Archive for the ‘school’ Category

these children have to travel by plane to get to their swimming lessons

The Irish News reports: Three children have to take a flight from a remote Scottish island so they can learn to swim.

Freyja Parnaby, six, Grace Parnaby, nine, and Lewis Wright-Stanners, nine, regularly travel from the Fair Isle to Shetland for their lessons.

Each time they face the potential that their flight home may be cancelled due to adverse weather, leaving them stranded on the mainland.

The children, from Fair Isle Primary School, take the 25-minute flight with their head teacher Ruth Stout, funded by the education department.

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Fair Isle – home to 60 people – is the most geographically remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom.


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The Guardian reports: A new drive to encourage private schools to share their swimming pools is being launched by the government amid concerns about the number of children who emerge from primary school unable to swim.

Fewer than half of all British children are able to swim 25 metres by the time they reach the age of 11. Schools will get a share of a £320m fund to help boost swimming lessons, he said.

While the Department for Education has not proposed any new measures to compel private schools to open their pools, Hinds said he was personally determined to “make sure our children grow up safe and water confident”. “Many independent schools are already doing this, but others can and must do more to help every child in their community,” he said.

This year’s figures from the Independent Schools Council, which represents 1,326 private schools in the UK, show that of 603 of its member schools that have pools, 304 already share them in some way with state school pupils.

Meanwhile, 72% of primary schools use public pools for swimming lessons, while 15% use their own pool and 10% use another private facility.

Julie Robinson, general secretary of the ISC, said that there was “much goodwill from schools fortunate to have facilities that may be in short supply locally”. She added that “raising awareness of partnerships helps more state schools and independent schools develop mutually beneficial programmes”.

“Headteachers who have opened up their facilities tell us it’s a win-win for the schools and the community,” said Charles Johnston, director of property for Sport England, a public body under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “It allows facilities to be used at times when otherwise they’d be empty.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, who is responsible for sport, said: “This barely moves the dial on the pressing need to improve the health of our children, when six out of 10 are leaving primary school either overweight or obese. Read more on this story…

See also: Mass Education Saved Lives

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Belfast Live reports: A programme which aims to teach kids how to stay safe in open water is hosting free swimming lessons in Northern Ireland this summer.

Swim Safe, is coming to NI for the first time this summer to host free hour-long sessions for 7–14 year olds run by qualified swimming teachers and RNLI beach lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers.

The sessions are designed to be practical, interactive, educational and fun for children who can swim at least 25 metres.

Every child that participates will receive 60 minutes of tuition, with the time split between land-based safety with a lifeguard and in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.

Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with T-shirt are all provided.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Jenny Thompson said: “Many children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is different to swimming in a pool and can often be much more challenging.

“The Swim Safe programme gives children the opportunity to learn about keeping safe when swimming outdoors and knowing what to do if they get into trouble.”

Visit the SwimSafe website to book your place and for more information.

Chris Ayriss comments: What a contrast this piratical program is to the warnings broadcast in 2014 “Don’t go in!”


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Throughout history children have faced danger when in and arround water. Better parental supervision, clear warnings of specific dangers and in some cases swimming restrictions have all played a part in reducing the risk, but life saving education is without doubt the best precaution against disaster.


beginning in 2017 all schoolchildren in the Australian province of Victoria will be required to swim 50 meters straight and show in-pool survival skills beginning in 2017, according to the Herald Sun.

The Herald Sun had been pushing for these learn-to-swim programs in schools as a result of 43 drowning deaths in Victoria this year and a 40 percent rise in fatal drownings. Research from Life Saving Victoria found that three out of five students could not swim by the time they finished primary school.

The Herald Sun reports: Brodie Morris, 12, …almost drowned in the Murray River two years ago. “We nearly lost him,” said his dad, Brett. “It happened in a split second. We’re really lucky that someone pulled him up. He could have been another statistic. He’d been to swimming lessons before but he hadn’t picked anything up.”

After the 10-week program at Shepparton’s Aquamoves pool, Brodie, from Kyabram, was swimming a dozen laps with ease. Even waking up earlier for the 40-minute trip to the pool didn’t faze him. “We were amazed how he went. He was motivated, he was fantastic,” Mr Morris said.

Mr Taylor said the goal was to teach every Victorian child to swim at a satisfactory level within a decade.



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Malcolm Tozer Reviews: Hung Out to Dry: Swimming and British Culture, in the Spring Edition of Physical Education Matters.


It was by chance that your reviewer came across this privately published social history of swimming and the evident enthusiasm of its author – devotee of outdoor bathing and self-taught historian – prompted the request for a copy. Chris Ayriss’s idiosyncratic approach is as refreshing as the waters he loves and the ebb and flow of his story matches that of meandering stream; you never know what is round the next bend.

The Blue Lagoon Bristol 1937

The book spans ancient and modern, from the Roman occupation of Britain right up to the health-and-safety madness of present times. On the journey we meet bathing to satisfy superstitious, ritualistic, religious, medical, sensual, sexual, naturist, hygienic and escapist needs – amongst others – sometimes with the active approval of society, sometimes not. It would seem that skinny-dipping just for fun was never as simple as that.

