RGS ensures youngsters don't miss out on swimming lessons

DESPITE pandemic disruptions and soaring costs, Ripon Grammar School is helping ensure local primary school children don’t miss out on vital swimming lessons.

Youngsters from St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School are saving money on coach hire costs by learning essential life skills in their neighbouring RGS swimming pool and have enjoyed walking across the adjoining playing fields for lunchtime sessions, says headteacher Jill Allen.

“We are very grateful to have use of the pool. It is a walk across the field rather than a long trudge to the new baths or coach which we can't afford. The children all love it!

“We are now on track to ensure all Year 6 children can swim 25 metres before leaving primary school, despite the disruption of the past few years,” she said.

More than one million children in the UK are believed to have missed out on swimming lessons during the pandemic, and there are fears this could lead to a ‘lost generation’ of swimmers, with many leaving primary school unable to meet the minimum national curriculum standards.

Mrs Allen thanked RGS’s ‘tremendous’ sixth form students for supporting Year 5 and 6 pupils, including those in the water helping youngsters who were unable to swim: “At the other end of the scale one child achieved her gold award and others silver and bronze.”

RGS director of sport Adam Milner said he was delighted the local community was able to access the RGS pool: “As a state school, we are lucky to have it and are pleased it’s helping more children to learn to swim, a vital life skill every child should have.

“We hope it will also help those primary school pupils who go on to attend Ripon Grammar School with their transition to secondary school. Hopefully there will be opportunities for other schools to join us in the pool in future.”