More than a million primary schoolchildren unable to swim, says major survey


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The Independent Online

More than a million primary schoolchildren are unable to swim, says a major survey out today.

A report by swimming’s governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association, shows that 51 per cent of seven to 11-year-olds are unable to swim the length of a typical pool (5 metres).

In addition, only two per cent of primary schools reach the Government’s target of providing 22 hours of swimming lessons a year.  The average is just eight.

Worryingly, safety campaigners warn, many parents do not know whether their children have learnt to swim when they take them on holiday. David Walker, leisure safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “In our work with bereaved parents and coroners, RoSPA hears all too often how parents believed their children could swim, only to find out their abilities were little more than being able to float and doggy paddle.”

ASA is urging all primary schools to use £9,000 of ring-fenced funding for sport and p.e that they will receive from the Government in September to improve swimming provision.