National curriculum swimming and water safety programme and PE programme of study

The national curriculum PE programme of study

Swimming lessons

Swimming and water safety instruction must be provided in either key stage 1 or  2.

Schools should provide sufficient swimming opportunities to ensure all pupils make progress and achieve their very best in swimming and water safety. This includes those pupils with special educational needs, those with a disability or impairment and those whose first language is not English.

The requirement is for all year 6 pupils to meet the statutory minimum standard of capability and confidence in swimming and safe self-rescue, as set out in the national curriculum.

The three minimum requirements are that by the time they’re ready to leave key stage 2 every child is able to:

  • swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • use a range of strokes effectively
  • perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations