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Practical barriers 'preventing schools from offering swimming lessons'

07/08/2017 Joanna

Many UK schools are finding their efforts to provide swimming lessons for students confounded by practical barriers and logistical difficulties.

This is according to a new survey of more than 1,000 teachers conducted by TES, which revealed that only around one-quarter of those polled said their school was able to organise swimming lessons without experiencing any organisational obstacles.

By contrast, the cost of transport was cited as an barrier by 31 per cent of respondents, while 27 per cent said curriculum pressure made it difficult to provide swimming classes and 17 per cent were frustrated by the cost of pool hire.

This last point is likely to be a widespread issue, as 72 per cent access public swimming facilities, rather than being able to provide their own pool, with the average distance travelled to reach these facilities being 2.8 miles.

The survey was conducted in response to a recent report from the Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety Review Group at Swim England, which revealed that 31 per cent of Year 6 pupils will finish school for the summer without being able to swim and lacking basic water safety skills.

It called for the government to support a national campaign on school swimming and water safety, while also providing intensive swimming lessons and exploring the use of mobile pools or safe outdoor swimming opportunities for school pupils.

Commenting on the release of the original report, Swim England chair Steve Parry said: "At the moment, we are failing our children by not helping them learn an essential skill. Hundreds of people drown every year and that is something we can remedy.

"Water safety is the only part of the national curriculum that will save children's lives; it can't be treated as an optional extra."

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