Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

Your child's swimming lesson progress


Swimming lesson progress and how quickly children collect Swim England Learn to Swim badges and certificates can differ from centre to centre.

However, children should not spend longer than 12 months gaining a certificate. In fact, we recommend that your child should receive at least three Awards a year.

The Swim England Learn to Swim Programme advocates minimum standards for the delivery of learn to swim lessons and there is a clear set of outcomes of what your child needs to achieve at each Award.

To find the objectives that need to be met to gain each Swim England Award click on the relevant certificate in our Swim England Awards section here.

Having said this many lesson providers offer slight variations, such as adding in one or two additional outcomes to help keep swimmers moving or complementary awards.

Parents need to be aware of any additional expectations. Lesson providers should share any additional outcomes before you enrol on the programme. This should always be the case.

Concerns about swimming lesson progress

Parents ask us a lot of questions about swimming lesson progress. Here are a few of the most popular ones we receive.

My child’s making little progress, what can I do?

  • Some children become stuck on a particular skill and cannot fully complete the stage. When this happens teachers will have an idea of how to move things on. Speak to your child’s teacher to see if there is anything you can do in family swimming time that will help. Lots of centres also offer support through summer holiday crash courses, 1-2-1’s and outcome-focused tutorials to help swimmers progress.

Why can’t my child swim without a float despite months of lessons?

  • Your child should have the opportunity to remove floatation equipment during each swimming lesson to avoid dependence on them and to be able to develop the core swimming skills. We recommend speaking to the swimming teacher about this and look to move your child out of using floatation equipment in the coming months if appropriate.

Should I complain if I am not happy about my child’s swimming lesson progress?

  • Yes, they are providing a service that you are paying for. Be constructive in your comments and try to pinpoint what you are unhappy with. Once you have identified the issues ask to speak to the swimming co-ordinator and discuss possible solutions.