Swim England

A nation swimming

Kirk Ella St Andrew's Community named Primary School of the Year

Kirk Ella St Andrew’s Community Primary School were named Primary School of the Year at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2019.

The East Yorkshire-based school, which was highlighted as ‘an example of good practice regionally and nationally’, has been recognised for transforming its swimming provision.

Since signing up to Swim England’s School Swimming and Water Safety Charter, St Andrew’s attainment levels have reached 100 per cent, helping them achieve Key Stage 2 requirements for the first time.

Ian Wood, the schools PE Coordinator, said: “It’s amazing, because there are so many schools around the country that to a brilliant job and to be singled out is fantastic.

“It’s about the moments when the kids realise why they’re doing it and the little things that make it relevant to their lives.”

The school trained five members of staff to become swimming teachers and worked closely with local providers to change the expectations and content of their lessons.

“We can have staff in the water getting the less confident swimmers and at the other end, we were fed up with the more able swimmers going along and not learning anything new,” Ian added.

“So they now focus on water polo, synchronised swimmers, competitive starts, and they’re getting things out of it that they wouldn’t get anywhere else.

“They’re coming out of it feeling stretched, feeling pushed as well.”

Kirk Ella’s fresh approach has reaped significant rewards, including a life-changing experience for one pupil recently.

“We had a student who had a childhood experience that was very traumatic and it knocked his confidence – he wouldn’t even get his head wet at all beforehand.

“Last week, I was working one-to-one with him and in the space of 10 minutes he let go and swam on his back.

“He realised he could float wherever he was on the pool, went on his front and started swimming.

“There was no stopping him in that lesson. In 45 minutes, he went from non-swimmer to swimmer.

“He had the skills, he just had to realise he could do it.”

Furze Platt Junior School collected the runner-up trophy after overcoming financial difficulties to continue providing swimming opportunities for their pupils.

The Berkshire school, which was recognised by Offsted as ‘outstanding’, has partnered with a local private school and Let’s Dive in! to offer 11 weeks of swimming lessons for Year 3 students during the summer term.

After Furze Platt signed up to the School Swimming and Water Safety Charter earlier this year, 20 pupils who weren’t able to swim now can.