Swim England

A nation swimming

‘Fantastic and remarkable journey’ of making school swimming fully inclusive

An exciting initiative to increase and improve opportunities for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to participate in school swimming and water safety lessons has been hailed as a success.

As part of National Inclusion Week, Lorna Goldie, Swim England’s school swimming and water safety development officer, provides an update on Inclusion 2024.

Fostering inclusive school swimming and water safety provision to help pupils with SEND access a vital life skill has been a fantastic and remarkable journey.

We have made significant strides in the second year of Inclusion 2024 with 16 lead schools playing a pivotal role in helping us achieve our ambitious objectives.

Inclusion 2024 is a project inspired by the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and funded by the Department for Education.

The Youth Sport Trust leads the initiative and Swim England, along with other high-profile organisations such as the Activity Alliance, the British Paralympic Association and the National Association of Special Educational Needs, are all part of the steering group.

Inclusive environments

Our role is to provide tools and resources that will help schools, lesson providers and pool operators ensure their swimming programmes are fully inclusive.

This work is extremely important to ensure that all students, regardless of their abilities, can participate in aquatic activity.

In year two of Inclusion 2024, we have seen more than 1,000 educators and swimming teachers receive training and development to support pupils with SEND with school swimming.

This has significantly enhanced teachers’ confidence and knowledge in delivering a fun, engaging and captivating school swimming and water safety programme.

The 16 lead inclusion schools have actively assisted a minimum of one local school in addressing the challenges of providing effective swimming and water safety education for SEND pupils.

They have shared best practices, collaborated with various stakeholders and produced resources to improve the inclusivity of school swimming to ensure pupils have a positive experience.

Lead Inclusion schools have also created welcoming and inclusive environments that encourage families to support their children’s engagement in school swimming and water safety by providing out of school delivery at weekends. 

Plenty of positives

This approach has not only positively impacted the participating families but also contributed to the community’s wellbeing.

So, there are plenty of positives from the 2022-23 academic year – but the hard work doesn’t end there.

Testing and collaboration has been done with the lead inclusion schools to produce a fully-inclusive water safety animation which will be freely available for all schools and pupils during 2024.

This will add to the comprehensive range of resources which are already available on the Swim England School Swimming and Water Safety Charter. To register for the Charter, please click here.

We are very proud that the resources generated through the collaborative work of Inclusion 2024 will continue to support the inclusive delivery of water safety knowledge for many years to come.

To find out more about Inclusion 2024 – and download the resources and access information about training – please click here.