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School Swimming lessons

50 replies

Jacksonsisters · 07/05/2011 16:45

My DS started school swimming lessons last week, he is already a good swimmer and has a 20 m badge. I was annoyed because the swimming teacher put him in the shallow end and asked if he wanted arm bands, despite have taught him herself and being aware of his level.
Most of the class were the other end with one teacher. Am I right to think school swimming lessons are total shit!
Because even at the deep end the children were waiting in turns to jump in as so many, lucky forus not cold time of year. How can one teacher teach 24 kids??

OP posts:
Gentleness · 07/05/2011 22:29

Some schools are obviously substantially richer than others, or there is less pressure on local services. Swimming taught the way it is in the last 2 posters' schools would be wonderful. Impossible round here. Nice to know some kids do get a good deal.

SixtyFootDoll · 07/05/2011 22:34

Yanbu, ds1 is doing a 3 week course at school. He swims well and has been given floats to swim with.
I have also had to buy him proper trunks not shorts and a cap. Grr.

inchoccyheaven · 07/05/2011 22:42

Both my sons have learnt to swim by only having swimming lessons at school. They start in yr 3 and swim for half a year each year until they leave in yr 6. Neither of my boys were confident in the water before going with school but they can now swim at least a length without stopping which is good enough for me.It gives them something to build on.
Only one class swims at a time for half hour and there is usually one group (the better swimmers) taught by the proper instructor, and then the class teacher and the t.a. teah the non swimmers. Sometimes the class teacher swops with the instructor.
I didn't know about the material feeling hats until last year and only bought the horrible plastic ones before but now the boys have the material ones which are so much easier to get on and off.

BeerTricksPotter · 07/05/2011 22:42

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NoelEdmondshair · 07/05/2011 23:05

Can parents opt their kids out of school swimming lessons?

IndigoBell · 07/05/2011 23:08

I think they are compulsory (ie part of the NC) only in year 5.

BeerTricksPotter · 07/05/2011 23:08

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milocuckoomitten · 07/05/2011 23:09

No you can't opt out as it is part of the national curriculum.
Gentleness my school is not rich at all, the parents have to pay £3.50 per session although there is provision for the school to help out if the parents need it.

SE13Mummy · 08/05/2011 01:08

My Y4 class go swimming once a week at the local leisure centre. It does take a massive chunk out of the school day but they love it and the lessons are fantastic. There are 4 swimming teachers who assess each child every half-term and group them accordingly. Some of my class are learning to do different sorts of dives while others are working on getting their shoulders under the water. Parents don't pay for the lessons or transport, caps and goggles are optional and it's a highly enjoyable part of the week.

Three miles down the road, in a different borough the lessons are completely different - I know because I taught at a school there and assumed all school swimming lessons were dreadful until I moved boroughs!

Gooseberrybushes · 08/05/2011 01:11

24 early swimming children with one teacher?

Pointless and possibly dangerous. How many life-guards?

madhattershouse · 08/05/2011 01:17

At least they still try to teach swimming...our local school decided that getting a coach to the pool was so costly and time-consuming that my dc's will not get lessons! God knows how they will fullfill the NC requirements as none of the kids now get lessons from the school!

MollyMurphy · 08/05/2011 04:24

Having taught school swimming lessons with 20+ kids back in the day - I agree they are total shit. The worst was parents who would come, sit next to the pool and complain loudly that their little precious wasn't getting encough attention.

I remember teaching one class where I had 18 grade 3's who couldn't touch the bottom of the pool, couldn't swim at ALL and a small pack of their bitchy unreasonable mums would complain to my boss every lesson that activities took too long, that each child didn't get enough attention, that they were waiting in line too much. WTF? What is one teacher supposed to do? Send them all off to drown? Naturally the mother who was the worst also had the kid who paid attention the least and if left to his own devices would have been the first to sink like a stone.

Getting pissed just remembering it.

hillee · 08/05/2011 04:43

I'm not understanding what the issue is with a swimming cap? We had to wear them the entire time through school (plus the appropriate school speedos) - and at club training... I imagine it's about hygiene/hair issue? It would be like the average bathroom times a million... just a thought.

BeerTricksPotter · 08/05/2011 08:55

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ragged · 08/05/2011 09:35

Reading this makes me feel grateful that DD (quite good swimmer, actually) only finds school lessons "boring". Don't have most the problems people are reporting here, at least.

wotnochocs · 08/05/2011 09:40

'Can parents opt their kids out of school swimming lessons?'
Yes you can because if they have to take them off-site then you can withold permission.

bruffin · 08/05/2011 10:13

"ds1 is doing a 3 week course at school. He swims well and has been given floats to swim with."

I have been on an advance swimming lessons for 10 years and still use floats every lesson, it's part of the drill ie concentrating on your feet, then one arm, then the other, the do the complete stroke.

I learnt to swim during school lessons. I couldn't swim at 10 when i started yr5 and had my gold by the time I left yr 6, although I did start having lessons outside school during the second year as well.

The lessons I go to now are taught by the same teachers who teach my dcs in school lessons and outside. I ended up helping the teachers with one of the very nervous swimmers by getting in with her during my dc's school lessons.

