Research shows half of all primary school children can’t swim the length of a pool.
One organisation, Skills Active, is warning the “swimming crisis” will deepen and school swimming lessons may bear the brunt “with many schools in Lincolnshire needing to cut costs”.
The research was carried out for the Amateur Swimming Association, but Spalding St John’s Primary School headteacher Paul Reid says last term around 80 per cent of his school’s pupils left being able to swim the national curriculum standard of 25 metres.
He said: “To be fair, most of our youngsters get that far in Year 4.”
St John’s has 430 pupils but is limited like other schools to one half-hour session per week at Spalding’s Castle Swimming Pool and runs a rota so that time is taken up by two classes a year.
“Within South Holland, there are X-number of schools and only one pool,” Mr Reid said.
He says St John’s would take more children swimming if it had more pool time.
Spalding Amateur Swimming Club teaches youngsters to swim and its chairman, John Pailing, says the club has 80-90 young people learning or improving their technique at any one time and always has a waiting list.
Mr Pailing says: “From a safety point of view, it’s very important for young children to be able to swim.”