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To complain about my child's swimming lesson

(77 Posts)
MissesBloom Thu 19-Jan-17 10:00:46

My ds (4) has just started swimming lessons with a new swimming school and we are 2 lessons in.

The first lesson I noticed it seemed to be quite a big class he was in, with most of the other children able to swim to a higher level than my ds. There are 4 classes going on at the same time in the same pool with numerous teachers at different ends of the pool.

Anyway this week on his second lesson they were using pool noodles which ds has used a couple of times but this time he was put onto his back. He is unsteady on his back. He can't swim unaided at all. He ended up struggling and losing his grip, went under the water and couldn't get back up. I've no idea how long he was under as it always seems an eternity, but was horrified that the swim teacher hadn't noticed and was in the middle of the pool with some of that other kids. There was her and a young teenage girl helping at that lesson. Neither of them could see him. He was in the shallow end but this still comes above his head so he couldn't just put his feet down.

I ended up running across the poolside with my baby in my arms screaming to the nearest teacher I could get to that he was under. By this time the teacher had seen me yelling and got to him just after me. She pulled him out. He was OK it happened quite fast but I'm really really concerned now because if I hadn't been watching him they wouldn't have known. They gave no apology or explanation.

My son is fine and it hasn't knocked his confidence. My question is should I complain and if so how? I'm useless at making a complaint blush and I always end up making myself somehow sound like I'm being unreasonable or being almost apologetic. I want to let them know they need to keep a closer eye on him as a non swimmer and I'm unhappy about what happened.

Or on the other side of it am I overreacting? Does this stuff just happen and should I just forget it and worry if it happens again? No idea what's OK and not OK really.

Rainydayspending Thu 19-Jan-17 10:04:53

I'd ask them to review his ability, the situation wouldn't have come about if they weren't expecting a bit more than he could handle.

PinkyOrTank Thu 19-Jan-17 10:06:07

That must have been very scary for you to witness, and I'm glad all was ok.
If he can't swim unaided, then I don't think he should be in a group lesson like that. Either he needs someone in the water with him, or should be in shallow enough water that he can stand. Rather than complain, why don't you speak to the instructor to see what they advise/whether they think the class is too advanced at this stage?

2014newme Thu 19-Jan-17 10:08:09

I wouldn't go to that class again if the teacher didn't notice your son going under

Lesley1980 Thu 19-Jan-17 10:13:20

Id speak to the swimming instructor personally. I don't think it happens regularly & a child going under, unable to get back up & no one noticing should not happen. It's a huge safety issue.

I would also ask the teacher if she thinks the class isn't at his level. My daughter started swimming lessons just before Xmas & she wears arm bands like the other non swimmers. She swims in her back, front, jumps in etc but always with arm bands. The kids in our pool use arm bands, arm floats & other things before going onto noodles.

Does your pool do smaller ratio lessons? We pay extra & our instructor is in the pool with the kids & it's a class of 4. Normal lessons are busy & loud & im surprised anyone learns

MissesBloom Thu 19-Jan-17 10:14:05

Thing is he is definitely not ready to be left like that I'm water where he can't stand. I didn't realise that this pool was above his height when I booked the terms lessons.

It was terrifying but thankfully he just cracked on. He could easily have panicked I would have.

Perhaps speaking to the instructor would help with regard to his ability level. I did explain before booking that he is a non swimmer and would need to be supervised but I guess she went off his age.

Lugeeta Thu 19-Jan-17 10:15:58

That is terrible, I wouldn't let him go back. If children are unable to swim unaided the teacher shouldn't take their eyes off them. In my child's class they make them swim one by one (6 in the class and there is also a lifeguard watching the pool) I would make a formal complaint. Are they regulated by the ASA?

lucy101101 Thu 19-Jan-17 10:18:19

If he can't touch the bottom and this is the only place he can learn nearby then just cancel his lessons until he is taller.

My DS had an incident in the water in the summer and it was terrifying and happened very quickly.

I certainly wouldn't be continuing with a group class as you described... I wouldn't be going back full stop.

Shakey15000 Thu 19-Jan-17 10:20:31

I would definitely complain. How scary sad I'm so glad he's ok but it could have really knocked his confidence to the point of not returning.

MissesBloom Thu 19-Jan-17 10:22:30

I did think about paying a bit extra for him to have a few lesson one to one. Either way I don't want to cancel them it's so important to me that he learns to swim. He's starts school lessons this year too and I'm worrying now that it'll happen when I'm not there.

Maybe we need to look at his ability level again and that's probably a less confrontational way of approaching the teacher too. I told some friends and most of them said they'd pull their child straight out of the lessons, so I was like confused am I not taking this seriously enough??

