Swimming Lessons: Common FAQs For Parents

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young child swimming

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For most children, learning to swim is something of a rite of passage, part and parcel of growing up. For parents, it’s an important step too, given that swimming is known to be incredibly beneficial, and lessons can also help to foster a lifelong love and respect for water. 

If you’re currently contemplating enrolling your child on their first ever course of swimming lessons, then you may find the following FAQ useful… 

What age should children start swimming lessons?

This is one of the golden questions that all parents wonder and, in truth, it’s pretty difficult to answer definitively. As with most things, there is an element of subjectivity involved –  all children are different, and what works for one might not be suitable for another. So there is not absolute age where swimming lessons are appropriate in every instance.

There is, however, general agreement that children cannot fully “learn” to swim until they are around four years old in most cases. However, this doesn’t mean that swimming lessons are a waste of time before this age. Younger children can also enjoy swimming lessons immensely, and can learn valuable safety tips, such as the need to ask a parent or supervising adult for permission before getting into the pool. 

Will my child learn to swim at school? 

Usually, yes; swimming is part of the National Curriculum, so you’ll usually need to ensure you have bought your girls or boys swimwear, goggles, and towel by the time your child enters formal education. Children also can’t be withdrawn from swimming lessons if they are available; they are mandatory.

However, only 36% of primary schools actually meet the National Curriculum standards, so it may also be worth exploring additional private swimming lessons if you are concerned about your child’s swimming education. 

Do I have to pay for school swimming lessons? 

If you check any parenting forum, you’ll see a huge amount of confusion about this issue – and the answer is no, you don’t have to pay for school swimming lessons in the UK. However, you may receive a request from your child’s school that asks for a contribution towards the cost of the lessons. This, however, is entirely voluntary, and paying is entirely at your own discretion. 

How do I find the right private swimming class for my child? 

If you do decide to explore private swimming classes (either because your child is not yet at an age where swimming is taught in schools, or because you want to supplement school-based teaching), then you’ll soon find that there are a lot of different private options available – so choosing the right class can often be confusing. If in doubt, then it’s best to focus on classes that adhere to the Swim England Learn To Swim Programme, as this ensures your child will be able to enjoy a great class led by a top-quality instructor. 

In conclusion

Hopefully the above will be useful for parents who are currently in the process of deciding how their child should learn to swim! 

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