Swim England has joined three of the biggest names in the sport and leading aquatic organisations in pledging its support for a major campaign to ensure all children who leave primary school by 2025 are able to swim. The Swim United campaign has been launched by swimwear brand Speedo alongside Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty, Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds and international swimmer Michael Gunning.
Along with Swim England, the Black Swimming Association and Active Black Country, they aim to highlight the growing issue of more and more children missing out on swimming lessons at school. Swim England research shows that one in four youngsters currently leave primary school unable to swim 25m or self-rescue -– despite swimming and water safety being part of the National Curriculum. It is feared that figure could rise to as high as six in 10 by 2025 unless there is urgent intervention from the Government. Speedo Swim United is now calling on the public to sign a petition calling on the Government to provide ring-fenced funding to schools to ensure they provide swimming lessons.
Peaty said: “Swimming is a fundamental life skill and to hear that one in four children leave primary school without being able to swim is a truly shocking statistic which highlights the urgency needed to tackle this rapidly-growing issue which needs long-term, systemic change. “We have just seen the greatest ever performance from a Team GB swimming squad at the Olympics, but it means nothing if we are not using that momentum to help inspire the next generation of swimmers.
“However, if kids aren’t being given the access to swimming lessons at school then they could potentially be left behind. “This isn’t just about sport or meeting curriculum requirements – it’s about physical and mental health and, most importantly, saving lives and safeguarding our children. “We need the Government to support campaigns and initiatives such as Speedo Swim United if we are to give ourselves the best chance of success in the future.” Children unable to swim are most likely to come from low income, Black and Asian backgrounds – and Simmonds said she was excited to be a part of the campaign to help break down the barriers that prevent youngsters from learning to swim.
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