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Too Many Children in the Black Country not Meeting National Curriculum Swimming Guidelines – new Report Published

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08/04/2020
Too Many Children in the Black Country not Meeting National Curriculum Swimming Guidelines – new Report Published

Active Black Country, the strategic lead for sport and physical activity across the Black Country has published a new insight report entitled ‘Primary School Swimming in the Black Country’.

This report is supported by the National Governing Body for Swimming, Swim England and the Association for Physical Education (afPE).

Swimming is still one of the most popular ways in which we like to be active, therefore it is crucial that we understand the opportunities available to our young people in this important activity. School swimming is often the one and only opportunity for all children to learn to swim and know how to be safe in and around water and Swim England suggest that it is likely that children who don’t learn to swim during school lessons, will never learn this lifesaving skill.

Since 2017, all schools have been required to publish their swimming and water safety attainment levels as part of reporting for the PE and Sport Premium. This new report published by Active Black Country collates the results provided by all Black Country Primary Schools, giving an analysis on how schools are using the funding, headline findings across the key indicators, an in-depth analysis of differences between local authority areas and a look at the relationship between school swimming opportunities and other indicators such as deprivation and child obesity.

This report identifies that:

  • 4 in 10 primary school leavers in the Black Country can’t swim 25m
  • Less than half of Black Country year 6 pupils meet the required standard of being able to perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations
  • Young people living in deprived areas have considerably lower levels of swimming proficiency than those living in other areas

Moving forward, Active Black Country will work with Local Authority partners and education networks to develop Local Action Plans to address the issues raised in this report.

Ian Carey, Active Black Country Director said:

This report draws together a rage of information to provide a breadth and depth of understanding into the current levels of swimming across Primary School aged children. There has been some fantastic partnership work to bring us to this point. We now need to work together - taking into account local circumstance across our 4 Black Country Authorities - to develop bespoke local plans’”.

Michael Salmon, Head of Insight, Health and Wellbeing for Active Black Country continued:

This report has been developed to collate the information we have at our disposal in a way that is helpful to schools in the Black Country and to stimulate debate amongst decision makers to inform future approaches. We never develop insight for the sake of insight, we’re in the process of writing an implementation plan that will enable the findings from the report to be acted upon through our local networks.”

Amanda Tomlinson, Chair of Active Black Country said:

I am really pleased to see this report being developed, it provides high quality intelligence to support future partnership work. There is a significant opportunity with the Commonwealth Games and development of the Aquatic Centre in Sandwell, to instigate an increase in swimming levels across the Black Country, with a particular focus on Children & Young People”.


The report is available to download from the Active Black Country Insight Hub.

If you have any queries regarding the report, the Insight Hub, or would like to find out more, please contact michael_salmon@blackcountryconsortium.co.uk


Notes to Editors
Active Black Country
(ABC) is a small committed partnership, operating as the strategic lead for Sport and Physical Activity across the Black Country region.

We have a passionate belief that physical activity and sport can improve people’s lives and that it is every residents’ right to be physically active and play sport.

The partnership aims to create a healthy active region and get our 300,000 inactive residents active, keep them active and promote the Black Country region as a great place to live, work, learn and play.

The partnerships core purpose is to understand the regions communities and residents, connect and collaborate to align strategic priorities and influence policy and investment to get more residents active and realising the benefits of an active lifestyle.

The Insight Hub can be found at www.blackcountryinsighthub.co.uk

For more information on the partnership visit www.activeblackcountry.co.uk or follow us on twitter @BCBeActive


Swimming and the national curriculum
Since 1994, swimming and water safety has been a statutory element of the national curriculum for physical education in England.

This means that every 11-year old child should leave primary school with the skills to keep themselves safe while enjoying swimming with friends and family.

The three national curriculum outcomes
Swimming is the only sport to be included within the national curriculum physical education programme of study. All primary schools must provide swimming and water safety lessons in either Key Stage 1 or 2. Each pupil is required to be able to do the following:

  • Perform safe self-rescue in different water based situations
  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • Use a range of strokes effectively, for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke.

For more details visit: https://www.swimming.org/schools/swimming-national-curriculum/

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