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Swimming lessons

(38 Posts)
gilmoregirl Thu 15-Jan-15 19:33:51

DS has just been given a level two certificate for swimming.

It says that he can do things like enter and exit the pool safely and Bob up and down and blow bubbles through nose and mouth.

The thing is, DS is 9.5 and has been going to these lessons every week since he was two months old. As well as week long intensive lessons in the school holidays and a couple of terms of lessons at school.

He can swim a length of the pool and I had rather expected him to be learning strokes and actually swimming.

I actually emailed the teacher last week to ask about his progress. She has not replied but as he was the only child to get a certificate today would seem an attempt to demonstrate progress but he could do all the things listed several years ago. He has recently been diagnosed with DCD and I have mentioned this to the teacher and asked how best to help him progress but she did not seem to think the DCD was an issue.

Aibu to expect some reasonable progress after over nine years of lessons at a cost of God knows what....

TeenAndTween Thu 15-Jan-15 19:52:22

DD2 is 10, has DCD too.
(Can't use a skipping rope, OKish on bike, poor balance, upper core strength, iffy fine motor skills. Had 12 weeks ice skating lessons, made least progress in her group)

She has had weekly swimming lessons in term time since just before she was 4, and we go as a family quite regularly.

She has swum a mile breastroke.
She is at ASA Stage 5 (?)
Can do all 4 strokes (butterfly, just a sort-of-length) and tumbleturns.

Are you sure he was given the right certificate? Sound a bit like duckling2 when maybe it should have been ASA Stage 2.

If not then this is appalling progress.

QTPie Thu 15-Jan-15 19:53:02

Look at different swim schools and move him?

DS is not quite 5 and has just started Level 1 (having worked through Waterbabies - since 3.5 months old, swimming with me, Ducklings Intermediate and Ducklings Advanced). I would expect him to get beyond a Level 2 by the next 5 years.

gilmoregirl Thu 15-Jan-15 20:20:42

It is definitely level 2. I was shocked as seemed so far behind his age and ability. Surely even if he had walked in off the street having never been in a pool before the average nine year old could do it.

Teen that is v interesting as direct comparison. That sounds much more like the things I would expect him to be learning at this stage!

So frustrating!

Thank you

SallySolomon Thu 15-Jan-15 20:35:20

By the age of 10, ds1 had been having weekly swimming lessons since the age of 6.5. So that's three and a half years and he was at stage 5.
Ds2 is 7 and has been doing weekly swimming lessons for approx the last 18 months. He's at stage 3.
If your child is 9 and been having weekly swimming lessons since a few months old, I absolutely would be questioning the speed of progress and what they actually do in lessons!

TheColdDoesBotherMeAnyway Thu 15-Jan-15 20:39:13

I think you need to speak to someone higher up - dd2 got a level 2 certificate before Christmas - she's 2! Dd1 can swim 400m and is learning different strokes, she's 6. They've both been going to lessons since they were babies. Speak to a manager and find a new pool!

gilmoregirl Thu 15-Jan-15 20:39:58

I had another look at the certificate. It is level 2 Kellogg's Scottish swimmers. He got tons of certificates and badges when he was wee but none for ages. He had things like ducking, frog, swan etc.

All I want is for him to make progress and learn to swim.

Feel like I should ask for my money back as they have not provided the service I paid for. I think that teen's message sums it up, a child of the same age with DCD who had had four years fewer lessons is mikes ahead (ie has made progress!)

If they are unable to teach DS to swim they should just tell me that so I can pay got suitable lessons rather than keep him going week to week and then giving him a certificate that a three year old could achieve!

Hillfog Thu 15-Jan-15 20:44:55

That doesn't sound right at all. There is a stage 2 class that runs the same time as my kids lessons. That group just do basic swimming skills and as soon as they can do 5m and put their face in they seem to move up into Stage 3. Definitely need a word with your teacher!

gilmoregirl Thu 15-Jan-15 20:49:11

Thank you for new replies, I am a very slow typist!
It is really interesting to hear just what other children have achieved, he really is miles behind.

