What lesson could be more important than one which could save your life?
The report released last year by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), which revealed that one in three children can’t swim when leaving primary school, was simply startling. Contrary to National Curriculum targets, which state that by the age of 11”pupils should be taught to swim unaided for a distance of at least 25 metres”, the ASA’s findings exposed a large gap in what we believe is a core life skill for all children to learn.
From the second week in Reception, pupils at Cheadle Hulme School enjoy a swimming lesson every week until they leave the Junior School:
The health benefits of swimming are obvious; a form of cardiovascular exercise which trains the whole body, can be enjoyed alone or with friends and reduces the risk heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Regular swimming is a guaranteed aid in keeping weight under control, promoting a healthy lifestyle and attitude.
Drowning causes more than 400 deaths in the UK each year and is one of the highest causes of death in children. Swimming not only saves your own life but gives you the power to help save others’.
Swimming is fun because you learn a lot and when there are galas everyone can take part – Zach
Introducing competition at an early age develops confidence, motivation and leadership in young people, as well as allowing the opportunity for mistakes to be made and learned from. Both in fun, inter-house competitions and external galas against other schools, pupils cultivate those “invisible skills” which aren’t to be found on the standard curriculum, helping them to mature into fine young adults.
We can not underestimate the enjoyment gained from swimming, at whatever age you take part. Why else would our staff stay longer at School in the evenings to do a few lengths, or our Reception pupils beam as they walk across the site to the pool? For those who have never dipped their toe in the water before, our dedicated team of professional swimming coaches help them take small strokes and before long those pupils are the first to jump in the water.
I have lots of fun in swimming. I always work as hard as I can and it keeps my strokes from going wrong. I also learn from my mistakes and I work on them – Charlie Bird
Not all schools have the luxury of a swimming pool on site, or even within walking distance, but this should not make time in the pool any less important to a school or to its pupils, who will forever reap the many benefits of a youth spent in the water.
Stockport may play host to Britain’s best swimming team and some Olympic stars of the future may well be learning their first lengths in our pool right now but far from being a sport for the elite, swimming is a key life skill for every one of us.
I love swimming because you can always do more – there is always another challenge when you have completed one – Esme
Infant & Junior Head, Mrs Barbara Bottoms