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Swimming is part of the National Curriculum
By the time children go to secondary school they should be able to swim 25m and undertake other swimming challenges.
Primary and junior schools in Bristol swim mainly in the pools and leisure centres managed by Sport and Leisure Management Limited (SLM) and Parkwood Leisure on behalf of Bristol City Council. The school swimming lessons are taught by highly qualified swimming teachers.
What you should know before your child goes swimming with the school:
- girls - one piece costume
- boys - no baggy shorts
- hair band or swimming hat if hair is long.
On the day, your child needs to bring his/her swimming clothes in a bag. Don't wear costumes under clothes, as they can feel quite sweaty. Remind your child to bring the wet swimming clothes home for washing.
If your child wears goggles, please let him/her know that there will be some activities that they will have to do without their goggles. This is important for personal safety lessons, so that they will learn to be confident in an emergency.
The rule is no jewellery in the pool. This is for your child's own safety. If your child has recently pierced ears, then he/she should wear a swimming hat to protect them.
Hair and hats
If your child's hair is long enough then it must be tied back. If the front is long enough to get into the eyes then it must be clipped back. Swimming hats are a great solution for both boys and girls.
Make sure that your child knows that feet must be dried properly - between ALL the toes. This is to prevent athlete's foot, which is a fungal infection that likes warm damp skin. If your child has athlete's foot it needs to be treated. Current medical opinion is that children with veruccas can still swim, and that treatment is necessary only if the verucca is painful.
The toilet and shower
All children should use the toilet before getting into the pool. If your child needs to go to the toilet during the lesson, then they must tell their class teacher before they go and report back to the same person when they come back.
All children should go through the showers before getting in the pool. If your child wears hair gel or other cosmetics, this should be showered off.
Helping with school swimming
Most schools will welcome offers of help with school swimming - they will require you to submit a check with the Criminal Records Bureau. If you would like to undertake some training in order to help with school swimming, please ask your school to contact the schools swimming development officer.
Make sure the swimming teacher has all the information required for the children to have the best and safest possible swimming lesson. Inform the swimming teacher of any:
- Medical information/illnesses/medication including ashthma, grommets, epilepsy or any illness which may affect any of the children during the class
- Children with limited English language skills
- Any issues of nervousness or phobias.
Swimming forms part of the National Curriculum and there are level descriptions for Key Stage 1 and 2. The expected attainment for the majority of pupils at the end of the key stage 2 is level 4 with the great majority of pupils expected to work with levels 2-5. Please refer to the ASA National Curriculum Resource Pack for swimming and water safety for details of the level descriptions under the headings:
- Acquiring and developing skills
- Selecting and applying skills, tactics and compositional ideas
- Evaluating and improving performance
- Knowledge and understanding of fitness and health.
Many other resources are available from the schools swimming development officer, including games, advice and information on cross circular links, worksheets and web links.
- Download: School Swimming and the National Curriculum (pdf, 64 KB) (opens new window): The Government's minimum standard for swimming attainment by the end of Year 6.
- Download: Code of Conduct for School Swimming (pdf, 85 KB) (opens new window): Sets out the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in delivering school swimming.
- Certificates are available to download to enable you to acknowledge progress and achievement in school swimming lessons
- Download: School swimming certificate (pdf, 74 KB) (opens new window)
Free National Curriculum courses
Bristol City Council runs free National Curriculum courses for teachers who are involved with their school's swimming programme. For details of the next course, please contact the schools swimming development officer.
Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) guidance advice for school swimming
For information and guidance on school swimming according to ASA guidelines please download the booklet below.
Download: ASA guidance for school swimming (pdf, 369 KB) (opens new window)
If you are a qualified swimming teacher with an interest in teaching school swimming, please contact our schools swimming development officer.
- Download: School Swimming Recording Sheet (pdf, 65 KB) (opens new window): Register and record keeping for school groups.
- Download: National Curriculum Swimming Assessment Sheet (pdf, 111 KB) (opens new window): For use during assessment weeks.
- Download: School Swimming Lesson Plan (pdf, 49 KB) (opens new window): Template to use or share with school teachers.
- Download: School Swimming Induction Talk (pdf, 70 KB) (opens new window): Notes for week one induction.
- Download: Water Safety Awareness Lesson Plan (pdf, 75 KB) (opens new window): Sample activities and lesson plan.