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Water safety resources for summertime and beyond


Drowning Prevention Week was held in the month of June, but knowledge of water safety and skills are vital all year long. With summer in full swing, we are pleased to highlight some useful resources.

As you will be aware, swimming and water safety are mandatory elements of the current National Curriculum, with children taught how to perform a safe and successful self-rescue in a variety of water-based scenarios and the Department of Education suggesting pupils should be able to swim unaided for 25 metres, employing a range of different strokes, by the time of leaving primary school.

Nevertheless, it is important to recognise how some children will need greater support in achieving these goals, while providing a range of resources to help protect and support pupils of all swimming abilities and confidence levels.

Supporting the role of swimming lessons and useful in its own right, it is suggested schools can devote time in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) classes to improve pupils' awareness and understanding of risk, empowering them to make safer and better informed decisions in water-related environments.

The PSHE Association, in partnership with the Environment Agency, are one of a number of organisations to have compiled free resources, available online.

Meanwhile, SEND institutions can benefit from the Inclusion 2024 programme, which aims to improve the quality of swimming and water safety lessons for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities, working with schools and swimming pool venues to review and enhance their provision.

A project led by the Youth Sport Trust, specific resources for SEND establishments can be accessed via Swim England's new Inclusion Hub.

The Swim England site additionally houses resource packs for schools, including water safety teaching guidance for KS 1 and 2 classes, with additional resources for KS 1, 2 and 3 students available via the The Royal Life Saving Society UK homepage.

The Department for Education (DfE) works with the likes of Swim England, The Royal Life Saving Society UK and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to improve children's confidence in/near water and, in March 2023, announced £600m of funding to be spent across the next two academic years, with funds able to be spent by UK primary schools on appropriate teacher training and extra swimming lessons for pupils in need of them.

By ensuring all children are approprately equipped with water safety skills and knowledge, we can collectively ensure a safer experience for all, heading into the summertime - and beyond.

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