Swimming in Primary Schools

Swimming in Primary Schools Image

New ways of teaching Dundee primary pupils to swim could best tested alongside the continuation of traditional swimming lessons for P6 classes, if the children and families service committee approves a report on Monday October 29.

Members of the committee will hear that a working group has identified how the current model of lessons can mean as little as 20 minutes in the pool during a two hour period away from the classroom.

The report under consideration states: “head teachers have been clear for years that this is a very inefficient way to teach young people to swim”.

Timetabling clashes over pools at secondary schools can also present challenges, while it is also estimated that in some primary clusters, around 95% of children can already swim.

The committee will also be told that “...the limited additional experience that the current model brings is disproportionate in terms of the curricular disruption for the school to what is gained through the activity.”

Councillor Stewart Hunter, convener of the children and families service committee, said: “We are looking to improve swimming provision for children in our primary schools and make the lessons much more effective.

“We want to can target programmes at non swimmers in a way that will have the greatest impact.

“This will mean an investigation of a range of models to find out is any of them work better than the current system. Some lessons will be delivered after the end of the school day and will also involve parents.

“If any decision is taken to change the way that children receive swimming lessons, there would be a transition from the current arrangements to any new methods.” 

Councillor Hunter added: “Swimming is an essential life skill and we can see that the long-running way of providing lessons for 10 weeks in P6 does not get to children early enough.

“It also does not help young people who can swim progress their abilities in any meaningful way.

“This is not about removing swimming lessons in any way, it is about improving them for the benefit of our pupils. That is why we would continue the current P6 lessons for the vast majority of pupils this school year before any changes are proposed.”

Feedback would follow a period of testing, with any recommendations for future provision being outlined in May.

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