Many groups have committed to ensuring the safety of all children in Wales in and around water by 2020.
Nofio Ysgol Framework
The partners involved in this commitment of 'Every Child a Swimmer' are Welsh Government, all 22 local authorities, Sport Wales and Swim Wales. In order to achieve this lifesaving task and to ensure their pupils are taught the vital skills of water survival, it is vital that Welsh Education commits to the 'Every Child a Swimmer' goal.
To ensure Welsh Education has the necessary tools to meet this target, Swim Wales, in consultation with our partners, have created a new School Swimming Plan for Wales to provide a teaching framework for teachers and schools – Nofio Ysgol.
Wales is surrounded by water, and many children and adults enjoy the sea, lakes, rivers and swimming pools across the country. However, there are many who are unable to enjoy the water safely. Unfortunately around 400 people every year in the UK lose their lives, many due to a lack of basic water survival skills. Most children in Wales rely on school swimming as their only chance of learning basic water safety and swimming skills. As a nation, it is our responsibility to teach these skills.
Nofio Ysgol formalises national standards and methodology for the teaching of swimming to children throughout Wales.
‘Learning Through Play’ is the foundation of Nofio Ysgol. Lessons include fun activities and games in the pool, and can be adapted to help all children achieve their potential. The scheme is designed to attract children with colourful branding and certificates. Children who meet the National Curriculum standard can be awarded with a prestigious medal to celebrate their achievement.
Linking to Learn to Swim Wales, the only recognised learn to swim framework in Wales, Nofio Ysgol has been designed to help providers deliver a comprehensive learn to swim experience for children attending National Curriculum swimming lessons. It dovetails with the scheme that is recommended by Sport Wales and Swim Wales for non-curriculum lessons, meaning that the whole Learn To Swim experience is joined up for all involved in the process: children, parents, teachers and lesson providers.
Swimming and water safety are a recognised part of the National Curriculum, currently sitting specifically within the adventurous part of the PE Curriculum.
Swimming activities can also be viewed more broadly across the whole PE Curriculum featuring in each of the areas of experience in the curriculum:
- Creative, Competitive, Health and Fitness & Wellbeing
In addition to developing skills across the PE Curriculum, swimming and water safety activities can be used to develop skills across the National Curriculum as a whole:
- Developing Thinking, Developing Communication, Developing ICT, Developing Number and Curriculum Cymreig
The integration with the National Curriculum, coupled with learning physical safety, delivers many benefits to the child.
All parents of children in Primary Schools in Wales can expect their child to attend School Swimming at some point in Key Stage 2. This depends on the Local Authority and each individual school as to when and how often a child will swim.
Using Nofio Ysgol, the new framework for School Swimming in Wales, we will challenge and support schools and Educational Authorities to rethink how they deliver School Swimming and to join us in the goal of getting Every Child in Wales a Swimmer.
There are many different approaches to the way schools and providers structure school swimming programmes.
According to the current National Curriculum: “pupils should be taught to develop skills of water safety and personal survival and swim unaided for a sustained period of time”. Swim Wales, with the support of education advisers and local providers, have agreed that the following will be assessed:
- Being able to swim 25 metres wearing shorts and t-shirt, tread water for 30 seconds whilst demonstrating an action for getting help (shouting and waving) and then move into HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Position). All this must be performed without goggles.
- On a separate occasion, they will also be required to perform a shout and signal action in swimwear.
Swim Wales recommends that:
• There should be a minimum of 26 hours of swimming instruction throughout a child’s primary school education
• It is most beneficial to take children swimming from Years 2 through to Year 6 for a minimum of 7 hours per year.
Where there is limited access to leisure facilities, the preferred delivery method for School Swimming and the Nofio Ysgol framework is an intensive model over a minimum of 2 weeks.
Schools who have more access to facilities are recommend to take children for a minimum of 10 sessions per academic year. The recommendation is for 45-minute lessons with a maximum teacher-pupil ratio of 1:12.