G R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher Offer
Thursday 25 July 2024
 13.5°C   SSE Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Council / Swimming lesson proposal would see classes stop for secondary one and two

The swimming pool at the West Mainland Leisure Centre in Aith. Photo: SRT

COUNCILLORS are being asked to remove swimming lessons for children in secondary one and two – but keep classes for most in primary.

It comes after a review was carried out into swimming lesson provision to see if savings could be made.

It has proved a somewhat contentious issue. Parents and teaching staff were consulted on their views on the way forward.

A decision is set to be made at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee on Monday.

The council uses the isles’ leisure centres for its PE swimming lessons in the school day.

At the moment the Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) also offers ‘Learn to Swim’ classes outside of school, and these come with a cost, although people on benefits can receive cheaper sessions.

Children from primary one to secondary two currently receive six weeks of swimming lessons in a school year. But there is no statutory requirement for the council to provide these lessons within the PE curriculum.

In many cases this comes with a need to provide transport to the swimming pools.

Councillors are being advised to reduce universal swimming lesson provision to primary one to primary four children.

There is then a recommendation for a flexible targeted approach for primary five to seven in conjunction with leisure centre operator SRT.

This could be either for small groups or delivered on a one-to-one basis, and it could take place during the school day or outwith. The programme would be focused on children who could not swim by the end of P4.

Under these proposals it would mean secondary one and two pupils would lose free school swimming lessons entirely.

The proposal is to phase in these recommendations, with all primary pupils keeping their lessons in 2023/24 but secondary one and two ceasing. This would create savings of around £23,330 for the year.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


In the school year 2024/25 the new model would be fully implemented, saving around £53,510.

In a review paper prepared by the children’s services department, it was highlighted that although primary children particularly enjoy swimming lessons, not all pupils are a fan.

“There are a significant number who for a variety of reasons including a lack of body confidence and fear of being made fool of, dislike swimming and highlight it as a real source of stress and anxiety at school,” it said.

“In some cases this leads to absences from school or the regular production of notes to be excused from swimming classes.”

More than 860 people responded to the council’s consultation on the future of swimming lessons.

The preferred options from this were for primary one to seven only, and also a targeted approach – resulting in council officers proposing a mix of the two.

Under the proposals the delivery of school swimming lessons for pupils with an ASN would continue to be delivered flexibly to meet their needs.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.