Free swimming lesson offer
Primary school children in the Chichester area are being offered a free swimming lesson in a bid to boost their water safety skills.
Alison Merrett, owner of Puddle Ducks Hampshire and West Sussex, has made the deal in response to recent research by the Swim Group, which is led by the national governing body for swimming, Swim England.
The aim of the report was to improve swimming and water safety in schools by exploring the challenges they face in delivering these lessons.
Olympic medallist Steve Parry, who chairs the Swim Group, said: “We know that over a thousand schools don’t teach swimming even though it is a statutory requirement. 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. We would welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ofsted in setting quality standards for curriculum swimming. That is the ‘silver bullet’ for ensuring schools deliver swimming.”
Alison was surprised to hear the study had found almost a third of year-six children leave for high school without being able to swim.
Alison said: “Here at Puddle Ducks, we actively encourage swimming from an early age as the water provides a supportive, fun and socially stimulating environment for babies and children to learn.
“We are always listening to our customers’ feedback and actively improving our swimming programmes in line with new research and guidance on swimming and child development, and have recently enhanced our Swim Academy programme, which teaches children aged from four to ten years old.
“We believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn to swim, so we’re inviting primary school aged children to enjoy a free Swim Academy lesson.”
The academy programme has a child-centred learning style, focusing on body position, alignment and head-down swimming.
Swim Academy classes are held at Great Ballard School in Eartham on Saturday mornings and St Anthony’s School in Chichester on Sunday mornings and Monday afternoon.
To book a free lesson, worth £14, call 07837 715937 or visit www.puddleducks.com/local-teams/hampshire-west-sussex