Swim England

A nation swimming

Pupils set to make a splash during Big School Swim

It’s back – and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever before.

Swim England’s Big School Swim takes place from 12-16 November and is being held over five days rather than one for the first time to give even more youngsters and schools the opportunity to celebrate school swimming and water safety.

Last year, more than 7,000 pupils from 215 schools took part in the event at swimming pools across the country.

But with more than 370 primary schools and 185 swims schools, swimming teachers and pools already signed up for this year’s Big School Swim, it’s hoped more than 12,000 youngsters will be taking part.

John Hatchett is the Sports Development Manager at Medway Sport Academy in Kent. A facilities and sports development team run by Medway Council, they took part in last year’s Big School Swim and have also signed up to the 2018 event.

He said: “We believe we have a social responsibility to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to learn vital water safety skills and to be safe in the water.

“The Big School Swim provides the perfect platform to engage youngsters and their teachers, through their normal school swimming programme. Many of these pupils aren’t fortunate enough to have lessons outside of school, therefore these water safety sessions are fully inclusive.

“As an organisation, we love how easy the campaign is to support with many resources readily available such as posters, digital assets, lesson plans and activity sheets.

“We have more than 2,000 students currently on our Learn to Swim school lesson programme across four sports centres and the majority of these took part in 2017 and will again in 2018.”

Perfect opportunity to learn water safety messages

Fairview Primary School uses Medway Park once a week for curriculum swimming lessons.

Kerry Searle, specialist PE teacher, said: “The Big School Swim gives a fun and informative variety to our usual lesson programme. The children are really enthusiastic to learn and come away from the sessions feeling empowered with their new skills.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see complete beginners and non-swimmers growing their water confidence in such a short space of time.

“Last year, every child was presented with their certificates in school assembly and were very proud of their achievement.

“The certificates provide the opportunity for parents to engage in the activity and understand what their children have been doing within their lessons. A few of the parents thanked us for teaching their child the importance of being safe in the water.”

Katie Towner, Swim England’s Head of Learn to Swim, said: “We’re delighted so many schools and youngsters enjoyed taking part in the Big School Swim last year – and that even more are engaging with this year’s week-long event.

“It is the perfect opportunity to learn important water safety messages while having fun through a variety of games and activities.

“We hope everyone taking part this year has a fantastic time in the pool and we’re looking forward to seeing schools sharing their stories on social media using #BigSchoolSwim.”

Share your Big School Swim stories using #BigSchoolSwim and tag in @SwimEngland on Facebook or @Swim_England on Twitter.