National Curriculum School Swimming

It is now a Statutory Requirement for schools to publish Year 6 swimming data on their website

Our school swimming team works with schools to provide the necessary support and training required to deliver high quality, structured swimming lessons for pupils, enabling schools to not only meet, but exceed their statutory expectations.

Our team provide schools with an efficient and cost effective coordination service that allows promotes a much needed increase in the number of children who are leaving primary school as competent swimmers.

Our Service

The Benefits

The opportunity to raise standards in swimming which is a statutory aspect of the National Curriculum.

Quality assured and highly trained swimming instructors to lead and deliver the swimming sessions

Access to Swimphony, an online attainment, attendance and performance tool, completed by swimming instructors.

The Service

Your school swimming programme will be entirely organised by the Edsential Swimming team. This includes the organisation and payment for transport, pool hire and instruction.

Flexible swimming formats are available to meet the needs of all schools.

  • We provide schools with 1500 hours of National Curriculum Swimming each academic year.
  • During the 2.5 years that Edsential have provided school swimming, there has not been a single accident or injury!
  • With Edsential, 69% of pupils leave primary school as competent swimmers.
  • It is a statutory requirement for all schools to teach pupils to swim competently before they leave in Year 6. This is different from simply taking children swimming.
  • National research identifies the need for 20-25 hours of instruction for a pupil to learn to swim in line with National Curriculum requirements.
  • Do schools know what the children leaving their school in 2017/18 have achieved? If not, Edsential have a swimming attainment system that can provide this information as a document ready to upload to the school website.
  • In 2017, 255 people lost their lives as a result of accidental drowning. of which, 44% had no intention of entering the water.
  • Edsential swimming lessons can cost as little as £2.50 per pupil per lesson. Less than the general admission costs for most pools and significantly less that the cost of private swimming lessons.
  • 60% of Primary schools in Cheshire West & Chester do not meeting statutory requirements relating to the publishing of school swimming data.

Is your school aware of health and safety aspects of school swimming? Including instructor and pupil ratios, qualifications and duty of care?

Latest News & FAQ’s

Swim England

School Swimming Review Group Report

My child can already swim to a higher standard than that expected within the National Curriculum. Can I withdraw him/ her from school swimming lessons?

For schools who follow the National Curriculum (NC), Physical Education is a statutory subject, and within this, swimming must be provided for all children so that they can meet the statutory requirements by the end of Key Stage 2. When parents request a place for their child at a school, they agree to the ‘terms and conditions’ presented by the school and to follow the curriculum set by the school. Even where a school does not follow the NC, if they present a curriculum stating that swimming will be undertaken, that is what parents are agreeing to accept. Having entered into this agreement, it is not acceptable to attempt to withdraw a pupil from curriculum lessons.

Whilst many schools provide information about the school curriculum on their websites or in prospectuses and newsletters, Edsential encourages and will support with advice on providing more formal PE policies, setting out exactly what parents should expect. Without such written and communicated documentation the school will find it more difficult to defend their position. The section “How much swimming” on page 7 of this document discusses the value of the school swimming experience, beyond simply reaching or passing a given ability level.

It is not difficult to explain why a parent is unable to withdraw a child from swimming lessons on a purely educational and social development basis, but the discussion does become more difficult when the school is asking for financial contributions towards the cost of the sessions. Where this is used as an argument, schools need to stress that the contribution is towards the transport element of the session, and not the swimming lesson itself. If the situation does arise from known financial problems (e.g. areas of high unemployment, recent loss of employment by a member of the family, more than one sibling requiring additional finance etc..), the school should consider supporting the additional costs until such time that the contribution can be resumed.

This is a sensitive discussion and should be handled discreetly by the school. Objections of this type are not frequent. Parental complaints of any sort in relation to school swimming should be tackled as soon as possible to avoid other parents becoming aware of concerns and swelling the feeling of discontent. Pupils not able to swim, due to temporary medical conditions or forgetting kit, should always be taken to the pool, not left back at school, and given alternative tasks linked to the swimming lesson. They can for example:

  • Listen in on teaching about strokes
  • Observe and write about given pupil for technical improvement and provide feedback
  • Offer coaching and encouragement (from a safe position)

My child is only happy in the pool if they wear swimming goggles. Will they be allowed to do so?

