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Is swimming a compulsory part of the curriculum?

(20 Posts)
Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 09:43:56

We had the usual swimming consent form this term which I signed without thinking and paid the money - only to remember that I don't want him to do it as he was constantly ill last term, and I think swimming caused it in part (I think he reacts to the chlorine, it gives him a cold and a bad cough for a few days/nights and he was missing school almost weekly).

I asked at the office today if it's alright for him not to go after all (only one session a week) and they said it is compulsory and part of the curriculum - in that case, why on earth are we asked to consent and why do we have to pay?

I really don't want him to do it this term - he already missed all of last week due to impetigo. He always got ill after swimming when he was little, too - he had mild asthma which may have been related?

Anyway not sure how to proceed.

MrsJamesMartin Mon 16-Sep-13 09:46:58

Think it is compulsory but you shouldnt have to pay ( if it is state school via the council run pool).
I guess they would need some sort of medical exemption from GP or consultant to say that swimming was the cause of his illnesses.

AppleCrumples Mon 16-Sep-13 10:00:31

Are you sure you are paying for swimming or transport? At our school they ask for cobtributions to transport. I think its part of the curriculum but surely if its causing him to miss school he can be exempted for medical reasons?

I would have a word with his teacher and then move onto the head?

Runningchick123 Mon 16-Sep-13 10:02:51

Usually You have to get a doctors note to exempt a child from swimming as it is part of the curriculum.
Lots of schools ask for contributions towards the cost of transport for swimming lessons - but they have to state that it is a voluntary contribution.

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 10:07:40

Thanks guys. There's no transport involved, they walk back and I drop him off there first thing, some of the kids walk from school. It's not far, half a mile?

The HT is new and already tried to get me to take ds to the GP for what he had last week, but let it go in the end as he was coming back today.

I don't think the GP will be able to confirm it either way, it is non specific upper airway infection sort of thing but bad enough to make him cough all night. I don't keep him off for a sniffle iyswim.

He has swimming on a Monday and seems to get ill by maybe weds or thursday, then is Ok by the weekend. It must look really suspicious.

He can't have missed school every week, it felt like it but his attendance was around 85% which is crap.

I can't work out what we are paying for if not transport and if it is curricular.

Runningchick123 Mon 16-Sep-13 10:12:12

A couple of things could be the cause:
He could be allergic to the chlorine and giving him some antihistamines in the morning before swimming might help.
Asthmatics can be aggravated by chlorine and it could be this that's causing him to get chesty.
Best to speak to the doctor and see if she can advise anything.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Mon 16-Sep-13 10:14:28

You think it's worse that he gets a bit ill but goes through life unable to swim?

Please rethink this OP. I live on the coast where lots of kids sail and surf and swim.

Every summer, there are parents who made a decision that not learning to swim was OK, who face kids in difficulties or worse.

It's a life skill. As in, it could SAVE his life.

*disclaimer, former lifeguard and swimming evangelist. If you've made other plans to reach him, excuse my post.

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 10:20:20

Thankyou - anti histamine might help, I hadn't thought of that... also I will speak to the GP and ask their advice.

He has already had private individual lessons so is able to swim. He'll never be a champion but I don't think the school lessons are going to help him improve massively.

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 10:20:30

Btw he is 10.

juniper9 Mon 16-Sep-13 12:14:58

Is this the same child who had impetigo?

Swimming is a compulsory part of the curriculum, and like all trips, schools can't force parents to pay. If there's no transport involved then I'm not sure what you're paying for- I would find out, personally. If he didn't go swimming then he would probably have to do PE in the session instead.

"Within the law, parents do not have a right to withdraw their children from this statutory element of the national curriculum." from

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 12:30:40

Oh brill - that saves me some bother, thankyou, I didn't have faith that googling would bring me to such a clear answer!

Yes the same child. So he's exempt today as he's still in the healing up process but next week he will have to go with everyone else.

I think the consent form thing gave me the idea that it was not compulsory. Looks like if it does make him poorly, we will need a GP's note to withdraw him.

Thanks again .

Runningchick123 Mon 16-Sep-13 13:07:15

FWIW - if your child can swim 25m unaided on both his back and front and has done water safety then he has already met the national curriculum requirements. If he has done those things then it is a good negotiating point to get him excused from swim lessons.
I am totally supportive of swim lessons, but school swim lessons are often a farce and if they are causing health issues then they are probably doing more harm than good.

AbbyR1973 Mon 16-Sep-13 13:07:30

Definitely speak to your GP...
Recurrent cough at night with background history of mild asthma previously makes me think his asthma is not well controlled. It should be possible to control your DC's asthma well enough to allow him to take part in swimming lessons.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Mon 16-Sep-13 13:11:20

I agree, my DS has asthma but is a member of the local swimming club and can swim a lot of lengths in a very short time or do a lot of lengths over the course of an hour, if the asthma is properly controlled with the right medication then there should be no reason why a child with asthma can't take part in swimming lessons.

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 13:14:46

Thankyou very much - he can just manage 10 metres but no, he's nowhere near the required level and honestly I don't think the school lessons are going to make this happen. He hasn't improved since he learned to swim over a year ago.

He hasn't had an inhaler since he was 3. He only presented with a chronic cough at the time, didn't have any attacks or anything.

I think we will just see how it goes this term.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Mon 16-Sep-13 13:18:18

My DS hadn't had any attacks and coughed all night, then one day he had an asthma attack out of the blue. please do see your gp.

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 13:20:26

That sounds scary. What would I say though? Can they test for asthma? If it only affects his ability to go swimming will they insist on medication?

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Mon 16-Sep-13 13:22:27

They can do a peak flow test but in my experience they may give an inhaler to see if it helps.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Mon 16-Sep-13 13:23:29

just go and tell them what you have told us.

AbbyR1973 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:00:54

Peak flow is probably only helpful if used over a period of time, particularly with younger children in whom technique is likely to be poor. Asthma in this age group is a clinical diagnosis, ie based on symptoms and examination findings. The key thing really is do the symptoms get better with the reliever medication. If the cough/wheeze settles with the reliever inhaler (usually blue) it's more likely to be asthma, in which case regular preventer medication may be indicated depending on the frequency and severity of symptoms. If the symptoms ONLY occur during/after swimming it maybe that only a reliever inhaler at the time +/- antihistamines if felt to be allergic.
Hopefully your GP will help you find ways to enable your child to swim, rather than avoiding the swimming entirely.
Certainly see how it goes if your DC is currently well with no night time cough at the moment, but if the symptoms return then I would pop in to your GP. One other thing- you mentioned lots of colds previously with the symptoms. It is possible rather than swimming triggering asthma it could be recurrent viral infection, which can also be triggers for asthma symptoms in many children. Swimming per se/ getting wet does not cause viral infections, but it may be an environment where DC's are more likely to catch them from each other.
Hope the swimming goes well.

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