OP 20m is not a "good"swimmer it is not even a length

spanieleyes · 08/05/2011 10:14

We have our own swimming pool (smirk!)

bruffin · 08/05/2011 10:34

DC's school used to have a swimming pool, but it needed £10,000 to repair it and it wasn't big enough for NC levels. I think the pool needs to be 25m so they can do their 25m badge.

I so was looking forward to summers by the pool but they couldn't use it from the year ds started and eventually it was filled in.

spanieleyes · 08/05/2011 10:43

Ours isn't 25m in length but the children swim round it quite happily! It was re-built last year by a couple of parents and cost us £800-which the PTFA raised for us! We are very fortunate in that it mean all our children from Reception up swim 3 times a week from May through to July ( and September/October too if it's warm enough-the pool is heated but outside). All teachers are trained swimming teachers and TAs/parents are trained lifeguards!

bruffin · 08/05/2011 10:53

I know their pool wasn't the right size, the regulations are that the pool needs to facilatate the child doing a 25m badge.Maybe dc's school wasn't deep enough.

280169 · 08/05/2011 12:57

i teach school swimming and while i agre is is not as good as private lessons I do not agree it is a waste of time.
i teach neck end of 500 kids per week, by the time they leave school I have no non swimmers.
my most basic standard is by yr 6 they swim 25m front crawl and hold basic safety certificate

i split each class into 3 groups.week 1 is spent assessing them, i look at technique and non swimmers look for how confident they are moving across the pool

the teacher and a helper take top and middle groups for first term as I feel I should concentrate on getting non swimmers going, we then rotate over the 3 terms so I see every child

if they are swimming for 1 term only i tend to concentrate on getting beginners sorted but try to spend at least a week with each group, however my lesson plans are there so it is easier for the helpers to teach correctly

helpers and teachers are given detailed lesson plans to follow so they are confident in teaching, i sent these out to schools so the get a chance to look at them beofre they come to the pool
the lesson plans are in 10 week blocks so for instance all of the schools will do breast stroke on wk 4 fly week 5 etc
each plan is appropriate to ability with a fun contrast activity for the last 5 mins of lesson, eg float tig or similar

we have weeks where we teach survival and lifesaving also.

we try to keep kids in the pool as much as possible, they will swim across in 1 and 2's so we can look at them individually then al swim back together.

it i easier on private lessons as you oly hve a small nuber of children and they are same ability or similar

as for hats i love them it stops wet hair in cold weather and hair all over face when swimming also helps keep pool cleaner, worth getting a decent quality one.

i also keep records and provide schools with records of achivement for each child, these roll on year after year so i can show improvement as they progress through schol, once they are in my system i dont have to keep re assessing each term or year as i know where they all are.

some children may do lessons over summer hols or just go on hls and swim lots making great improvements if this happens or a helper feels a child should move up or down a group they tell me and i simply re assess them to decide

as i say its not perfect but its not rubbish either and certanly not a waste of time.
For many its the only time they go to a pool and many parents cannot afford private lessons

mercibucket · 08/05/2011 13:03

don't put up with it if it's crap - start complaining - and not on mumsnet!

ours were fine. every day for two weeks. we all filled out a form beforehand saying what level they were - eg never swum, can swim with armbands, without armbands, can swim over 25m without armbands.

ds says the lessons were 'well good' because 'they did it in a fun way and let you do diving and stuff and at the end you got to do water games'

most of the class couldn't swim before the classes (3 could) - 3/4 could swim without armbands by the end of the two weeks

Gentleness · 08/05/2011 14:01

Milocuckoomitten - we weren't allowed to charge for lessons as they are part of the NC requirements. 3.50 per lesson would have allowed us to maybe take the classes separately so the children had smaller groups and more water time - that would have made all the difference.

I like the idea of doing an intensive course of daily lessons for a short period but there is no way that would work in our area unless all the schools signed up to such a huge change in booking arrangements.

And I LOVE that a swimming teacher would help make sure the non-trained teachers were delivering effective lessons by giving lesson plans etc. We were lucky to get a 30second conversation with the swimming teacher as the previous classes filed out and serious grumpiness if wanted to move a child to one of their groups.

Complaining might get somewhere if there is room for change in the school arrangements but how many schools have a significant degree of control over their bookings with the local pool, or the swimming instructors the pool hires, or what money is available to fund improvements? I would have agreed with anyone who complained about the lessons we were able to deliver and so would our senior management - but every effort to change things proved pointless.

Jacksonsisters · 08/05/2011 18:30

Thanks for your replys school swimming is clearly a very different experience at different schools.
Buffin - DS has 20 m certificate because our pool dont do anyothers. He can swim lengths 25 m easy in back stroke, breast stroke, butterfly but struggles on front crawl to get breathing right at times. There is no doubt he can swim is at Asa level 5. My complaint was how school put him in with beginners even tho his coloured hat should have alerted his swim teacher to his level. Hence my concern that the whole lesson was a muddle
But from reading this we are lucky we dont have one school teacher only.
I feel should be regulated more nationally, maximum 12 children to a group and proper swimming teachers imo.
And Merci I did fill a form in and stated his level. But if I hadn't posted on here would not have been aware of experience other school have.
Have asked school to move him to swimmers group, and very nice teaching assistant who accompanies group (doesnt have to teach - lucky for her) said she would have a word with instructors next week.

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