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Swim England welcomes ‘important’ investment to help open up school pools

Swim England has welcomed the Government’s pledge to invest £10 million to support school sports and swimming facilities in England.

The cash, which will be distributed by Sport England and their county level networks, Active Partnerships, will build on existing funding to help schools open their facilities outside of school hours, and encourage pupils to be more physically active.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “This investment is most welcome.

“With schools owning more than 1,300 swimming pools up and down the country, we have consistently engaged with the Department for Education on the benefits of opening as many of them up as possible outside of school hours.

“This has never been more important with the enforced closure of hundreds of community pools due to Covid-19.

“Opening up school pools outside of school hours can also help some of those pupils who have missed out on school swimming lessons due to Covid-19 to catch up, to ensure that they are leaving primary school able to meet the swimming and water safety curriculum requirements.”

Schools in disadvantaged areas, or areas with high inactivity among children, will be given the opportunity to bid for funding.

Removing barriers

The investment can also support schools with opening in a Covid-secure manner, such as with additional signage, touch-free entry and cleaning equipment.

The funding can also support facilities to improve accessibility, especially for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This could include buying adaptive sports equipment or wheelchair-accessible equipment.

Jane added: “It’s crucial that barriers to participating in swimming, and any physical activity, are removed.

“Therefore it is pleasing to see the fund considering accessibility issues to make sure that school facilities are as inclusive as possible.”

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