Swim Wales and our collaborative partners wish to highlight the importance of learning to swim and developing water competence skills within the curriculum, not just for the associated health and wellbeing benefits but specifically for the potential to prevent drownings and save lives.
The partners involved in this commitment of ‘Every Child a Swimmer’ are Welsh Government, all 22 local authorities, Sport Wales and Water Safety 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, developed a 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 skills of water competence, water safety, ‘Learning through Play’ and developing Physical Literacy in the aquatic environment are the foundations of Nofio Ysgol. Lessons should include fun activities and games in the pool, and should be adapted to help all children achieve their potential.
Linking to the Learn to Swim Wales Waves, 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/carers, teachers and lesson providers.
Swimming activities can be viewed broadly across all Areas of Learning and Experience of the Currculum with specific relevance within Health and Wellbeing.
The integration across the Curriculum, coupled with learning physical safety, delivers many benefits to the child.
All responsible adults of children in Primary Schools in Wales should expect their child to attend School Swimming at some point during Primary School. Exact opportunities will vary depending on the Local Authority and each individual school as to when and how often a child will be given the opportunity to experience water and learn to swim.
Using Nofio Ysgol, the 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.