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Swim England publishes Returning to the Pool Guidance for School Swimming

Swim England has published new guidance for school swimming lessons as pupils prepare to return to classrooms across the country.

Swimming and water safety lessons are a compulsory part of the national curriculum yet around one in five children leave primary school unable to swim.

The 29-page Returning to the Pool Guidance for School Swimming has been developed by Swim England in cooperation with industry partners, including local authorities, leisure operators, the Department for Education and the Association for Physical Education (AfPE).

It shows how swimming lessons can be held safely and gives teachers the necessary information on booking the swim plus what to do before leaving the school, on arrival at the pool and in the water itself.

Highlighted in the guidance are the continued requirements for social distancing and enhanced hygiene regimes, along with guidelines on how this will impact on the different experience the pool user will have.

Katie Towner, Swim England Head of Learn to Swim, said: “For many children, particularly those living in more deprived areas, school may be the only opportunity they have to learn how to swim and be safe in and around the water.

“It is therefore incredibly important that children do not miss out on school swimming and water safety lessons as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a real concern that many schools might use the outbreak as justification for not staging swimming lessons but our guidance shows they can be safely held.

Key points in guidance

“Pupils should continue to have the opportunity to learn this vital life skill and discover the amazing physical and mental health benefits being in the water can provide.”

Key points in the school swimming guidance include:

  • When delivering swimming lessons, swimming teachers that are external to a school bubble should adhere to Government guidance on social distancing
  • School teachers and teaching assistants that are internal to the bubble can mirror the same procedures through swimming lessons as they do in the classroom
  • Teachers should deliver from poolside
  • Providers of school swimming should review available pool space to allow for correct social distancing, including entry and exit points
  • All equipment should be sanitised before and after each activity

Katie added: “We understand that a high degree of cooperation and coordination needs to exist between all those involved in planning and teaching school swimming lessons – more so in the current climate.

“Dialogue should be ongoing and two way so that everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities and knows what is expected of them throughout the visit to the pool.

“The guidance covers all the necessary information to make this possible.”

The School Swimming guidance is one of seven documents published by Swim England for a safe return to the pool.

If you have any questions relating to the guidance, please email [email protected].