Any PE/swimming teachers about?

(16 Posts)
BackforGood Thu 28-Feb-13 20:38:35

I was going to say everything that Sommink has said.
I've never heard of swimming being reported from the school like this - what an odd thing! Obviously those who have had regular swimming lessons are going to be in a completely different situation from those who only swim with the school. For interest, I would ask the school what they mean by 'National Expectations' as no-one else knows what these are, many, many, many children never having even been swimming at the age of 5, and thousands more who won't have been to any school swimming lessons.

Sommink Thu 28-Feb-13 19:23:59

I teach most of the primary school swimming lessons in the local area.

Depending on the area and the different schools the level of swimming varies greatly. I have some children in year 4 who have never seen a pool before on the one hand and on the other I have children I know personally (mine included) in reception who can swim lengths.

I am never asked to evaluate each individual child, as in school lessons sometimes 1 swimming teacher can end up teaching one class of up to 30 children and I wouldn't even know all the children's names let alone personal circumstances that could lead to different expectations.

By the time they leave year 6 all children are expected to be able to swim 25m, ideally of the 3 main strokes, but honestly, in my area at least, this is very impractical if you are solely relying on school swimming lessons to teach every child to swim, the teacher student ratio is just to great and the amount of time the children spend swimming to to little.

If you are able to have you though about putting your dd into swimming lessons at the local pool? It would remove the need for you to try and get the whole family into the pool at once.

silverfrog Wed 27-Feb-13 19:04:28

oh, dd2 will get there, no doubt. and we have many, many tricks up our sleeve tohelp her along the way.

taking her ourselves is not going to happen for a little while - we have severely disabled dd1, and 7 month old ds to add in to the equation too, so just all too complicated right now.

the only reason that the school assessment bothers me is that it is the kind of thing that follows you all through school. her swimming teacher is head of girls games. if this is the beginning of a fraught relationship (I can hardly expect dd2 to get on well with a teacher who is ignoring some pretty big issues, and not really trying to help her), then it is something that will have far reaching implications over her time at the school.

I am comfortable with the progress dd2 is making - she has come a very long way over the course of the last year, and we can continue to help her. having all our efforts undermined at school is not very helpful though, and is setting in stone some unhelpful feelings towards swimming lessons in dd2 - once she has somethign fixed in her mind it can be very hard to change it (ASD traits)

lljkk Wed 27-Feb-13 18:54:25

I would ignore school assessment and just work on encouraging her to improve at own pace (which means you have to take her more regularly). I suspect school assessment is based on her apparent fear of water, nothing else.

If it's any consolation, DD was phobic about putting face in water until nearly 6yo & was swimming beautifully, like a fish, by 8yo.

silverfrog Wed 27-Feb-13 18:11:12

thanks everyone.

I totally agree tht swimming is a life skill. we are generally keen that she learns, but logistically as a family swimming is not going to happen for a little while yet.

she hates getting her ears wet, and putting her face in the water. we have strategies for working towards this, and I had many meetings with her class teacher when she was in reception to pass on hints and tips to the swimming teacher. unfortunately this year she has a different teacher, and I think a lot of what was being done before is no being ignored. it seems to me that the teacher regards her as a bit of a nuisance (from a couple of things that have been said to me by parent helpers). dd2 is incredibly worried about school swimming lessons - a combination of hating not being very good at it (she is usually a top-of-the-class-with-ease girl), and the fact that the swimming curriculum is quite pressured in a way - eg in the next couple of weeks they are beginning to learn to dive.

dd2 has come a very long way wrt school swimming - at the beginning of last year she was in tears before school, and crying all the way through the lesson. now she will at least go fairly willingly, and only breaks down if there are too many expectations which are out of her comfort zone. and I feel that this progress is being overlooked, tbh. she tries her best most of the time, and if given a bit of space to feel comfortable, is much less likely to be over-anxious.

dd2 has a lot of ASD traits, and can ver easily be overwhelmed by situations. I think this is happening with swimming. and I would like to help her overcome these worries, but I dn't think the teacher is going to be particularly accommodating unfortunately. the alst thing I want is for dd2 to be put off swimming for life - I am not a keen swimmer, but can do enough to save myself if necessary, and I have tried my hardest not to pass this on to dd2 - and mostly succeeded - she enjoys swimming with us.

we work at home a lot on getting wet, getting a bit splashed. showers are still a big no-go for now, but we will continue working towards them.

it is just quite frustrating that all the work that was done last year has been virtually ignored, and she is being labelled as non-cooperative and hopelessly behind.

her report grade is D3, where 3 is the effort - 'does not apply themselves as fully as expected' and D is the achievement - 'Experiencing difficulties and may be in need of additional support (I wish!). Achieving below the level expected for a child of their age in relation to national expectations'. This is on a card full of 1s for effort, and everyone else I come into contact with says how hard dd2 tries, how she always works well, wants to try etc etc. so clearly something is going very badly wrong with swimming!

Terranova Wed 27-Feb-13 17:50:48

I think compared to a lot of other children in the water, the fact that at her age she is currently having lessons is a huge step. We all begin somewhere. I certainly didn't think there were expectations? (I am not a swimming teacher but as a family swimming is something we are quite passionate about)

I agree swimming is a life skill. Will she happily shower? Start encouraging her to put her head under the water at bath time, blowing bubbles etc. These are games we started with our children from a young age, I know a lot of our friends children who are terrified of going in a shower.

Hersetta Wed 27-Feb-13 15:55:12

I think thats sounds not un-normal to be honest. My DD is 5.6 and in yr 1. She is definitely the exception rather than the rule. She got her 10m when she was 3.5, her 25m at 4.3 and her 50m just before 5 (on front and back). She is not happily learning butterfly and breatstroke and is struggling with co-ordination her arm and legs, but I'm sure she'll get there. They don't do swimming at her school unter yr 3 so I am sure by that stage her peers will have caught up with her.

goinggetstough Tue 26-Feb-13 19:37:37

I am a swimming teacher. All DCs are different so I too presume that school are talking about the level of the group and her position it in.
However I do think what is important is not what group they are but whether they can save themselves if they fall into water. I am not suggesting that all 5 year olds should be able to jump in fully clothed and swim to the side and get out.... but I do think it is vital that DCs are encouraged to get their faces wet (this can be done in the shower, apple bobbing etc) and swimming without goggles.
It is a life skill so although there are no problems being in the bottom group or for you to have aspirations for her to be promoted out of it but please do encourage to put her face/ head in the water and to become water confident.

DeWe Tue 26-Feb-13 19:06:41

She sounds like she's doing well to me.
At our infant school there's an outside pool that they have lessons through the summer term twice a week. Bearing also in mind that we're in a pushy area where a lot of people have swimming lessons from a young age, she sounds very much up to the average and beyond.

Dd2 was in the middle group in her year in year 1, albeit definitely at the bottom of her group. She did her first strokes alone during the lessons in year 1. The others in her group were just about swimming perhaps as far a half a width (5m).

In dd1's year, she was top group. In year 1 only about half of the top group got their 10m badge.

Ilovesunflowers Tue 26-Feb-13 18:44:23

By the end of year 6 they are expected to be able to swim 25m. She has a long time to do that!

silverfrog Tue 26-Feb-13 17:29:05

I really don't mind if dd2 is never out of the bottom group, tbh. we can't all be good at everything smile

having had a good google, I can only find broad expectations for the end of key stage 1, and dd2 is not that far away from those as to suppose she won't achieve them in the next 18 months...

so I am going to have to speak to the swimming teacher, aren't I? I really don't want to come across as a pushy parent who can't believe their precious darling isn't any good at something - I know that swimming is not dd2's thing right now. but I take issue with her being classed as so far behind when it appears she isn't (although she is definitely far behind the top of the top group, and I am fine with that), and I also take issue with her effort grade. again, I am under no illusion that dd2 is an angel wink, but the bits and pieces I have heard (eg from class teacher, or parent helpers) she is doing just fine attention wise, and certainly not playing up or misbehaving.

Naranji Tue 26-Feb-13 16:01:34

I don't think there's a national level of attainment for swimming! If its any consolation, dd1 was a crap swimmer at 5. She's 13 now and has three year 8 school swimming records :-)

Conversely dd3 could swim 3 lengths at age 5.

Building confidence is the main thing at 5.

silverfrog Tue 26-Feb-13 15:59:00

Thanks. No panic from me, I am aware of what she can/can't do and happy with where she's at.

I do realise some yr 1scan swim well, and yes, she is in the bottom group ability-wise but it is her progress reports I take issue with. According to those, dd2 is working at a level of more than a year behind national expectations, and doesn't attend as well as you'd expect for a child of her age (she listens well, doesn't mess around. She is terrified of putting her head under too, so does cry sometimes but is not the only one who does)

It is parents evening this week so gathering info to discuss...

There is no specified requirement for year one, and the general standard varies hugely between schools/ classes/areas. Many schools don't take pupils swimming till key stage two because of travel time/ changing, etc.

I suspect what she is is below the average of her class, which is probably dispiriting for her. Many year ones can indeed swim a width or even lengths! (Conversely of course some year threes can't swim at all). I would get her a few lessons- maybe an intensive course at Easter?

It's horrid to be "behind" in something like swimming because it can exclude you from lots of fun. But in general terms plenty of year ones will be at her level so don't panic.

Elibean Tue 26-Feb-13 15:26:36

Sounds perfectly normal to me! dd2 is Y1, and 6 - and can swim a few yards without floats. dd1 was terrified of putting her head under water until she was at least 6 - and is now a strong swimmer in Y4. One of the better ones.

I would take issue with the reports, personally wink

silverfrog Tue 26-Feb-13 15:21:23

Dd2 is having a few issues with swimming lessons at school.

I know she is struggling a bit (for her), but I am having difficulty reconciling what little information I am getting re: swimming (mostly in reports) with what I know about dd2 and how she is when she is swimming with us (not happened for a while, as have severely disabled dd1 and ds is only 7 months...)

What I'd like to know is what level/attainment is expected in year 1? Apparently dd2 is very far behind where she should be, yet when we have taken her swimming she is reasonably relaxed, can enter/exit the water safely, and is comfortable swimming about with floats. She is 5 - what on earthier is expected as a reasonable level of attainment? Surely there is no national standard that says 5 year olds should be able to swim eg 10 metres without aids (or similar)? Dd2 is ok floating/kicking on her front or her back, and trying to copy the right arm/leg movements for various strokes.

Is this really so very far behind where she should be?

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