Survey reveals shocking swimming stats

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A third of UK children can’t swim because parents struggle with lack of time and the money to teach them - according to a survey out today.

Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) a leading educational charity dedicated to the teaching of swimming and lifesaving skills, conducted the independent survey in May 2017 with more than 2000 parents in the UK with children aged up to 16-years-old.

Kayle Burgham, Head of Aquatics at STA said: “Of greatest concern is the research finding that one in three children between the ages of ten-16 currently cannot swim, and especially when you consider this age group makes up one of the highest percentage of drownings in the UK.”

The aim of the study was for STA to understand the main reasons why children are currently not learning to swim, a key life skill. 15% of parents surveyed said it’s because they don’t have the time to teach them, 20 per cent blamed the cost and over a quarter admitted they don’t like the water themselves or can’t swim themselves.

Three quarters of parents in STA’s survey admitted that they wish they were better swimmers.

Also, despite nine in ten parents agreeing that swimming is a life skill, almost half of parents say they don’t go swimming with their children. The survey also highlighted that almost three quarters of parents worry that their children are not confident swimmers.

Kayle added: “The research has served to qualify our own insight into the teaching of swimming here in the UK, and two clear conclusions can be drawn from this.

“First, there is a ‘missed generation’ that received little in the way of swimming teaching when they were younger, and this dislike, or lack of confidence in the water is now impacting on their own children today.

“Secondly, this is further perpetuated by the fact, the amount of children learning to swim currently at school (in our survey) has dropped by half in comparison to their own parents at the same age.

“With a lack of school swimming, which we know is a national problem, learning to swim has become the responsibility of parents - and as the survey shows, many don’t have the time, the money or the confidence to teach them themselves. It’s a vicious circle that firmly needs addressing.”

The research by STA comes ahead of Learn to Swim Week which runs from June 10-16. For Learn to Swim Week, STA is working in partnership with the Scouts and hundreds of swim schools across the UK to help them promote the benefits of learning to swim and the importance of water safety education to young learners, adults and families.