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Swimming: Primary Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL400, tabled on 19 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many primary school children have not been able to swim the statutory 25 metres in the 2019/20 academic year and what is their projection for this figure in 2020/2021.

Answered on

2 June 2021

The department does not collect data from schools on how many pupils are able to swim 25 metres, but data from Sport England’s annual Active Lives Children Survey provides the government with a national picture. Data for the 2019-20 academic year shows that 77% of children in year 7 report they can swim 25 metres.

The physical education (PE) and sport premium can be used by primary schools to support swimming and water safety, for example, through ‘top-up’ lessons or additional teaching training. The department provides schools with the flexibility to decide how to spend their premium in line with the conditions of the grant and do not collect data on the proportion or the amount of spend for any given activity.

In addition to the PE and sport premium, schools are able to access new virtual water safety lessons from Oak National Academy and the department will be supporting the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week in June 2021. The department has provided an additional £10.1 million to improve the use of school sport facilities, including swimming pools. New resources to support children with special educational needs and disabilities to swim and knowing how to be safe in and around the water have been developed through the department’s Inclusion 2020 grant, which is led by the Youth Sport Trust. These resources are available on Swim England’s inclusion hub.