Call for ‘top up’ teaching as swimming rates fall flat

ImageThe aquatics industry has united in a call to parents to go the extra mile in ensuring their children can swim.

With figures from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) showing that half of primary school children can’t swim, parents are being urged to seek private tuition to supplement compulsory school swimming lessons. But the emphasis should be on seeking quality instructors who are best positioned to teach this lifesaving skill, according to industry leaders.

The urgency of this requirement is one of the major drivers behind the creation of the Register of Aquatic Professionals (RAPs) which officially launches today (Thursday 19 September). Created by SkillsActive in partnership with cornerstone organisations from the aquatics sector, RAPs will provide an accessible list of those who hold the relevant accreditation to teach swimming. The creators of RAPs argue that there should be a greater emphasis on recognising quality instructors if children, and indeed adults, are to be taught how to swim effectively.

British Olympic bronze medal swimmer Steve Parry will host the official opening of the new Register that will push swimming to the forefront of the public’s minds and make swimming a more widely practiced activity. With ASA figures indicating that 39% of children have no swimming lessons, the qualifications of private swimming instructors will become more important if parents are to ensure their children can swim.

Steve Parry said, “The Register of Aquatic Professionals will go a long way to strengthen the credibility in the aquatic industry. We can be assured that those on this Register are fully qualified and hold the latest, relevant qualifications.”  

Created in partnership with the ASA, The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) UK and Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), RAPs provides a system of regulation to ensure that individuals working in the aquatic industry meet agreed National Occupational Standards (NOS) and best practice guidelines.   

Stuart Wilson, Register Lead for RAPs, added, “The dangers associated with water are very real. We therefore want to make sure that everyone can swim and has access to the right people should they wish to take up swimming. It’s alarming that the level of non-swimmers is so high.

“RAPs will give the guidance and confidence to parents that their chosen swimming instructors meet the relevant industry standards. Looking for private instructors can seem like a minefield at times but the process can be made easier by checking RAPs and seeking out local accredited professionals.”