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NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR SAFER SWIMMING - EDUCATION MINISTER

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All children will now have increased opportunities to learn to swim...
All children will now have increased opportunities to learn to swim

safely and enjoy the sport, education minister Catherine Ashton said

today as she published the government's response to the swimming

advisory group's recommendations.

Speaking at a swimming gala at East Ham Leisure Centre - attended by

world record holder Mark Foster and local school children she said:

'Swimming is one of the nation's favourite sports, it can be great

fun and has great health benefits.

'However it is essential that children are aware of the principles

and skills of water safety, which is why swimming is a compulsory

part of the national curriculum for all children aged between 5-11.'

The package includes:

- a new swimming and water safety website - providing guidance and

ideas for teachers to support their planning and teaching of

swimming and water safety and a 'splash' area for children,

including water safety quizzes - which goes live today;

- proposals for a Swimming Charter to be published in 2003 that will

offer practical guidance and help spread best practice. The key

features of the charter should be a strong emphasis on local

strategies for swimming. It will also give advice: on the amount of

time that should be allocated to swimming lessons; to schools to

help them deliver training in water safety and health and safety at

the pool. It will also encourage non or reluctant swimmers to

participate in classes and encourage girls - especially those from

minority ethnic communities - to participate;

- 2 pilot schemes (one urban and one rural) for children who get to

the final year of primary school and can't swim at least 25 metres.

This will provide evidence of good practice which will then be

disseminated to LEAs and;

- increased training in swimming and water safety for PE teachers to

help raise the quality of teaching and learning in swimming.

David Sparkes, chief executive of the Amateur Swimming Association,

added:

'This initiative demonstrates the importance the government

attributes to swimming as a life skill and a life-saving skill.

Swimming can be fun and it can play a part in a healthy lifestyle or

as in the case of Mark Foster it could lead on to the Olympics. We

are delighted with the support we have received from the government.'

The government is investing£459m over the next three years to

enhance sporting opportunities for 5-16 year olds to ensure 75% of

all children have access to two hours of high-quality PE and school

sport per week within and beyond the curriculum by 2006. PE and

school sport including swimming, have an important role to play in

raising standards, improving behaviour and attendance and tackling

disaffection.

NOTES

This Press Notice applies to England.

1. Today's swimming gala at East Ham Leisure Centre was organised

jointly by the Amateur Swimming Association and the Department for

Education and Skills.

2. Swimming and water safety is a compulsory component within the

national curriculum for all children at Key Stage 2. At the end of

Key Stage 2 all pupils should be able to swim unaided over a distance

of 25m.

3. The OFSTED Report 'Swimming at Key Stage 2' was published in

November 2000 and is available at

www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspect/index.htm. The Swimming Advisory Group was

formed in January 2001 to review swimming provision in light of the

OFSTED report. An executive summary of the Swimming Advisory Group's

report is available on the PE and School Sport website.

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/pess

4. The Swimming Advisory Group comprised the Amateur Swimming

Association, The Institute of Sport Recreation Management, the Youth

Sport Trust, English Schools Swimming Association, Royal Life Saving

Society, Sport England Physical Education UK, British Association of

Advisors and Lecturers in PE and the Swimming Teachers Association.

5. The swimming charter will be put out to consultation with LEAs and

other interested groups early in the new year.

6. The swimming activities and water safety website is managed by the

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

http://www.nc.uk.net/safeswimming

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