MissesBloom Thu 19-Jan-17 10:23:47

Ps no life guard. This is a private company holding lessons in a school pool.

MissesBloom Thu 19-Jan-17 10:25:36

Glad all was OK Lucy it seems to happen so fast and it is terrifying. If I was on my own if have grabbed him myself but had my baby with me...felt so helpless sad

Awwlookatmybabyspider Thu 19-Jan-17 10:31:14

Thank goodness you noticed him when you did. WTF was that teacher thinking leaving a 4 year old baby unattended and unsupervised in water.

Enb76 Thu 19-Jan-17 10:32:01

I found it was really worth the extra expense to use a company that have a maximum of three children in a lesson to get my child from non-swimmer to swimmer in a very short amount of time.

MyFeetAreFreezing Thu 19-Jan-17 10:32:05

Not sure I would be quite so quick to complain but definitely speak with the teacher or swim coordinator about whether the class is suitable for your ds. If he cannot swim he needs much closer supervision and a smaller class. Dd is also 4, she can swim but is in a class of 6 with a teacher plus a lifeguard watching the pool as a whole. The children are rarely all swimming at the same time and are taught to hold on at the side of the pool until they are told to swim, all of the children are out of their depth.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Thu 19-Jan-17 10:33:13

There's no life guard shock.
This is getting more concerning by the second

seventhgonickname Thu 19-Jan-17 10:33:43

Try a different pool.I had this with my dd when she was little,teacher didn't spot it as it was term end playtime.I had to go to the pool edge and drag her out.I was shaken but she was fine.The teachers couldn't apologise enough and the life guard was on his feet as soon as he saw me at the pool edge.It can happen even in the best settings.By the way he will learn to swim faster if his feet can't touch the bottom.

MrDacresEUSubsidy Thu 19-Jan-17 10:34:07

No DC of my own but close friend is a swim instructor. Non-swimmers have to be really closely monitored for exactly the situation you have just experienced. It doesn't sound like a very professional outfit TBH; from a risk assessment perspective how are they managing your DS as a non-swimmer if they are busy coaching elsewhere in the pool and he is not tall enough to stand in the shallows?

Can you do 1-2-1 lessons instead?

Trifleorbust Thu 19-Jan-17 10:34:19

Find out if there is a more appropriate ability group. If not, cancel the lessons and teach him yourself.

MerryMarigold Thu 19-Jan-17 10:34:25

My DC swimming lessons take place in a pool where it is all out of their depth (even shallow end). It is divided into widths until they are very competent swimmers who do lengths at another time. There are 8 kids in a class and 2 teachers IN THE POOL for the non swimmers and those who can swim up to 2 widths unaided. The teachers go with them as they swim and they only go 2 at a time so there is never anyone unsupervised other than those who should be holding on the edge and waiting their turn. I would change classes either to a pool where they can stand up, or to another swimming teacher. This is not safe.

CommonFramework Thu 19-Jan-17 10:35:21

No lifeguard? Teacher didn't notice? Non-swimmer out of his depth??

Er, I wouldn't be sending him back, and I would tell the teacher why. Huge safeguarding/safety issue.

I'd find a shallow pool for him to learn in, where he can put his feet down, and a smaller class. How many kids were in the class? We did one to one lessons for ds for a fw months, and it brought him on so much more than normal lessons. But does he need to learn at 4?

Sm031986 Thu 19-Jan-17 10:39:18

I'm a swimming teacher & we find that new kids do lose their footing/grip quite a lot until they have learned how to move in the water. It isn't an issue as long as the teacher sees it and deals with it. Normally we try to praise them for going under, even if it was accidental,so that they don't think there's anything to be frightened of.
The problem is that neither the teacher or assistant noticed your son going under. Given the set up you describe I would expect the teachers to be positioning themselves so that there is always one of them at each end of the tank and they aren't leaving children alone out of their depth.
I would definitely speak to the organisers. good luck & I hope your son keeps up his swimming

MerryMarigold Thu 19-Jan-17 10:39:39

I agree that 4 is a bit little I think. I started 2 of mine at 5 and a half and one at 8. The 8yo learnt a lot more quickly.

MyFeetAreFreezing Thu 19-Jan-17 10:40:49

'Does he need to learn at 4'

I think swimming is so important, learning to swim stops incidents like the op has experienced happening. I think all children should learn as young as possible.

Isitjustmeorisiteveryoneelse Thu 19-Jan-17 10:41:49

Ask what their HS policy risk assessment says about how many 'patrons' they can have without a lifeguard also present. Regardless of whether they're a private co in a school pool or not they should have done this assessment. Sounds like there were a lot of children there.

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