Kids miss out on swim­ming lessons

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

A lack of swim­ming teach­ers this year means some school stu­dents are miss­ing out on their an­nual swim­ming lessons.

School stu­dents go through twoto-four weeks of swim­ming lessons each year but this year the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion could not pro­vide enough swim­ming in­struc­tors and lessons have been cut.

Louise Miller’s daugh­ter, Isla, is in pre-pri­mary at Hannan’s Pri­mary School and only re­ceived half of her swim­ming lessons this year.

“This is the age group of kids that drown if they don’t have vi­tal swim­ming lessons,” she said.

“If they don’t know how to swim or even just have that safety aware­ness and they go near a pool, they think they can do things they can’t and have no idea how to save them­selves.”

Ms Miller said the school was not in­formed about the lack of in­struc­tors un­til the week be­fore lessons started.

“It’s re­ally un­for­tu­nate, my kids will get pri­vate lessons as well but there’s a lot of kids who won’t.”

Mother of two Lainey Gor­don said it was heart-break­ing hav­ing to tell her 11-year-old son, Charley, he could not go swim­ming this year, while his young sis­ter Amelia-Jane could. “He al­ready knows how to swim but my is­sue is it’s some­thing he en­joys and now he has to miss out by no fault of his own,” she said.

“This might be the only op­por­tu­nity for kids to go through swim­ming lessons be­cause some par­ents can’t af­ford pri­vate lessons.”

Hannan’s Pri­mary School’s Year 5 and 6 stu­dents com­pletely missed out on lessons this year.

Al­though it is not the schools fault, Hannan’s Pri­mary School Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion teacher Paul Sum­mer­field said it was sad stu­dents missed out.

“It’s a bit of a sorry tale this year, lots of kids have missed out and other schools would be sim­i­lar,” he said.

The in­struc­tors are pro­vided through the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and, ac­cord­ing to some par­ents, it is not the first year stu­dents have missed out be­cause of a lack of in­struc­tors.

Act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Statewide Ser­vices for the Depart­ment, Mar­tin Clery, said de­spite ef­forts to re­cruit staff, it had been a chal­lenge em­ploy­ing enough trained in­struc­tors in Kal­go­or­lie.

“Pro­grams have still run, but in some cases there has had to be a limit on how many stu­dents could par­tic­i­pate,” he said.

Mr Sum­mer­field said it was im­por­tant stu­dents in the Gold­fields learnt how to swim.

“Even though we’re far from the ocean and any body of wa­ter there’s a lot of back­yard pools and lots of fam­i­lies go camp­ing near bod­ies of wa­ter,” he said.

Pic­ture: Tori O'Con­nor

Paiton Songer, Ri­ley Winch­ester, Abi­gail Olsen and Blake Rozyn­ski, all 8.

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