The decision as to whether pupils should wear swimming goggles during a school swimming lesson, should come about through a risk assessment of the lesson, taking into account the length of the lesson, the ability of the pupils, the task to be undertaken, etc. The outcome of this process should be agreed between the swimming teaching staff and the school, and will take into account any school policy. Most Edsential school swimming lessons are 25 minutes (water time), and given this it is generally not deemed to be necessary for pupils to wear goggles.

Concerns arise for the swimming teacher when:

  • Beginners or less able swimmers with poor control, bump into each other, or flay their arms into the face of a pupil wearing goggles, swimming alongside them
  • Pupils constantly remove and adjust their goggles leading to a delay for pupils, and a distraction for swimming teachers
  • Pupils ask swimming teachers to adjust or re -position their goggles for them

Wearing of goggles may be appropriate when:

  • The pupils are very able, and are working on stroke development with their head in the water for some time
  • When the main task of the lesson involves going under water to retrieve objects as part of a lifesaving programme
  • Where a pupil has a documented medical condition affecting their eyes, which means goggles are required for protection.

Dependent on the outcomes of the various scenarios outlined above, ultimately the decision regarding the wearing of goggles rests with the swimming teacher in discussion with the school. A parent should be made aware of this.

What information do I need to publish in relation to School Swimming?

Schools must publish data relating to the swimming attainment of the current year 6. It must be online no later than 4th April 2018. Follow the link below for full details of what the National Curriculum requirements are and the questions schools will need to answer. Click here for more

What do schools need to publish on their website?

How many hours should a school swim each academic year?

There are no guidelines on the number of hours of swimming per year, although national research shows that it takes between 20 and 25 hours to teach a child to swim competently. For a school this may be split across multiple years.

What are the statutory guidelines for swimming?

All schools must provide swimming instruction either in key stage 1 or key stage 2. In particular, pupils should be taught to: swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres; use a range of strokes effectively; perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations.

Our Team


Carl Sutton

I spent the past 12 years working within primary school PE, Sport and Physical Activity. During this time I have taken on a number of roles from PE Subject Leader, EVC and PE Teacher to my current role of advising and delivering training for all school staff. I spent the past four years working as a specialist PE Teacher for Wirral Local Authority before moving to EdsentiaI in December 2015. I currently lead a team of teachers, coaches and specialists in the delivery of Edsentials’ PE, Sport and Physical Activity Programme and Lead the School Swimming Programme in Wirral. I have a real passion for PE and Sport and I have experienced first hand how it can transform the lives of young people.

Alex Barnes

I have spent the past 7 years working within Primary and Secondary schools across Cheshire West and Chester in a number of roles, ranging from Teaching Assistant, Class Teacher, PE Subject Leader and Specialist Sports Coach to my current role of delivering PE and CPD for school staff.

Having only left the Classroom in 2017 and joined the Edsential team in January 2018, I have now taken the opportunity to work full-time within my biggest passion: Helping children to be active and achieve success through PE, sport and physical activity.

ASA Training

ASA Training – “All staff supporting the delivery of school swimming need to attend the ASA Level 1/National Curriculum Teaching Programme Course. Edsential provide a number of dates throughout the school year for schools that access their swimming service . The course is 2 x full days.

Dates will be added for 18/19 by the end of May.

Nationally: 36% of All Children Meet the National Curriculum Requirements Following KS2

  • Not Currently Providing Any Swimming Provision or Monitoring Attainment
  • Providing Swimming Provision But Not Meeting National Outcomes
  • Providing Swimming Provision, Resulting in Children Swimming 25m unaided
  • Provide Swimming Lessons with All Children Meeting National Curriculum Standards

Health and Safety

Health and Safety is our main priority. We therefore offer a range of training for all Primary Teachers to ensure that they hold the necessary health and safety requirements to instruct small groups of pupils during swimming lessons is met. These courses meet approved Association for Physical Education and Amateur Swimming Association guidance.

A framework for a specialist and robust health and safety management system for swimming is also available, which includes regular updates on changes to legislation, national standards and best practice in swimming and health and safety.