Swim lessons in all schools a priority for government
CHILDREN are never too young to learn to swim and we should never lose sight of the message that the earlier they are taught this essential life-saving skill, the better.
The sad truth is that the overwhelming number of child drownings in Queensland involve those aged four and under, which is why I urge all parents to listen to the experts who advise they should teach their children to swim at the earliest opportunity.
However, the Palaszczuk Government recognises that schools have an important role to ensure that children in our state have the skills they need to survive in pools, rivers, dams, creeks and at the beach.
Given recent media commentary it will probably come as a surprise to learn that of 1003 state primary schools in Queensland, just 18 have no current learn to swim program.
Lessons are provided for all pupils in more than 98 per cent of our schools and we will work hard across government and with all stakeholders to extend that coverage to 100 per cent. What’s more our children are taught from Prep all the way through to Year Six, exceeding the provision in some other states.
It is clear to me that some of our schools are already exceeding national standards when it comes to swimming safety and our aim is to help all schools to be better at teaching this essential life skill.
For the first time in Queensland’s history the state government is working proactively with all swimming safety stakeholders, including Surf Life Saving Queensland and Royal Life Saving and AUSTSWIM as well as local governments, parents’ organisations and schools, on strategies to ensure all our children have the benefit of the best possible skills training.
While there is no support from those organisations for the notion that compulsory swimming lessons are a simple solution, we will explore innovative and evidencebased ways of enhancing and extending swimming instruction. GRACE GRACE, EDUCATION MINISTER