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Campaign launched to ensure all primary school children will learn how to swim

By Tom Walker    26 Oct 2018

The government has pledged extra support and improved guidance for primary schools in England as part of a drive to make sure all children are able to swim confidently.

The Department for Education – working together with DCMS and Swim England – has announced extra help for schools to make sure every child knows how to swim by the end of primary school. The initiative will receive funding from the £320m PE and Sport Premium.

"We want every child to be a confident swimmer by the time they leave primary school," said Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi.

"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."

The move comes after the publication of 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 the report's 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, added: "Since my competitive days I’ve been championing the need for all children to be taught swimming and water safety at primary school.

"Along with Swim England and the Swim Group, we have been working to raise awareness of the issues and provide support for all those involved in the delivery of curriculum swimming and water safety.

"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."

The additional support for swimming lessons is part of a drive to tackle childhood obesity, with more than £1bn invested in schools through the PE and Sport Premium to improve PE and sport since 2013.

Earlier, the education secretary announced a cross-government school sport and activity action plan that will consider ways to ensure all children have access to quality, protected PE and sport sessions during the school week – as well as opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day.

The action plan will be launched in spring 2019.

Primary schools in England will receive extra support and funding to help teach children swim
Department for Education  DCMS  Swim England  PE and Sport Premium. 
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