OVER 2,000 Scots pupils are set to benefit from water safety lessons being rolled out as part of an existing programme aiming to teach children how to swim.
The lessons are being rolled out in South Ayrshire to 2,146 pupils across 36 primary schools as part of the existing school swimming programme giving all children in the area the opportunity to learn to swim.
Following the imposed pause on lessons due to the pandemic, it was decided in August 2021 to implement a designated week of water safety lessons in a bid to teach the important life skill.
Katie Campbell, Aquatics Development Officer at South Ayrshire Council, said: “It’s important that we all stay safe in and around Scotland’s waters – that’s why we introduced one session per week to be solely on water safety.
“Swimming in open water or at the beach can be a fun activity but it is critical that anyone who wishes to do so follows the correct advice and knows the dangers involved.
“Swim teachers will be delivering lessons specially adapted to include key water safety guidance including the Water Safety Code and basic skills such as floating which are needed to survive in cold water.
“Being able to swim provides children and young people not only with essential life skills to keep them safe in and around water, but the skills, capabilities and attributes that they pick up helps them to achieve their full potential in life”.
The programme is delivered by four centres in South Ayrshire including Citadel, Prestwick, Maybole and Troon, in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water as part of the Learn to Swim framework.
The national Learn to Swim programme was developed to help children of all abilities to become confident, safer and competent swimmers.
The next chapter of Learn to Swim is to build a legacy for Scotland – improving water safety, and, through working with schools and local authorities, giving all children a platform for success and to achieve their full potential in the pool and out.
Programme ambassador and swimming superstar, Duncan Scott first learned to swim in Ayrshire and has gone on to become the most decorated athlete for Team GB at a single Olympic Games.
He said: “In Scotland we are surrounded by miles of coastline and over 30,000 lochs so learning to swim is an essential life skill to keep every child safer in and around water.
“I am proud to promote water safety in my role as Learn to Swim ambassador – after all I first learnt to swim in Ayrshire for water safety reasons rather than to become an Olympic athlete.”
Katie added: “Duncan is a great role model for youngsters and has inspired many across our lessons to stick in – it is an added bonus that he started his journey here in Ayrshire.”
Out of 2,146 pupils, 1,675 could not swim five metres or complete basic floating.
Following a 10-week block most children are able to complete a minimum of five metres front and backcrawl, without assistance.
Over the first four years of the Learn to Swim partnership, it has provided lessons to around 106,000 kids, and aims to reach another 100,000 kids by 2025.