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Why Is It Vital Our Children Learn To Swim?

It is Drowning Prevention Week from the 19th to 26th June, so this gives us the perfect opportunity to take a look at the swimming aspect of the National Curriculum – an often neglected section!

Shockingly, accidental drowning causes an average of 402 deaths every year, with 55% of parents admitting that they wouldn’t be confident their child would know what to do if their child fell into open water. There’s also a huge disparity of swimming competence between different ethnic backgrounds. For example, 80% of children who are Black do not swim. With over 60% of accidental drownings taking place in inland water, it is absolutely crucial we teach our children to swim. 

With this in mind, despite swimming lessons being postponed for this year, Drowning Prevention Week could be the opportunity to discuss some important aspects of behaving safely around water. You can download a plethora of free resources from the Royal Life Saving Society, here

The next academic year is going to require a heavy focus on swimming, following on from the gaps left due to the pandemic, So let’s have a look at what is actually in the curriculum:

  • Pupils should be taught to swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres. 
  • Pupils should use a range of strokes effectively (for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke). 
  • Pupils should perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations. 

How you carry out swimming lessons in your school is up to you, but remember to teach all the above skills, and to report on the proficiency of your Year 6 pupils in your Sport Premium report!

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