The new data from the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), an educational charity dedicated to teaching swimming and lifesaving skills, revealed that despite 90% of parents agreeing it is a life skill, 20% of them have a child at home that cannot swim at all.
“Of greatest concern is the finding that one in three children between the ages of 10-16 currently cannot swim,” said Kayle Burgham, Head of Aquatics at STA.
“Especially when you consider this age group makes up one of the highest percentages of drownings in the UK.”
In fact it is so concerning that 75% of parents worry that their children are not confident swimmers at all.
Over 15% of these parents said the reason their child can’t swim is because they do not have the time to get them to lessons.
This is as the number of students being taught to swim at school has dropped by 50% in comparison to their parents generation at the same age.
According to an Ofsted report, there are 1,300 schools in the UK that don’t offer any swimming lessons at all despite it being the only sport that the inspectors said “can save lives”.
Another 20% blame the cost of regular teaching; a 2017 report found that the average swim fee at a public swimming pool in Britain is £4.24.
The data also suggested that there was a link between parents who did not like swimming themselves, or could not swim (25%), and those who didn’t have their child learning currently.
Burgham said: “There is a ‘missed generation’ that received little in the way of swimming teaching when they were younger, and this dislike, or lack of confidence in the water, is now impacting on their own children today.”
Half of that parents questioned said they wouldn’t personally teach their child to swim.
It was only last month that the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) warned that more children in England would drown every year unless something was done about current measures for teaching children to swim.
A spokesman said 1.1 million seven to 11-year-olds in England cannot swim the length of a standard pool. And only 2% of schools surveyed last year delivered the government’s recommended 22 hours a year of swimming lessons.