Swim lessons in all schools a pri­or­ity for gov­ern­ment

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS | YOUR GOLD COAST -

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

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