What is frustrating is that he has been going for so long and made so little progress but they have not flagged it up. I have asked before a few times but was v much fobbed off.

I am a very keen swimmer and Palm very keen for DS to semi for fun and fitness but he is feeling down due to lack of progress as compares himself to,peers who are swimming lengths.

I think if a two year old has the same certificate I need to take it further. I must have spent hundreds of pounds on lessons!

He comes swimming with me at least once a week and it was me do got him to swim a length. I have shied away from "teaching" him as I am not a teacher but I wanted him to 'swim' as opposed to just splashing around by the time he was I think six he could swim that distance and three years later he gets a cert saying he can blow bubbles!!!

gilmoregirl Thu 15-Jan-15 20:51:04

Yes hillfog there is no mention of swimming let alone distance on the certificate sad

arethereanyleftatall Thu 15-Jan-15 21:15:51

This is really strange.

I'm a swimming teacher.

I would expect children to be on a stage for 1 term, possibly 2. Stage 2 is generally mostly 5 and 6 year olds.

How often do you watch him in these lessons?

arethereanyleftatall Thu 15-Jan-15 21:22:47

I also wouldn't compare your dc to another achieving the same thing in a different swim school.
There is massive variation in interpretation of the tasks.
For example for level 2 you have to 'travel forward 5m'. I have taught for one school where this meant 'any way you like even using floats, and you only need to do it once' and my current pool where the child must be able to do proper front crawl, with no aids, breathing correctly to the sides, consistently, before they pass. There is a massive difference between these interpretations.

Flomple Thu 15-Jan-15 21:45:42

Agree with different pools interpreting it differently but are you sure they haven't muddled him with another child? How is he swimming a length without having learned any strokes? What on earth does he do in lessons if not strokes?

Ours only get the chance to do lengths at Stage 5 but they are out of their depth and working on stroke development from stage 3, if not earlier. This is ASA and not the Scottish ones

Haroldplaystheharmonica Thu 15-Jan-15 21:46:50

I agree. I expect my two to move up a stage every 2-3 terms depending on the level they're at. E.g. DS1 was on stage 5 for over a year until he moved to stage 6, then 7 within six months. For info, he was just 10 when he stopped lessons having passed stage 7.

BarbarianMum Thu 15-Jan-15 21:49:12

flomple he's probably doing doggy paddle.

OP maybe book a couple of 1:1 lessons with a different swim school and an experienced advisor and ask them to do a detailed assessment and advise you?

GillSans Thu 15-Jan-15 21:49:49

How old are the other kids in his swimming class?

Purplepoodle Thu 15-Jan-15 22:07:46

Did you not notice while watching him have his lessons that he wasn't making progress?

StilleNachtCarolling Thu 15-Jan-15 22:26:57

That sounds very odd! My girls started swimming lessons almost a year ago to the day. DD1 had just turned 6yrs and DD2 was 4.5yrs. They began in the ASA Stage 1 class together and both did one block of 10 lessons. At the end of the block, DD2 went up to Stage 2 and DD1 stayed down to repeat Stage 1 for another 10 weeks as she was not at all confident in the water.

After they'd finished their second respective blocks, they both did an intensive course at the pool (one lesson each day for a week in the holidays). Both then did a block of Stage 2 (second lot for DD2).

So after three blocks of lessons (30 lessons in total, excluding the intensive course) they both completed Stage 2 and were awarded their 5m badges too.

DD1 progressed really well in Stage 3 - she did two blocks in that, also achieving her 10m badge, and has just started the new year in Stage 4. So in a year of swimming lessons she has achieved three stage certificates and two distance badges. Most of the children in her class are of a similar age to her.

DD2 is finding it a little more difficult in Stage 3 (I think mainly because it's held in a different depth pool and she's very tiny so can't reach the floor properly!). She's repeating another block at Stage 3 and she'll go up to stage 4 at the end of this one. She's the youngest (at 5.5) in her class.

