Drowning rise follows drop in swim lessons
One in three primary school leavers cannot swim, raising concerns that a lack of know-how is responsible for a rise in the number of drownings. Data from the Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety Review Group show that 40 people aged 19 and under drowned in the UK last year, an increase of 25 per cent from 2015.
According to the group’s report, pressure on school timetables has led to a drop in the number of swimming lessons, with one in 20 primaries not offering lessons at all. Of the rest, swimming provision is so poor that only a third provide lessons that meet the required standards.
The study reveals that despite swimming and water safety being part of the national curriculum for 20 years, two-thirds of parents feared their child would not be able to save themselves in water.
Steve Parry, a former Olympian and chairman of the Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety Review Group, said schools were failing to teach children “an essential skill” and the increase in the number of people drowned was “something we can remedy.”
“Water Safety… can’t be optional extra,” he said.
But Jon Glenn, Swim England’s learn to swim and workforce director, said:
“Given the pressures on the school timetable, it’s understandable that time is often not given to teaching life-saving skills.”
Three hundred people drowned last year, with the summer holidays the worst period for child deaths.
Source: Daily Telegraph