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Big School Swim shows transferable skills from pool to classroom are 'invaluable'

Swim England News

With thousands of schools and pupils across the country taking part in the Big School Swim 2019, Swim England visited some local schools to find out how they are celebrating the popular initiative.

The Big School Swim aims to help schools and lesson providers reinforce why it’s so important that swimming takes place in PE lessons – and how to make those lessons fun and enjoyable.

Sarah Gibson-Barlow, Head of Swimming at The Elms Lower School, in Derbyshire, said that the skills from the pool are ‘invaluable’ in supporting the skills needed in the classroom.

“The session went really well, it was really good fun and the children enjoyed it and made lots of progress and it was just a really positive session.

“It was different to what we would normally do, normally that group are very much working on technique and skill as they’re our high end swimmers.

“So for the children to be able to have a go at doing some games and still being able to develop their core aquatic skills and fundamental movement skills as well as their strokes was a really good thing.

“From a teaching perspective, it was really enjoyable. I very much like the approach of teaching with fun and games anyway and it was nice to be able to bring that to our squad swimmers as well.

“They were definitely more excited than normal because they really enjoyed the session.

“It’s such a good initiative. It’s the only sport that can save your life, so I think it’s really important for lots of schools to take part in the Big School Swim.

“There’s lots of transferable skills that they use within the pool. For example, in the activity where they were collecting the balls they were working as a group, they were thinking about strategies to be able to win and get the most balls, they were counting.

“It is invaluable to the skills that they need for the classroom.”

Two young swimmers from The Elms who took part in the Big School Swim session – Jack, age 9, and Daisy, age 10 – explained why they can’t wait to do it again.

Daisy said: “I really enjoyed it because it was really fun and really exciting.

“I also really enjoyed the noodle part where we had to sit on it and paddle to try and get to the other side and I really enjoyed the ball one.

“We haven’t done this before but we’ll ask our teachers if we can do it again.”

Big School Swim ball game

Jack said: “I think it was fabulous and I liked playing with the plastic balls.

“It was more exciting than usual, we normally just do practising strokes and all that but today we did more fun and games.”

Hannah Fuller, a teacher at Springfield Primary School, in Derbyshire, said: “I think the children really enjoyed it.

“It’s been really lovely to see them get in the pool and have fun and enjoy it and just enjoy being in the water, having no expectations other than engaging in some games and having fun.”

Health and wellbeing benefits

Alex Barrett, a Swim England Learn to Swim manager, said: “I think the Big School Swim is a fantastic initiative and every year it’s growing and growing.

“We know how important school swimming is because for some children it’s the only time they get an opportunity to participate in school swimming.

“But not only do we want to showcase how fun swimming can be – which is what we’re doing through the Big School Swim – but also that it can be really positive for their health and wellbeing and really get that message across both to the schools and learners.

“You can also see a difference in the teachers when they’re delivering these sessions because it’s really fun.

“I’m a teacher as well and I know I’d rather deliver something fun and engaging and I think that’s the same for the school teachers so again I think the feedback has been really good.”

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