I think you definitely need to be having words with the lesson manager and possibly putting in an actual complaint. If your son is capable of swimming an entire length then he's in the wrong class!! Neither of my girls can swim a length yet.

arethereanyleftatall Thu 15-Jan-15 22:33:41

Stille - it's totally possibly to swim a length even before you've passed stage 1. Many children can doggy paddle, or kick on their back for 25m before they have mastered any of the proper technique required to pass stage 2 onwards.
In the old days, you got a distance badge by swimming the distance; now it only counts if you do it with proper technique.

wyamc Thu 15-Jan-15 22:36:44

I think there are too many swim schools willing to take your money without teaching much.

We are on our third swim school with dd aged 9.

The first one - all well and good, kicking up and down with woggle, watering can on head but nothing else, for years. Lots of lovely certificates but no actual progress. Turned out they refused to put her up to the group where they taught the strokes because other people were more pushy than me and there weren't enough places. It came to a head when a boy two years younger than her, who wasn't nearly as good was put up and she wasn't. So we left. Then they offered to put her up.

We went to the local leisure centre. The groups were huge, quite cheap, dirty surroundings (believe me - a passing Dr came for a swim and reported them to environmental health), rude admin/reception staff who refused to investigate when we were double charged. We persisted for a while because the teachers were very good but the groups were just too big for them to get any individual attention.

Third one - seems good - lots of staff, very attentive. Seemed to take an age though for dd to learn strokes and be able to breathe to complete a width. By then could swim lengths and lengths of doggy paddle, largely because she was coming swimming with me and following me up and down. Only very recently has she mastered front crawl breathing and can actually swim a width of it - 6 years of lessons.

I think some dc take longer than others but you have to watch these people like a hawk. Some of them are very keen to take your money and offer not much more than kicking up and down with a woggle.

GillSans Thu 15-Jan-15 23:12:34

I think there is some parental responsibility when you put your child in for any kind of lessons. You need to check, properly, what is happening and why, on a regular basis.

Kids take ages to learn to swim when they only ever do lessons and never get to practice.

Both my dc's have been though swimming lessons and have progressed as well as they should have. dd (11) is now in a club, and ds (9) is at level 5. But this is with regular spurts of weekly lessons or holiday swimming camps and going as a family almost weekly. ds doesn't quite have the strokes sorted, but he's a very strong swimmer.

I think it's a bit crazy to have had 7 years of swimming lessons and not progressed, but not to have a clue why. Where have you been?

ruddynorah Thu 15-Jan-15 23:23:01

Do you not watch him in the lessons?

Dd started at age 5. One lesson a week. At age 8 she's now in stage 8, doing life saving skills and learning diving.

Ds is 5. He's had 4 lessons in stage 1 and in that time he's gone from terrified to swimming widths with arm bands on and jumping in happily.

Whatutalkinboutwillis Thu 15-Jan-15 23:38:11

My ds is on the same Scottish swim system as yours and also has dcd. He started lessons at 4 and has now reached level 8 age 7. I would most definately be asking to speak with his instructor if I was you.

Shattered2014 Thu 15-Jan-15 23:56:58

My local council pool will not move a child into the next group until they meet the criteria laid down. My DD would happily swim multiple lengths on her front once the lessons were over but because she hated going on her back she did not manage the required 5 metres on back and so was kept in the non swimmers group.

This prompted me to move her elsewhere and really wish I had done this sooner. All lessons are not the same and different styles suit different children. Why not have a look around?

ReallyTired Fri 16-Jan-15 00:33:31

Different swimming schools have different standards for ASA badges. Our sports centre seems stricter than most. Dd is the youngest at the age of five by two years in her stage 3 class. The oldest child is nine years old. Most the children are seven years old in ds class.

What is your son like with processing instructions? Would it be possible for him to have one to lessons with a different teacher. It must feel demoralising for him to be with younger children. Do you take him swimming? Are you aware of what he needs to work on to pass stage 3? Our sports centre makes it clear what aspects of stage 3 a child is competent and what needs more work.

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