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To complain about DS's swimming lessons

20 replies

percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 21:01

5yo DS has been going to swimming lessons since September 2015. He had been doing well and had achieved level 2 last August, he was given a level 2 certificate i December but with an apology from the teacher that his level 3 hadn't turned up and was in the post, looking at the criteria he was just about meeting the level 3 criteria at that stage. The original teacher seemed to have suddenly left over Christmas and was replaced in January.
The new teacher has been hopeless at controlling the class and has given little direction. As a result DS has made no progress and infact regressed a bit. I was planning to move DS to lessons elsewhere without complaining as the teacher is nice, just a bit clueless but today certificates were handed out again and DS was given a level 1 again! He's absolutely gutted, he's only 5 but he knows that it's a big come down from being told he was owed a 3!
I'm not pushy and I don't think he should be rewarded for something he hasn't done but surely anyone who knows anything about children knows that is going to hurt!
I've sent an email but I'm paid up until the end of August so am going to have to go back being the parent who has complained!

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percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 21:29

Anyone have any views? I'm not saying they should have given a level 3 he didn't deserve but why not make up and print a certificate for 'effort ' or something rather than hurt a 5 year old! Also surely it should have flagged up to the swim school that all is not going well with the lessons!

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TeenAndTween · 27/06/2017 21:41

Where DD goes they try to find badges if they haven't got to a 'stage' badge, for example a distance badge or a water skills badge. I think that works quite well. They also make sure they are 'solid' at a level before giving the badge.

percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 21:45

Yes a distance badge or something would have been perfect in this situation! He's a bit insecure at the minute anyway and it's been having an impact in school so I can only imagine how much this is going to help...! The teacher has been truely but it really is a side issue compared to how much he has been hurt by this!

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llangennith · 27/06/2017 21:53

Our pool has a stock of Levels certificate in the office and just fill one in when the child achieves a level.
Level 3 means your DS can swim at least 5 metres.

percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 21:54

Thanks, I've looked up what he needs to have done for each level. He could swim 5m in December, but not now..!

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LittleOwl153 · 27/06/2017 21:58

I think I would have handed the level 1 back, saying it must have been a mistake, as he already had level 2. Our swim system awards the badges/certificates as they are earnt, so not everyone gets one each time which makes things easier, as they have the chance to get it next week/whenever it fits. We have stroke/distance badges as well as water skills, stages and other awards like survival so downside is there always is another badge to buy!

Ameliablue · 27/06/2017 22:00

I think you need to bring it up with the teacher. They shouldn't be giving a grade 1 when he has previously had a higher certificate. If he had regressed, they should be addressing that.

percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 22:17

Little Owl- I would have handed it back but DS hadn't noticed the level at the time and I didn't want to upset him in front of his friends, also the certificates were pre-named and dated (date was a month ago!)! The swim school is based elsewhere in the country and just pay for use of the pool a few times a week so I had a fair idea there would be no spare certificates!
I would love to have the nerve to bring it up with the teacher Amelia but I'd don't it quite hard without blatantly telling him I think his teaching is shit and he has no control over the class, I'm no good at confrontation! There is also a 4 week break now before lessons restart in August for another 4 weeks and I feel it needs addressed before he goes back!

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biscuitbadger · 27/06/2017 22:21


We had almost exactly the same situation, OP. I raised the issue, they apologised but it never got sorted (long story) and we eventually removed dd from the lessons. They were expensive lessons too!

(I'd be interested to know if it was the same organisation.)

percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 22:25

Was it Swimtime? We're in NI and it had been ringer as a franchise, it was handed back to the company some time last year, the organisation of lessons was a shambles for a while (and I suspect that's what lost them the last teacher!). They've got the organisation sorted (parents are actually being told the right time to turn up for lessons) but unfortunately the actual teaching is a whole new issue!

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C0untDucku1a · 27/06/2017 22:29

Stop going. A saimming teacher with no control of the class? Sounds dangerous!

GallicosCats · 27/06/2017 22:31

We found the large group classes at the local leisure centre to be hopeless, frankly. There was just no way in the early stages that DCs could get the attention they needed in a class of more than about 5. In your shoes I would stop the lessons, complain and find a better provider, preferably one that does ratios of no more than 1 teacher to 3 pupils. You are going to have to pay more, unfortunately - you really do get what you pay for here. Ours were good but pricey, and they had no qualms about letting weaker teachers go. If necessary, stop the lessons for a bit (taking him to the pool yourself in between to keep him happy in the water) while you save up for some decent teaching.

percythepenguin · 27/06/2017 22:41

They are pricy lessons with 4 in the class in a naice hotel pool! Should have mentioned that in the OP but another reason why this is unacceptable! I have actually booked a week's intensive course elsewhere in July more as a trial of the other provider so I can move him there in September if I'm happy with it!
I'm annoyed at myself too as it was the day after I'd paid for this block I decided to move him but feel that since I've paid o should send him until the end of August, it may have been ineffective but until today it wasn't doing any harm!

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biscuitbadger · 28/06/2017 07:12

Yes it was swimtime!

This was a couple of years ago now, for us. And we're in a different area of the UK.

biscuitbadger · 28/06/2017 07:14

Oh and after a break we found a better, cheaper swimming school with small class sizes and clear structure for progression for the kids. Ours is linked to the local swimming club.

purplehaze24 · 28/06/2017 07:15

My husband is a swim teacher and you must complain. If a teacher can't control a class of 4 then they need to retrain ! If you can afford it get your little one a couple of 1-1 lessons. They are fantastic for building confidence as your lo has the teachers entire focus. Also try your local pools, some offer school holiday intensive courses at a bargain price, you get one 1/2 hour lesson a day for a week.

Acdmad · 28/06/2017 07:36

Have you considered a local swimming club if they accept children that young?

My son, also 5, started swimming lessons with our local swim club last October. He is just shy of achieving his ASA level 3 and can swim roughly 15m backstroke unaided (the length of the local training pool). This is from a pure beginner (3 arm rings on each arm plus floats) in October. All his class of 5 kids are at roughly the same level and are moving up to the next class this week.

They have been absolutely fantastic and loads cheaper for more lesson time than the local council swimming lessons or private providers. The downside is the time they have the pool so it is early morning on a Sunday. More than worth it in our eyes.

Good luck whatever you decide but I would move him as soon as you can.

MiaowTheCat · 28/06/2017 07:48

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chanie44 · 28/06/2017 08:18

DS has been having lessons for two years now and is still at level 2, aged 7.

He had lessons at the local leisure centre, which a private company runs on behalf of the council. The swimming teacher was just going through the motions with the children and none of them were progressing.

Anyway, I complained to the councillor responsible for Leisure and said our children deserved better.

They gave us a new teacher who is excellent. She really pushes the children and makes them work hard and they are all progressing.

percythepenguin · 28/06/2017 11:35

That's interesting biscuitbadger, you wouldn't think it would be too hard to have a system in place to know what level children should be on!
Purplehaze- we have an intensive week like you describe booked for July, will give us an idea of the other provider is any better too!
Miaow- that's awful! I'd actually enjoy complaining about a teacher like that! She sounds terrible! The only thing that's stopped me complaining before now is that our teacher is very pleasant and DS is fond of him, I'd have found it easier to complain if he hadn't been nice!

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