Water safety plea to chiefs

By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 17 April 2014 Updated: 18/04 08:17

EDUCATION bosses have been urged to make teaching water safety in schools compulsory.

The call from Redditch MP Karen Lumley came after the tragic death of Richard Fellows, who died last month after getting into difficulty in the River Arrow.

Measures have been introduced by Redditch Borough Council including signs being put at the site but many have called for more to be done.

Mrs Lumley asked chiefs at the Department for Education if they would introduce proposals to change the national curriculum to make it necessary for pupils to learn the importance of water safety.

In response, Edward Timpson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, said the Government was ‘committed’ to ensuring swimming and water safety teaching took place in schools.

“Swimming is an important part of the national curriculum which requires that all pupils must be taught to swim at least 25 metres unaided and be able to use recognised swimming strokes by the end of Key Stage 2 (age 11),” he said.

“It also requires a child can demonstrate an understanding of water safety. Swimming and water safety remain compulsory in the national curriculum following the recent curriculum review.”

He added in March last year the Prime Minister had announced ring-fenced funding of £150m a year for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years to support the provision of PE and sport in primary schools, which was extended later that year to include 2015/16.

“Qualifying schools would be free to use this to extend their pupils’ access to swimming lessons and water safety awareness.”

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