Aquatic Education in Schools (NZCER)
In 2016 the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) was commissioned to assess the standard of aquatic education in our schools. It revealed that only about a quarter of schools (27 percent) provide a minimal or acceptable level of aquatic education; that is, a minimum of eight 26-30 minute lessons a year. Based on sector expertise, WSNZ believes that the minimum should be 10 lessons of at least 30 minutes duration a term. Moreover, these lessons should be taught by appropriately trained (swim) teachers.
Teachers agree that water skills training at school is vital so all school children can develop an understanding of being safe in, on and around water.
Over half of the comments made by more than 1500 teachers and other educationalists who responded in the survey, mentioned the importance of aquatic education in schools. Many referred to safety
Schools have largely borne the responsibility for teaching children to swim and water safety in general, with the New Zealand curriculum expecting students to have basic aquatic skills by the end of Year 6.
The top five barriers to providing water-based aquatic education in schools are:
- lack of a suitable or operating pool
- lack of transport to a suitable pool
- aquatic education not being a priority
- too few staff or not appropriately trained staff.