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Swimming: Children

Question for Department for Education

UIN 3998, tabled on 19 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of Swim England’s recent findings that a quarter of a million children are unable to swim the length of a standard swimming pool on water safety risks on rivers and lakes over the summer period.

Answered on

26 May 2021

Water safety is a vital life skill, which is why it is a mandatory part of the curriculum for Physical Education at primary school. The Department has discussed the ‘Impact of Coronavirus on school swimming and water safety’ report with Swim England. We recognise that children have missed out on opportunities to learn to swim due to COVID-19 restrictions and we are working closely with Swim England and other swimming and water safety organisations to support pupils returning safely to swimming and promoting water safety education.

This includes an additional £10.1 million to improve use of school sport facilities, including swimming pools. Water safety education is a priority for the summer period to enable children to know how to be safe and in around water. This is why the Department has made new virtual water safety lessons available through Oak National Academy and will support the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week 2021.