[content_protector password=”pavlova17″] Last year the State of Victoria in Australia made it compulsory for all students to be able to swim 50m by the end of Grade 6. Effectively, they were saying students can’t leave primary school until they can swim.

In New Zealand there have been similar ideas put forward. In a recent poll of 750 people, 45% said schools should offer children the opportunity to have swimming lessons and almost 42% said lessons should be compulsory.
Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge has said publicly that every school should have a pool and learning to swim should be a core curriculum subject.

I completely disagree.

Schools are set up to provide and educate students in the core curriculum areas – Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Social Sciences, Physical Education, Languages, Technology and the Arts. This should be their focus. Already teachers are under stress to deliver these essential areas. Adding something minor like swimming will only add to teacher’s workload.

I understand that 81 people died last year in preventable drownings in New Zealand. So far in 2017 the number stands at 21. It is clear that as a country there are far too many people that do not have basic swimming skills.
It is the role of parents and the New Zealand Government to ensure that our young people understand the dangers of water and have basic swimming skills.

Parents must take responsibility of their children by enrolling them in a qualified learn to swim programmes. These are available at almost every public swimming pool and provide people with the skills and confidence they need in the water.

Sadly, these learn to swim programmes are expensive, often costing $15-$20 per 30minute lesson. This is where the government must step up. In some areas around New Zealand private firms have stepped in to help out. The Sealord Swim For Life programme has reached 215,000 New Zealand children with 10 lessons every year for four years.

Well done Sealord, but this is something that the government should take more seriously.
It is the government that must provide funding to aquatics centres and swimming pools to enable them to provide their services at a realistic price.

Do you think that swimming should be taught in schools? Why/ Why not?
Why do we currently teach swimming at school? Do you think this is a good reason?
What other things are taught in schools that you think should be the role of parents or the government?

Find out the cost of swimming lessons at your local pool?
Take a survey of students in your class around their ability to swim. Graph the results.


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