Findon Swimming Pool which is an outdoor pool which was built in 1966 at St John the Baptist C of E Primary School for the local community. It is a non-profit organisation which is run by a committee of volunteers, predominantly teaching staff at the school and parents of pupils. St John’s is a pupil premium funded school which aims to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable children. This includes subsidised swimming lessons to ensure all children can swim safely, and know the basic lifesaving skills and safe water use before they leave primary school. The pool is open from May to September and offers the general public, children at St John’s, and five other local primary schools, unique access to lessons and recreation.
What do we need and how will this help?
The pool is self-funded and relies on donations, fundraising, private hire and public swimming fees. Over the last few years, the condition of the pool has deteriorated and it is now in need of significant investment to replace and repair the fibre-glass pool liner. This has been exacerbated by reduced essential maintenance and long periods of closure during the pandemic. To repair and replace the GRP resin relining with lane lines, will cost over £20k. We are looking for £10,000 towards the project, the balance will be raised from pool funds from 2021 and various fundraising events.
Pool Committee & Volunteers
The pool committee is lucky enough to have a group of talented trades people who can undertake many jobs around the pool. However, the lining repair is a specialist job and one that is essential to enable the pool to open and be safe for use. The school and community will also reap the additional benefits of lane markings, as these will assist teaching and provide excellent lane swimming opportunities for the wider public, enhancing health and wellbeing. Whilst there are other pools relatively close by, the added cost for transport to and hire of these other venues would make it extremely difficult for the school to maintain its excellent standards.
Lessons - Swimming Teachers’ Association
The school has close links with the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA). Between May and July 2021, the STA provided six, 30-minute lessons for 150 children from 5 to 11 years. Alongside general swimming lessons, the older children learn water safety, basic lifesaving and engage in team sports such as water polo. Pre-pandemic, the school ran some aquathlons, water polo tournaments and swimming galas. The STA also provided top-up sessions and an intensive swimming course for poor swimmers over a week. In 2021 we also introduced early morning lane swimming, fun family evening soirees and used the pool for First Aid Training. It is essential that the pool is in good repair in order to continue all of these activities which all support our key aims of improving outcomes for our children and families.
Pool potential and hire options
The pool appeals to many groups and has seen enquiries coming in from Scouts, Beavers, Sea Cadets and Aqua Aerobics instructors. Therefore, we are confident that once the pool is repaired and better equipped, we can broaden its use to a much wider section of the community, allowing more children and families to benefit. This extended use will also provide additional revenue opportunities and allow us to become more sustainable going forward.
Why is it important?
The number of children leaving primary school unable to swim is rising; the latest data from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) states that this is now as high as 1 in 3, an increase on the previously reported figure of 1 in 5. Additionally, 40% of children are not offered the opportunity of learning to swim as part of the school curriculum. School swimming is failing primarily due to the dramatic fall in the number of school pools in the last 20 years. It is also not a priority for many primary schools, despite it being on the National Curriculum Key Stage 2. Swimming is the only subject on the National Curriculum that can save your life and a key element of this is being able to swim a minimum of 25 metres unaided. Since the pandemic there is an even greater need to provide school swimming lessons as so many children missed out due to lockdowns and pool closures. The cost of private swimming lessons makes them prohibitive for many, particularly in light of the current exponential rise in living costs; for many families swimming lessons are a luxury that they simply cannot afford.
The pool itself enables healthy lifestyle choices, such as lane swimming and outdoor recreation, and it also helps to reduce social isolation. Obesity rates among children in the UK are high and rising at an alarming rate. There is strong association between deprivation and childhood obesity in the UK; in 2019/20 the prevalence among reception age children was almost twice as high in the most deprived areas (13%) compared to the least deprived areas (7%). The government has set a national ambition to significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030, and as pupil premium school it is a key priority that we work to give disadvantaged and vulnerable families better outcomes in all aspects of life, including health, wellbeing and education. Our aim, in addition to ensuring all children can swim safely before they leave the school, is to raise aspirations and mentoring projects for young people, such as a Lifesaving Club, team sports such as water polo, triathlon and linking in with the RNLI to make sure children are aware of the beach and safe water use.
John Roche. Chair of Governors. St. John the Baptist C of E Primary School.
Findon Swimming Pool is a unique facility that provides both a learning opportunity for our pupils (and those of other nearby schools) and is a vital community asset, in constant use throughout the summer. As both Chair of Governors for the school and as a resident of Findon for over 40 years I am happy to endorse this bid by the swimming club.
As a school part of our OFSTED-mandated criteria - that must be fulfilled in order to qualify for our current rating as 'Good' - is to have both a balanced curriculum and strong links with the community we serve. Since its inception the swimming pool has helped us to meet these criteria and ensure that our students leave school equipped with the essential life skill of being able to swim.
As a community, Findon values greatly this lovely facility which, because of its community-based management model, has been constantly, cheerfully and well maintained since it was first built for us by a grateful parent. Its demise would mean the loss of a valuable community asset and an enormous pressure on an already tight school budget to provide what would then be an inferior alternative service for our pupils.
John Cumming. Interim Head. St. John the Baptist C of E Primary School.
Having a swimming pool in the school grounds gives every child the opportunity of swimming in the summer term, something that the children remember for the rest of their lives. By the end of Year 6 all children are expected to be able to:
- swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
- use a range of strokes effectively [for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke]
- perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations
It is an essential life skill, that all our children attain as they journey through the school.
Without our pool, only one year group would have the opportunity to learn to swim, and they would have to travel to and from a public pool to do so. This takes time away from the curriculum and also places an additional cost on the parents.
Our swimming pool is such an asset. Prospective parents have said that the pool is one of the reason why they chose our school to send their children to in the first place.
We cannot underestimate the value that our pool brings to the children, families and the community.