Swim England

A nation swimming

Drive to ensure all primary school children learn how to swim welcomed

A Government drive to ensure all children can swim by the time they leave primary school has been welcomed by Swim England and the Swim Group.

The Department for Education and Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport today announced more swimming lessons, extra teaching and improved guidance, supported by the £320 million PE and Sport Premium.

It comes as Swim England and the Swim Group launched a Swimming Safety Pledge campaign encouraging people to do all they can to ensure children are taught swimming and water safety at primary school.

The measures announced follow a Government-backed review of swimming and water safety in primary schools which found that standards vary, despite it being compulsory on the national curriculum.

The package of support includes:

  • using the PE and Sport Premium for extra lessons for children who do not meet the national curriculum requirement by the time they leave primary school and extra training for teachers on swimming techniques through courses provided by Swim England
  • extra guidance, provided by Swim England, to help schools deliver safe, fun and effective swimming lessons
  • a drive to boost partnerships with independent schools to offer the use of pools and other facilities to schools in their area; and
  • offering more access to swimming competitions and festivals.

Integral part of national curriculum

Jane Nickerson, Swim England’s CEO and chairperson of the Swim Group, said: “Swim England believes that swimming and water safety provision in schools is immensely important which is why we have been championing this for many, many years.

“It is an integral part of the national curriculum. However, we know that not all schools are able to deliver this and far too many children are leaving primary school unable to swim and not being safe in the water.

“We really welcome the Government’s commitment to supporting primary schools and look forward to seeing the impact as every child leaves primary school able to swim and is safe in and around the water.”

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Swimming is great fun and helps children to stay fit and healthy. But swimming at school also teaches children vital skills on how to stay safe in and around water.

“We want every child to be a confident swimmer by the time they leave primary school. By funding extra lessons for the pupils that need it most, providing extra training for our teachers and working with our independent schools to offer access to their pools and expertise, we can help children stay safe and learn to love swimming.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “Swimming is a vital life skill that is proven to boost both physical and mental wellbeing.

“We are committed to ensuring that every child who leaves primary school is able to swim. This plan will support schools and the sport sector to get more children swimming confidently and learn water safety.”

  • For more information on the Swimming Safety Pledge, and to download social media resources to support the campaign, click here.
  • To read the full announcement from the Government, click here