Campaigners are urging Ofsted to be more ruthless in their assessment and reporting of school swimming, after figures reveal that almost half of primary school children are unable to swim 25 metres – denying them of crucial life-saving skills.
Under the national curriculum, schools are required to teach pupils to swim confidently over a distance of at least 25 metres, use a range of strokes effectively and know how to safely rescue themselves if they get into difficulties. But the latest annual School Swimming Census from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) found that 45 per cent of children aged between seven and 11-yearsold are unable to swim the length of an average sized pool without aids. Some 1,300 of schools do not teach swimming in Key Stage 2, despite drowning being the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK.
Budgetary issues, the loss of pools in schools and logistical problems are among the barriers cited by schools to teaching pupils to swim.
Acting CEO of the ASA, Ashley Beaveridge said: “We are asking those in central and local government to continue to support the only sport that saves lives by supporting calls for Ofsted to be more robust in their assessments and encourage their local primary schools to sign up to the School Swimming Charter.”