Working in partnership with Swim England, the Department for Education and Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport have today (Thursday 25 October) announced extra help for schools to make sure every child knows how to swim and be safe in and around water by the end of primary school, supported by the £320 million PE and Sport Premium. Gov.uk reports.
To coincide with the announcement, Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi and Sports Minister Tracey Crouch have also backed a pledge by Swim England – signed by the likes of British Olympic swimmer Steve Parry – calling on teachers and parents to do all they can to ensure children are taught swimming and water safety at primary school.
The extra support will help deliver the government’s sport strategy ‘Sporting Future’, which committed to ensuring that every child leaves primary school able to swim. It includes:
- using the PE and Sport Premium for extra lessons for children who have not yet met the national curriculum expectation after core swimming lessons, and extra training for teachers on water safety and swimming techniques through courses provided by Swim England;
- extra guidance, provided by Swim England, will be available to help schools deliver safe, fun and effective swimming lessons; and
- a drive to boost partnerships with independent schools to offer the use of facilities, coaching and other forms of support to schools in their area.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said, “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.”
The measures announced today follow a government-backed review of swimming and water safety in primary schools, which found that swimming standards vary in schools, despite being compulsory on the national curriculum. Following its recommendations, the government is working with Swim England to provide extra guidance to help schools deliver safe, fun and effective swimming lessons.
Steve Parry, Olympic bronze medallist and Chair of the Swimming and Water Safety Review Group, said “Ensuring our children are able to enjoy the water safely is everyone’s responsibility. That is why it’s great to hear the government is raising awareness of the issue and pledging its support. We want everyone – schools, parents, lesson providers, decision makers – to do likewise and pledge to support schools to achieve our joint vision of every child having a full knowledge about water safety and learning how to swim by the time they leave primary school.”
Today’s announcement is part of a drive to tackle childhood obesity and help children to lead healthy, active lives, with more than £1 billion invested in schools through the PE and Sport Premium to improve PE and sport since 2013.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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