December 8 2013 Latest news:
Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Youngsters at a primary school where the majority can’t swim were given the chance to learn the life-saving skill.
They were joined by Olympic finalist and Commonwealth champion James Goddard for the launch of the ‘Make a Splash’, programme which means they will have a temporary swimming pool for twelve weeks to learn to swim.
Less than 5 per cent of pupils at Curwen Primary School, in Plaistow currently have this life-saving skill.
According to the Amateur Swimming Association, Newham has the lowest learn to swim rates in London with just 16 per cent of children able to swim 25m unaided.
Curwen Primary has teamed up with the ASA, Total Swimming and activeNewham through the programme.
The programme, which has received funding from local partner Active Newham, aims to teach 1,000 children to swim during its time at the school.
The pool will remain at the school for 12 weeks, with school swimming lessons during the school term for local schools and swimming lessons for the community available for £2 per session after school hours. There will also be crash courses running during the half term holidays.
Paul Harris, head teacher at the school, said: “Sport is a vital part of the curriculum and swimming is a key aspect in this. Prior to getting this pool, we felt that we were not providing our pupils with enough opportunities to develop their skills in this area which is an essential life skill. We have also found that this is becoming a problem for families within the local community too.
“The opportunity to have the swimming pool within our school grounds is allowing us to meet the needs of the whole school, as well as the local community.”