TENS of thousands of Scottish children are benefitting from a national programme to help them become better and more confident swimmers, an independent report has found.
A study of the impact of Scottish Swimming’s National Learn to Swim Framework – one of the most comprehensive teaching programmes in the UK – has found overwhelming approval from parents and from managers tasked with delivering the lessons across Scotland.
More than two-thirds of parents said that they had seen improvements in their children’s swimming skills with virtually all, 99%, saying that it is important their child to learn to swim.
More than 80% expressed satisfaction with their children’s enjoyment from their lessons, with 70% praising the quality of the teaching.
Elsewhere, 95% of managers, such as swimming development officers, aquatics managers and swimming coordinators, recognised that the programme had had a positive effect in increasing the numbers of children learning to swim.
More than 75,000 kids across Scotland are involved in Scottish Swimming’s National Learn to Swim Framework, which is supported by Scottish Water and delivered by Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers across Scotland. The target is to reach 100,000 children across the country by 2020.
The programme’s lead Ambassador is Olympic medallist, World, European and Commonwealth Champion Duncan Scott, who won an incredible six medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia in April – the most by a Scottish athlete at a single Games.
Forbes Dunlop, CEO of Scottish Swimming, said: “Learning to swim should be fun, enjoyable and memorable.
“If children enjoy it from the beginning they are more likely to continue in the sport and, through the Learn to Swim Framework in partnership with Scottish Water and delivered by our Leisure Trust and aquatic providers across Scotland, we are creating quality and fun environments that develop safe, competent and confident swimmers.
“It is very satisfying to see the high levels of support and satisfaction from parents who are recognising the quality of the lessons which will equip their children with essential life skills.
“We are also very pleased to see the solid endorsement of the programme from the managers who are delivering the lessons on a daily basis in 150 pools across Scotland.
“It is clear, the National Learn to Swim Framework is making a significant contribution not only to Scottish society but also the Government’s Active Scotland outcomes.”
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “Learning to swim is such an important safety skill and it’s vital the basics are learned at an early age.
“Scotland has many hundreds of miles of waterways – rivers, lochs, reservoirs and shoreline – and being able to swim obviously enables people to enjoy these environments and to do so safely.
“The Learn to Swim programme’s health and well-being benefits also fits in perfectly with our Your Water Your Life campaign, which is encouraging Scots to carry a reusable bottle and stay hydrated on the go.
“We are looking forward to seeing the programme go from strength-to-strength, encouraging even more children and young people into the country’s swimming pools.”
Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water formed a three-year partnership in March 2017 to help more to encourage more than 100,000 children to learn to swim.
The Learn to Swim Framework is aimed at youngsters from birth onwards and provides consistently high-quality teaching at least once a week, which progresses through a series of lessons and levels over a number of years.
The Scottish Swimming-commissioned survey – which looked at the impact of the Learn to Swim Framework since its inception – involved collecting responses from around 5300 parents of 6827 children from 14 Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers to assess the quality of learn to swim programmes across Scotland; and to uncover any key learnings.
Based on the areas for improvement identified by the survey, the partnership is now looking to focus attention in the coming months on inclusion, accessibility and deprivation to ensure that all children – regardless of age, ability or background – can learn to swim.
To underline that commitment, Toni Shaw, who was Team Scotland’s youngest athlete on the Gold Coast, and who went onto win six medals at the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships in Dublin in August, has been appointed as the programme’s latest Ambassador – joining Duncan Scott.
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