Henleaze Lake Bristol 1932

Bathing’s real boom began in the mid-Victorian period when Thomas Cook introduced cheap rail excursions to seaside resorts; week-long factory closures saw whole towns decamp to Skeggie or Clacton; Billy Butlin’s promise of a week’s holiday for a week’s wage led to the popularity of holiday camps; major resorts competed for the biggest lidos and the highest diving boards; and inland cities provided their own riverside beaches and swimming lakes. Some marvellous photographs show packed crowds on Blackpool beach in 1949, with no room to swing a spade; sand-castle building in the shadow of London’s Tower Bridge in 1939; a sardine-jammed lido in Bristol in 1937; and fantastic multiple diving platforms at Henleaze and Weston-super-Mare.

London-on-Sea 1939

The demise from the 1960s was sudden: it came with the introduction of cheap flights to Mediterranean beaches; the delights of sun and sangria; the building of corporation indoor swimming complexes; riverside landowners denying right of access; health concerns about polluted rivers, canals and lakes; and safety worries over unsupervised bathing. Recent evidence from my outlook in Cornwall suggests that a partial recovery is underway – helped by the economic recession, the popularity of ‘staycations’, and the ready availability of wetsuits. Is the bucket-and-spade holiday back in fashion?

Wild Swimming

All this is told in a jaunty style. A bevy of blurred boys’ bare bottoms may see the book banned from school libraries, but there is much here to inform and entertain all who have ever delighted in a midnight skinny-dip – outdoors, of course.

Hung Out to Dry: Swimming and British Culture, by Chris Ayriss, Lulu.com, 2012, £14.50, ISBN 978-0-557-12428-2

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A retired police frogman is warning of the dangers of swimming in open water after a haunting experience over 50 years ago.

See article…

“I just want to warn people of the dangers of the Wharfe, not just at Collingham but all along, especially now the warm weather is here,” added Mr Waugh.

“I remember we attended a tragic incident at the river Wharfe at Collingham where I recovered the bodies of two local schoolchildren.”

“The thing that struck me on this occasion and many other similar occurrences is that these tragedies can occur in shallow water, children simply lose balance, panic and drown.”

Mr Waugh issued his warning in response to the story recently run in the Wetherby News which highlighted posts made by members of the public on the Outdoor Swimming Society’s wildswim website recommending swimming in the Wharfe at Collingham.

“I just want to warn people of the dangers of the Wharfe, not just at Collingham but all along, especially now the warm weather is here,” added Mr Waugh.

“The river Wharfe is beautiful but extremely dangerous.

Mr Waugh said the police team was the first of its kind in the country and was formed to avoid the use of grappling hooks, and to persuade all mill owners to have their mill dams drained.

“My team used to visit schools and continually warn children of these dangers.

“I would like to think that in doing so we saved many lives.

“And I just want to get the message across to children and parents not to swim in the rivers.

“There are many hidden dangers and it is very easy to slip and then people panic and then the cold gets to you.”

But Lynne Roper, acting press officer for the Outdoor Swimming Society said they needed factual data to suggest that the stretch of water posed a danger to swimmers.

“We can’t just make a blanket ban. All rivers and open water pose dangers but what we need is actual evidence that we can see.”

She added: “We are not in the business of encouraging inappropriate behaviour around water.

“On the contrary we aim to allow the safe enjoyment of water in the outdoors; we spread awareness about issues such as cold acclimatisation and the specific dangers associated with open water (such as river currents, floods, and rip currents in the sea) so that people are informed enough to make their own risk assessments and judgements about where is safe to swim.”

And Ms Roper added: “Several of our members have swum safely in the river Wharfe at Collingham when conditions are right.

“Some of the comments left on the OSS wild swim map at the location in Collingham only serve to perpetuate misinformation.

“There is no such thing as a “hidden whirlpool” and all dangerous river features are visible if you know what to look for and what to expect.

Encouraging the safe appreciation of rivers, lakes and the sea through the promotion of understanding, knowledge and expertise should be a shared goal.

“Dire warnings to stay away from water have never worked and clearly continue not to work.” More…

Swim Smart – advice for adults who wish to swim in open water

Swim Safe – advice for adults and children



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 Yackandandah Primary School's Noah Jackson, 11, leads the pack as instructor Conor Keely conducts classes.

The Border Mail reports: “The effort to educate the Border’s newest residents about safe swimming in the Murray River and other waterways is to be commended. Those who grow up by the river generally have a healthy respect for it after hearing from a young age of its possible dangers. New residents can’t be expected to have any immediate understanding of the vagaries of the mighty Murray.

In Albury yesterday, young immigrants aged 12 to 19 were among those getting an education in first-aid, water safety, bodyboarding, life jacket usage and rescue techniques. The Albury-Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau is supporting them through the course at Noreuil Park, where Afghani man Abdul Ehsani drowned last month. In December, an 18-year-old member of Mildura’s Hazara refugee community also drowned while swimming in the Murray in Sunraysia.

A dip in the river is one of the great pleasures of summer for those lucky enough to live by the great waterway, and it should not be the case that we create a sense of fear about it.

None of us is immune to getting into trouble, but the risk is so much greater for those who have no comprehension of what it is they are jumping into.”

Swim Smart: Advice for adults and teenagers

Swim Safe: Advice for parents and children

How risky is wild swimming?


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