Swimming lessons come to Bruche (Literally!)
7th January 2022
Final arrangements for swimming lessons week beginning 10th January.
This letter is to inform all parents and carers of the finalised swimming arrangements for your child. Some of the information below I have already shared with you. This information is coming to you today because the last checks, including fire procedures and health safety plans have finally been signed off by our pool provider this morning.
On the 10th December we sent out the kit list that was needed for your child to take part in the swimming lessons. We updated this kit list this week following discussions with our swimming pool provider. The latest update for kit is;
- Swimming costume (to swim in) (no bikinis or tankinis)
- Swimming trunks; short-like trunks are best (we discourage long swimming trunks as they impede pupils' ability to swim well) (to swim in)
- Tracksuit, dressing gown, jumper, cardigan, coat (to put on to and from the pool)
- Bath-size towel (to get dry with)
- Sliders/Flip Flops or old trainers (to walk to and from the pool)
- Googles if you would like your child to wear them
- Swimming cap if you would like your child to wear one
The swimming pool is situated on the school playground (large white marque surrounds it). The pool is 36ft long by 16ft wide and 4ft deep across the full length and width of the pool. The pool is heated to the recommended temperature for children’s swimming lessons which is 31°C (guidance from Swim England). The pool and marque will stay heated for the duration of the swimming lessons so time is not needed to warm the pool up each day. Safety equipment including arm bands and floats are all provided for the children. There will be two large waterproof boxes for children to place their dressing gown, jumper, cardigan or coat and towel in to keep them dry and secure while they swim. The other large box will be used to place their sliders/flip flops, trainers, shoes in. Steps (similar to those in public swimming baths) will be used for children to enter and exit the water safely. Children will enter and exit the pool one at a time. For children who need them arm bands will be fitted before they enter the water. When a child exits the pool a member of staff will be ready with their towel and footwear to ensure they are not cold. Every child will have a chair to use at the pool side if needed. Throughout the school day the pool will be supervised at all times including when the pool is not in use and the marque will be securely locked so no one can enter. The pool will be checked every morning by the pool provider, our site manager, myself and my two year 1 pool inspectors!
For each swimming lesson there will be no more than 11 children swimming at one time (some groups will have 9 or 10 children in them). There will be a swimming teacher in the water with the children at all times, there will be a lifeguard with up to date health and safety and first aid training plus the children’s teaching assistant or teacher present for every groups swimming lessons. A swimming lesson for each group will be 45 minutes long.
Children getting changed before swimming
This has been carefully planned to ensure all children feel safe and secure getting changed for their swimming lessons. As we will only have a maximum of 11 children getting ready for swimming at one time we are going to utilise the school toilets for privacy. The children will get changed in pairs in their respective toilet, this means in a group of 10 children with 4 boys and 6 girls, 2 boys will get changed in the boy’s toilet to begin with and 2 girls will get changed in the girl’s toilet. There will be two members of staff available for every group to support children getting changed. Once these children are changed the next pair of boys will get changed in the boy’s toilet and the next pair of girls with get changed in their toilet and so on until everyone is changed and ready. There will be individual boxes in the toilets for children to store their clothes in and these will be sanitised after every use. We envisage this will take some time to begin with but we feel the children will become quicker over the weeks. Key stage 1 children will access the pool from the outside hall door, this will lessen the distance children will have to walk outside to the pool. For our year 1 and year 2 children this will be a 7 second walk from hall to pool. Key stage 2 children will also access the pool through the school hall. They will leave their classroom enter the school hall and access the pool from the outside hall door. For our key stage 2 children this will be a 5 second outside walk to the pool.
Children getting dry and changed after swimming
We believe this will probably be the most challenging aspect of the arrangements but again we have planned this carefully to support each child especially our younger children. All children will return to get dry and changed using the same route they used to get to the pool. Water absorbent mats will be placed in the school hall and corridors to ensure no child slips when returning to get dry and changed. Once back at the toilets all boys will get dry and changed together in the boy’s toilet and all girls will get dry and changed in girl’s toilet. There will be two members of staff available for every group to support children getting dry and changed. Each toilet in school is warm and comfortable for children to get dry and changed in. When the swimming lesson children are getting changed the toilets will not be accessible to other children to use. If non-swimming children need to use the toilet they will use another toilet in another year group at this time – this will be supported by staff if needed. We have extra towels for children to use if they need them. These towels will be machine washed after every use. For any child requiring help getting dry and changed there will always be two members of staff to support that child. A Walkie Talkie will be used to contact the school office if more adult support is needed. Children will return their swimming kit and towel to their bag to store away for the rest of the day. Every child will bring their swimming kit home after each swimming lesson.
Our chair of governors, one of our parent governors and our Estates consultant from WPAT have all been into school to verify the size, location and safety of the swimming pool.
Finally, the decision to introduce swimming lessons is twofold. The first is that swimming can significantly improve children’s mental health. Being active has a positive impact on mental health including: improving mood, increasing self-esteem, lowering the risk of depression, improves sleep and reduces stress. People often do not realise how good swimming is as an exercise, because they do not feel sweaty while doing so, but the benefits can be significant. Swimming and related activities have been shown to offer benefits due to the unique aquatic environment. These unique properties will be helpful in supporting those who are recovering from Covid-19 and children who have struggled over the past 18 months by;
• Appropriate progressive activity helps recondition the heart and blood circulation system.
• Swimming focuses on controlled, rhythmical breathing which can support lung function and help mindfulness, relieving anxiety.
• Moving against the resistance of the water is a good way of building strength, balance and co-ordination. Swimming and being in water can help with relaxation.
This is a unique experience we are offering our children and the first time we have attempted to run anything of this scale. All risk assessments are completed and will be reviewed over the next weeks. Staff are fully briefed on the arrangements and procedures. We have also made a recording of the swimming pool for parents and carers to watch – this will be available to view through our twitter feed and on the school website this afternoon.
The excitement from our children has been slowly building over the last few days which has been lovely to see. We hope you can support us over the next few weeks to ensure all swimming lessons run as smoothly as possible.
It is important that anyone who has any questions about swimming gets in touch with school as your first point of contact. This can be done by telephoning school on 01925 815772, or emailing school on firstname.lastname@example.org. I will personally be checking this email account over the weekend. We are also conscious that sometimes inaccurate information is given out on social media which may increase parental anxiety so please do get in touch with school first if you have any questions.
Once again thank you for your continued support in school matters.
Mr C Jones