With the half-term holiday approaching, families in West Yorkshire are being urged to stay safe after shocking figures revealed more than half of children can’t swim.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has issued a wake-up call to schools, parents and the Government following the revelations.
More than 1.1 million primary schoolchildren in England – 51 per cent of children aged seven to 11 – are unable to swim the 25 metre length of a typical swimming pool unaided, according to a report by swimming’s governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).
The ‘Learning the Lesson – the future of school swimming’ report also found that, on average, each child only received 8 hours 15 minutes of school swimming tuition a year, compared to the 22 hours recommended by the government.
David Walker, RoSPA’s leisure safety manager, said: “These appalling figures show a failure to protect our children from the risk of drowning. Having the swimming and water safety skills to save yourself or others doesn’t come instinctively, it has to be taught.
“Fewer than 50 per cent of primary schoolchildren are able to swim. This is dreadful and needs to be a wake-up call for schools, parents and the Government to do more and treat swimming as a priority.
RoSPA, the leading accident prevention charity in the UK, is joining the ASA in calling for swimming and water safety to be a funding priority for schools, along with urging the Government and Ofsted to inspect school swimming as a National Curriculum subject.