Badminton School hosts swimming lessons for local children

The Bristol school’s initiative came as Swim England published research showing that millions of UK children are not competent swimmers

A Bristol school opened its pool to a number of swimming clubs throughout the summer, in a bid to boost the number of children able to swim.

Among those taking advantage of Badminton School’s facilities was Little Fish, a local swimming group founded by former competitive swimmer, Gabi Watson, which held intensive lessons at the girls’ day and boarding school.

Bristol Penguins Olympic Swimming Club, meanwhile, partnered with Badminton to help young children from across the city to learn to swim a 25-metre length. Any participants still struggling were offered additional lessons free of charge.

The importance of access to lessons was highlighted earlier this month, when Swim England published research showing that 3.4 million children in England were failing to meet minimum standards that have been brought in for swimming lessons outside of school, with only 142,000 (4%) meeting the required grade.

The figure rose during the pandemic, with more than two million children missing out on swimming lessons between March 2020 and April 2021.

“We were delighted to be able to host Little Fish swimming lessons alongside our regular users, Bristol Penguins – Swim England’s Club of the Year – and Bristol Henleaze Swimming Club,” said James Lindsay, Badminton School’s operations manager.

“It was great to see the little ones making so much progress in such a short time. Learning to swim should be available to all and that is why we encourage clubs to use the pool.”

Read more: GSA president calls for ‘era of opportunity’ for young people

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