Swim England

A nation swimming

Improving curriculum swimming and water safety

In December 2015, the Government published its sports strategy Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation.

Within the strategy it was noted that learning to swim is an important life-skill for children. It stated concerns that too many children were leaving primary school unable to swim.

As a result the Government tasked the Swim Group to submit an independent report setting out recommendations for improving curriculum swimming .

The Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety Review Group

This Group included representatives from across the education, sport and leisure sectors. It also included a technical group of frontline expert deliverers.

Under the chairmanship of Olympic medallist and life-long swimming champion Steve Parry, the Group considered the challenges of improving curriculum swimming.

The final report was submitted to Government in spring 2017. It focused on six key areas and made 16 practical recommendations on improving curriculum swimming in primary schools.

The report focused on six key areas:

  • Ensuring all children meet the national curriculum requirements
  • Ensuring the national curriculum requirements are fit-for-purpose
  • Ensuring quality swimming tuition
  • Ensuring effective monitoring and evaluation
  • Ensuring access to facilities
  • Ensuring good communication about Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety

Next steps

The report was well received by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Education (DfE).

In response to the report, the government set up an implementation group to take a number of the recommendations forward.

Since then, the Minister for Education has thrown his weight behind the Swim Group’s Swimming Safety Pledge and called for Independent Schools to open up their facilities to local primary schools.

In addition, new guidance on the PE and Sport Premium has been released to help schools understand how they can use this funding to support their swimming and water safety sessions. There is also a requirement to show the percentage of pupils in Year 6 who meet the minimum national curriculum standards.