Every child able to swim

Our plans to increase swimming & water safety across Oxfordshire

In Oxfordshire, we are surrounded by waterways however only 65% of our County's children can swim 25 metres by age 11 with only 55% of children being able to perform self-rescue by age 11. Even more worryingly, in our most disadvantaged areas, fewer than 10% of children are able to swim. A recent report funded by Swim England shows that nationally, due to the impact of COVID-19 and school closures, 240,000 fewer children will be able to swim 25 metres by the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

This has to change. Here's what we are doing about it:

How we are tackling inequalities in swimming & water safety:

  • Active Oxfordshire is working with Radley College and other schools across the county, supporting them to open up their swimming pools and provide catch up swimming lessons. Radley College now has a fantastic partnership in place with The Oxford Academy which benefits hundreds of children and young people each year.
  • Above Water have been commissioned by Active Oxfordshire to work with 50 Primary Schools with lower swimming attainment figures to unpick the challenges they face and support staff to be confident constructing and delivering their Swimming and Water safety curriculum https://abovewater.org
  • Government funded Holiday Activity Food programme (HAF) provision and Opening School Facilities funding from Sport England will also be used to provide opportunities to our young people to learn to swim and be safe near water over the course of this Summer.
  • Cherwell have provided heavily subsidised swimming to families across the District as well as working with Legacy Leisure to tackle cultural barriers that Muslim women face to swimming
Sara Fernandez (CEO, Oxford Hub) said:

Through our community work with children and families we have learned about the challenges of learning how to swim, particularly for those who are most economically disadvantaged. We are excited to be working with Active Oxfordshire, Radley College and other partners across the city to make swimming more accessible to families and ensure those less likely to learn are offered support that fits perfectly around their needs.

To partner with us and help ensure that every child in Oxfordshire is able to swim and be safe near water, please contact Steph Hall, Children & Young People Manager: stephaniehall@activeoxfordshire.org