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Upham Church of England Aided Primary School

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Is swimming taught at Upham School?

Swimming is an important part of our school curriculum and is taught within Year 3 and Year 4 (Class 3). We take the children to a local pool once a week for a session across the term. At the end of the term everyone is presented with a certificate detailing their progress and achievement.


How well do children learn?

We use our own school-specific system of assessment for system, based of the National Curriculum minimum Requirement for swimming which is to be able to.


  • swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • use a range of strokes effectively
  • perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations


Most of our children are able to exceed these basic standards, hence why our assessment system develops skills further. Those individuals who have not achieved the standard by the end of Year 4 are targeted through Class 4 with some use of Sports Premium Funding used for this purpose. 


Here is an overview of how our current and previous Year 6 cohorts have achieved. Different cohorts of children have different prior experience and physical needs so performance varies. However, the impact of COVID, where pools were closed for significant periods of time has had a legacy impact on Year 6 cohorts 2022 and 2023 which will be evident over time:

Standard of Swimming in Current Year 6 Cohort

Within our current Year 6 (during the academic year 2022/23), from the point of their last swimming lessons:

54% could swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25m

54% could use a range of strokes effectively

85% could perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations

What is taught?

We teach children swimming and water-safety skills, including:

  • Skill elements of the four strokes (front-crawl, back-stroke, breast-stroke and butterfly).
  • Using swimming skills with pace with appropriate breathing.
  • Other swimming skills such as sculling and underwater swimming. 
  • Safely entering deep water.
  • General pool safety.
  • Simple survival and life-saving skills and understanding.
  • Developing fitness and stamina.


How do we teach?

Children will start with a variety of different experiences. Many will have already had private lessons outside of school and may be highly proficient. Others will had had limited or no experience of swimming and are potentially quite frightened of the water. We therefore use a team of adults flexibly to teach the Class in order to offer what each child needs. Mr Woolley our headteacher has received prior swimming teaching training and accompanies - this requires some 'shuffling around' of teachers back at school but means we can use our staff strengths constructively. Some of our learning support assistants also join the team, meaning we have a very low ratio of children to adults.


Can children further develop and challenge their skills and interests through competitions?

As is our commitment to providing extensive sporting and competitive experiences for children, we actively encourage participation in swimming competitions - galas. In the academic years 2021 / 2022 we entered children from Year 3 to 6 into swimming galas, some from the local area, others in Winchester at a county level. At this most challenging county  level, some strong individual performances were evident with 4th and 2nd place finishes. One of these children has gone onto join a county swimming club to join another Year 6 who regularly competes for her club.