Thursday, January 27, 2022

40% of children leave primary education unable to swim

MSP for Lothian region, Foysol Choudhury, returned to the Public Petitions Committee today to continue his support for a local constituent, Lewis Condy, who is highlighting the importance of children having access to swimming lessons.

His petition was last discussed in November last year when the Committee decided to write to key sector organisations to gather more information. 

The Committee heard evidence that over 40% of children leave primary education unable to swim and that there is a direct correlation between a child’s social and economic background and their opportunity to learn to swim.

Mr Choudhury said:

“We know that having access to swimming lessons gives people a benefit to their safety in and around water, and to their health, fitness and wellbeing.

“The Committee has heard that there are significant gaps in the provision of swimming lessons with the availability of facilities and the cost of lessons being significant factors driving unequal access.

“Resolving these inequalities is a matter of equality opportunity.

“Currently, there is no statutory curriculum for learning to swim in Scotland.

“We have seen from the responses to my constituent’s petition, there is widespread support within the sector and from the public for doing more on this issue.

“I am delighted that the Committee has agreed to keep this petition open and write to Scottish Government to find out how they intend to proceed.

Committee Member, Paul Sweeny MSP said: “

“Teaching kids to swim is a fundamental lifesaving exercise.  It is not a recreational activity, necessarily.  I think it’s important to consider it as a public safety matter rather than a sporting matter”. 

ENDS

Further information:

To access a video of the discussion please click here

To access the petition information, click here