Learn to Swim Programme – this ensures your children are receiving the best possible instruction with qualified teachers. Learn more about the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme here.
  2. Qualified knowledgeable teachers – Swim England recommends no more than 12 learners to one teacher during a lesson. Often good swimming lessons are run with two teachers, one in the pool and one out of the pool. Ask about the Swim England qualifications your child’s teacher holds.
  3. The seven Learn to Swim Stages Awards – good swimming lessons will use the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme, including the seven Learn to Swim Stage Awards. Each stage carefully takes your child from learner to competent swimmer by Key Stage 2.
  4. Fun and games – a good swimming lesson will take a games-based approach. If it is not enjoyable your child is less likely to learn.
  5. Water skills and awareness – teachers should be aware of your child developing water skills such as buoyancy, and moving around in the water. They should also stress the need to understand swimming as fitness and a way to keep fit. Swimming for swimming’s sake does not make for good swimming lessons.

More information about good swimming lessons

As a parent you’ll want as much information as possible to ensure your swimming lessons provider is good. So, as well as the five elements here are a few more basic facts about good swimming lessons.

  1. Most lessons last around 30 minutes and children should be as active as possible throughout the lesson. All children should be having fun.
  2. Swimming strokes should be introduced gradually once your child has acquired the basic skills. These should not be introduced immediately.
  3. Under no circumstances should teachers force children into activities. Children have to understand why they are doing it to be able to consistently carry out the skill.