UK CHILDREN ARE MISSING THE MARK ON SWIM TARGETS
- A fifth of British children leave primary school unable to swim 25 metres and a quarter of parents can only swim 15 metres or less without stopping
- Despite ranking swimming as one of life’s most essential skills and agreeing they hold most responsibility for teaching their children to swim, 33% of parents are too busy to help them learn
- Poor swimming skills and body image are revealed as other top barriers preventing parents from teaching their children to swim
- 40% of families go swimming less than six times a year and 1 in 10 never do so
- New holiday swim schools pledge to teach 4-9 year olds to swim in just one to two weeks
17 July 2017 – New research released today by leading travel experts Thomson reveals that a fifth of children aged 11 are unable to swim the 25m Government target and a quarter of British parents can only swim 15m or less without stopping. The survey was commissioned to mark a new initiative which aims to teach children to swim in just one or two weeks while on holiday. It also shows that despite ranking swimming as one of the most important life skills for children to acquire a third of parents are too busy to help their kids learn.
Double Olympic gold medallist and swimming pundit Rebecca Adlington OBE is backing the new swim school programme that aims to give time poor parents a helping hand running across 13 TUI Family Life Resorts this summer. The focus is firmly on creating a fun, relaxed environment that builds confidence in short daily sessions and then let children continue honing their skills simply by enjoying the pool on holiday.
The approach is supported in the research findings which put time in the pool as one of Britain’s top three family holiday activities. Yet it goes on to reveal that outside of holiday time over 40% of families go swimming together less than six times a year and one in 10 never do. The TUI Family Life team is so sure the approach works, they are giving a ‘two week guarantee’ stating that children attending 10 sessions over two weeks will go home able to swim*.
Explaining why she’s behind the initiative Rebecca Adlington OBE commented: “I want to see every child in the UK able to swim 25 metres by the time they leave primary school and using holiday pool time to build skills is a perfect way to achieve that. What’s more, a resort swimming pool makes for a really positive learning environment. It’s informal, totally relaxed and it’s all about having fun. Away from the swim sessions, which themselves are great fun, the kids will naturally continue building their skills – but they just won’t realise it. I remember how much time I spent in the water on holiday playing around. It naturally builds confidence and is also a great way to bring families together.”
The survey further revealed that despite not having the time to teach their children to swim, parents are seen as holding the most responsibility for ensuring kids learn – and mums more so than dads (23% vs. 16%). The other top barriers highlighted by parents were their own poor swimming abilities (16%) and body image, with 14% stating they did not want to be seen in public in a swimming costume.
Rebecca officially launched the holiday swim school initiative at the new TUI Family Life Bellevue Resort in Croatia on Friday 14 July, surprising guests with a special appearance as a Swim Coach. The swim schools will be available at 13 TUI Family Life Resorts across the Mediterranean and Canary Islands throughout July and August. Run by professional coaches, the sessions are 45 minutes long with two age groups to cater for younger beginners (4-7) and slightly older children with some basic skills (7-9). To find out more go to www.thomson.co.uk/swim-school.
* two week guarantee states children with no ability who attend swim school daily over a two week period, attending 10 full sessions will leave with the ability to swim 10m
About the survey
- Research was conducted by Opinion Matters between 23/06/17 – 29/06/17 and polled 2,002 parents of children aged 4-11 across Great Britain.
- All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).
- The top three barriers preventing parents helping teach their children to swim are not having enough time (33%), not being a strong swimmer (16%) and not wanting to be seen in a swim suit.
- Going to the beach (65%), going to the swimming pool (52%) and going out for a meal (48%) are the three top activities for families on holiday.
- The top five life skills listed by British parents are ability to read and write (89%), ability to count and do basic maths (70%), having good interpersonal skills (49%), ability to swim (38%) and having good computer skills (14%).
- 26% of parents polled could at best swim 15m without stopping, with 7% unable to swim at all.
- 54% of 4-11 year olds can swim 15m or less, with 37% able to swim just 5m and under.