We were delighted to welcome back Langford Primary on Tuesday. 28 Year 4 pupils joined us for a 40-minute swimming lesson and will do so weekly for the rest of term. The excitement was palpable and the parting comments were that swimming was ‘epic’!

Covid-19 lockdowns have had a dramatic impact on children’s levels of physical activity. The closure of schools and local leisure facilities has impacted all areas of exercise but the impact on swimming is particularly notable. Swimming is a required part of the primary school national curriculum – children should be able to swim 25 metres by the time they leave school aged 11. According to Sport England, one in three children is unable to swim the required length unaided and the numbers are higher from less affluent families.

In normal times, access to affordable swimming provision is a major barrier. With the additional impact of closures, many children are at risk of leaving primary school without sufficient experience in the water to be safe. With this in mind, we are thrilled to have been able to relaunch our partner school swimming programme.

We look forward to Falconbrook Primary joining us after half-term as well as Trinity St Mary’s. Given the importance of swimming and the need for time in the water to develop the necessary skills to remain safe, we are including swimming as a module in our Primary Ambitions programme from September. Our partner schools are thrilled.

Lisa Irwin (Deputy Development & Community Partnerships Director)