Research from the Amateur Swimming Association has revealed that a third of children cannot swim by the time they leave primary school despite it being part of the national curriculum.

Department for Education regulations say schools must provide lessons to enable pupils to swim 25m unaided but based on responses from the 35 local authorities in England, the ASA estimate that only two-thirds achieve the target with nearly half of those pupils never being offered lessons.

Speaking on the results ASA's chief executive David Sparkes said: "Every child should be safe in and around water. We call on central and local government to show their commitment to school swimming by reiterating this expectation to schools.

"Swimming is the only subject on the national curriculum that can save your life."

Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in children and recent National Water Safety Forum statistics show more than 400 people drown every year in the UK.freeswim

Save School Swimming, commissioned by Kelloggs, also includes a survey of more than 1,000 parents which showed 98 per cent believed every child should be able to swim by the end of primary school but only 40 per cent thought their children would be able to swim to safety if they got into danger in the water.

A DfE spokesman reiterated the government's edict that swimming lessons are "compulsory for all schools" while also pointing to British Gas' 'free swims for Britain' programme and investment in new pools ahead of the Olympics.

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Posted 17/05/2012 by