REPORTEDLY next year all Victorian children will have to be able to swim 50m by the end of primary school, as part of a push to reduce drownings.

According to the state’s new health and physical education curriculum for 2017, learning swimming and water safety will be a key focus, reports Herald Sun.

“Development of knowledge and skills relating to survival swimming and basic water safety can significantly reduce a child’s drowning risk and enhance community safety,” the policy says.

To help deliver this lifesaving knowledge, the government will also introduce the Victorian Water Safety Certificate, which covers the specific skills and knowledge that students should have by the end of primary school to enable them to safely enjoy water activities in calm and shallow aquatic environments.

The certificate focuses on water safety knowledge, rescue skills, survival sequences and the ability to swim a continuous distance of 50m.

Details of how the program will work have not yet been shared.

Many teachers believe this will add even more strain to an already over crowded curriculum.

Parents believe an easier option is to provide a rebate for approved swimming lessons to ease the financial expense and free up schools.

Share your thoughts below.

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  • This should be nationwide, just like all new parents should be put through first aid courses and refresher courses regularly offered. It can all be so expensive though, and I know that’s why so many families can’t always afford to do these things. Thankful that we are in a position to be able to do these things for our family.


  • Perhaps this should be put in place for all states?


  • I agree children need to learn to swim and to learn water safety. As part of the school curriculum, I guess we need to understand how it will be funded most schools have some sort of swimming program, but if the family can’t afford it, the students don’t attend


  • When I was a child we had school swimming as part of the sports lessons.
    The same way sports is incorporated in school, swimming could as well.


  • First and foremost it is not up to our schools to ensure our kids can swim. Last time i looked at what a teacher earned their degree to do was to teach our kids to read and write. I have been a swimming teacher for 11 Yrs and this drives me mad. We have our kids to teach them many valuable lessons In life and one of the most important is to take our children to swimming lessons all year round at your local swimming school.

    The school programs should compliment the program the kids should already be doing. I

    Kids need repetition to learn a new skill and swimming is something that needs to be done all year round to maintain their skill and water fitness. The school programs which may run for a couple of weeks or a term are just not enough for a child to competently swim.

    So parents, stop using excuses, get your kids to lessons at their local swim centre, ASAP so they don’t become a statistic. There are more drownings than there should be and there are also too many kids not learning to swim as they are a apparently “too precious” to have them cry just because they can.

    I would much rather have a child screaming in my ear in the pool which will eventually stop, than read or hear about their drowning in the news.

    Parents this is your responsibility!!!!!!!! so do something about it so your kids can be taught the skills they need of reading and writing at school.

    Just a hint for the cooler months. Take their pjs, dressing gown, slippers, beanie give them a hot shower as soon as they finish their lesson, they will go home and ready for bed after dinner.


  • In WA there is vacation swimming lessons for primary school aged children each summer
    My eldest is in pre-primary now and from pre-primary onwards at her school (and most WA schools) there is one or two weeks of swimming lessons done each school year as well!

    This was the same when I was a child in WA!

    How it is not done already in Victoria, I don’t understand. A little behind the times much?!

    The lessons are all always done by qualified swim instructors – not the normal school teachers. So it’s not an “extra burden” on the school teachers to have to also teach swimming.

    Very few high schools in WA (let alone primary schools) have their own swimming pools, so it’s all done through the nearnest swimming pool to them.

    Private swimming lessons are very expensive, many simply cannot afford it.
    We have never been able to – I wanted to do lessons with my kids when they were little, but having to be in the water with them, and not having anyone to watch my other child (when I just had 2, now I have 3 children) meant it was just not possible even if I could have afforded it!

    All Australian children should learn to swim though, most of our cities are on the coast and often we have rivers, lakes, dams etc to swim in as well.


  • Children in most state primary schools in S.A. have swimming lessons each year for one week. There is a small fee paid by the parents for each child to participate. I think this is a reasonable way to do it. When I was a child, even into teens there were always swim vac lessons at the nearest beach during the holidays. Maybe Victorians should look at Adelaide for a change. We have been doing it for years. I also put my grandchildren into swimming lessons at the local pool one afternoon a week after school. Even if they can not swim 50 metres, they can swim to save themselves.


  • I did swimming lessons every year at primary school and think it is a great idea. I can’t believe Victoria does not do it. I was in SA and it was a part of school. I’m now in NT and it is a part of my kids school. Every year they do a week of lessons but I also have them in private lessons at $130 a child however the NT government have a $100 sport voucher twice a year. The two in school use them both for private lessons in the first term and we do it again in the fourth term. I pay the extra $30 per child. The youngest not yet in school gets a swim voucher twice a year for $100 and at 3yrs she can dive and pick things up and swim some survival strokes. Australia is surrounded by water and every city is on a river and most country towns are on rivers. I believe every child should learn to swim I think it one of the most important things and if I couldn’t afford it I would teach them myself. I also do pay the extra fees for their school swimming which is I think $100 however the government gives us school money that pays for their books and school uniform which are all supplied by the school.


  • all children deserve to learn to swim, normally i would say leave it to the parents, however most can’t be trusted or just can’t be bothered to arrange swim lessons (also comes down to money). When i was at school back in the 1960’s it was compulsory to learn & i believe it must go back to that now. We live in a hot dry country & the amount of people who go swimming either at the beach, pool, river lake, ect need to know how to help them selves


  • I really believe all children should learn to swim. However, in a school situation, I just don’t know. It was terrifying when I had to go to the pool when I was younger (a lot, lot younger), and the water terrified me. I never learnt to swim, I think because there were too many children in the pool and I hated to have my face splashed. There was not enough supervision, so I made sure my own children had private lessons. They had no problems, but I find I miss out on so much not being able to swim with them.


  • I have no idea what the fees are. A friend of mine who go to swimming lessons once a week. You can start them as babies and go in the pool with them. At 3 years old they go in the pool on their own. At some pools they have small numbers in each group. The instructors are always in the pool with them. Some also have lifeguards walking back and forth keeping an eye on them too. I know some schools take pupils to lessons on week days. When I have been there a lot of the children were disabled and had their teachers or volunteers in the pool as well as a pool Instructor.


  • Swimming lession are expensive out of school. For school lession i pay about $45 a child. Out of school lessions are around $120 per child though the pool and the lession the government suport are around $15 a child and the you have the cost of pool entry i have 3 kids so entry is about $30 a day depending on the pool. School lessions are more affordable for lower income and also for working parents as parents must stay with lessions in the school hoildays


  • It’s a great idea to pushing swimming safety in all primary schools if there was a rebate for parents that will probably push up prices in there swimming fees because parents have to do it like childcare did. Maybe the council pools will be used & have a learn to swim program I do think it should be trialled in vic first see if it brings the numbers down. But as the lady said it’s more the preschool that drown, but they can’t have a preschool programme. Maybe push to tv commercials about water safety around pools. It’s a tough one


  • If I recall correctly, my children learned to swim during the school holidays with their teachers teaching them – from memory it was a 10 day course and subsidised by the government to the parents – but it was teachers who taught them to swim – similar to going on a school camp, I guess. It worked for all of mine, and the teachers wanted to do it as it was extra money for them as well.


  • I absolutely agree with this idea. I don’t fully support the idea of a rebate plan because sadly some parents will not take their children to after school activities, maybe they don’t have transport or they work or whatever but they could miss this opportunity. I have 3 sons, their primary school always did the aquatic week every year, but unfortunately there was no stipulation on how far they should be able to swim by the time they graduated on to highschool. I think a properly run swimming program is in the best interests of ALL children and families and running it through the schools will ensure that almost all the children will be able to take part and get the most out of it.


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