I remember when I attended primary, middle and secondary schools where swimming was firmly on the agenda and you had to have a pretty good excuse if you did not want to take part. So imagine my astonishment when I learnt that these days, not only is it not offered to all children at primary age, but around 200,000 children will leave primary school without knowing how to swim. That is an amazing figure of 2 million non swimmers over the next ten years. Justifiably so, some people are not happy with this situation and want to do something to rectify it, namely well-known breakfast brand Kelloggs and Olympic swimmer Hannah Miley, who is the World Silver Medalist and European and Commonwealth Champion swimmer. She has a special message to all parents and guardians of children which you can read here:
“I wanted to take time out of my training to let you know about a campaign I’m supporting to highlight the importance of learning to swim. Kellogg’s has been working in partnership with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) for more than fifteen years, helping millions of children learn to swim. However, new research has revealed that one in three children are leaving primary school unable to swim 25 metres, which is the National Curriculum standard for swimming. Learning to swim means far more than just improving your health and having fun in the pool, it can also mean the difference between life and death. Swimming is the only sport that saves lives but the subject is being overlooked by too many schools, which is shocking when you consider the fact that drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death of children in England. The ASA and Kellogg’s are going to meet MPs in Westminster to gain Government support in making school swimming lessons a priority. Kellogg’s will also provide funding to help schools increase the number of children learning to swim.”
Hannah goes on to suggest the simple ways in which you can ensure your child is safe around water. You should know what your child’s swimming ability is at all times. Would you be confident that your child would be safe in the water and able to swim to safety if in danger? If you do not think this is the case you can always take your child to your local swimming baths and get extra lessons with a professional. If your child cannot swim then enrol them as soon as possible in swimming lessons, as although primary schools are required to ensure that your child has the opportunity to learn to swim by the age of 11, parents can still supplement school swimming with lessons to ensure that their child becomes competent and confident in the water. If it is you that cannot swim then get water friendly by learning. Apparently, one in seven parents don’t take their children swimming because they can’t swim. If this is you, then why not learn or take adult improver lessons to get more confident? Swimming is great way to get active and spend time as an entire family so why not take the plunge?