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Contending cowardice on swimming at schools

By johnboy - 11 December 2012 37

The ABC is having a go at the various arms of ACT Education which have been, through competing arse-coverings, bringing an end to swimming at schools:

The ACT Government is reviewing a controversial safety policy that has led some schools to cancel swimming carnivals.

Under the policy, students are not allowed to take part in school swimming activities until they pass a swimming competency test.

The new provisions are in response to a near-drowning at a carnival earlier this year.

Education Minister Joy Burch says education officials will consult with the community about the best way to ensure student safety.

“This policy is about trying to find the right balance between how do we ensure to the best we can that children are safe at a water activity but at the same time making sure that kids are encouraged to participate,” she said.

Kids go to school to learn things, if we’re leaving swimming to the parents why have schools at all?

What’s Your opinion?


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Contending cowardice on swimming at schools
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Piratepete 3:03 pm 31 Jan 13

We have a 4 1/2 year old and a 2 1/2 year old so have been managing on one income for 4 1/2 years. We pay $18 per 1/2 hour lesson for each of our kids to learn to swim. That is the going rate for private lessons. It is a struggle to afford it but we know the kids need to know how to swim. Both kids started at 6 months.

It also takes at least 1 1/2 hours out of the day. A lot of families cannot afford these monetary and time costs so therefore many kids aren’t learning to swim. It’s not because parents don’t want them to learn.

As a child growing up in Canberra in the 80’s I had swimming at school and got all my proficiency badges.

Conan of Cooma 2:58 pm 12 Dec 12

johnboy said :

Should children die because they’re unlucky enough to have crap parents?

If it gets the laws and legislation changed for the greater good, then yes. It seems the only way to get a response these days is to do something extreme. Kids dying is pretty extreme. They’d get s*** fixed quite soon if it happened more often.

Perhaps you are also suggesting that people with early 20th century communicable diseases should not have died, thusly destorying the impetus to have these diseases treated?

breda 10:49 am 12 Dec 12

It is worth noting, too, that not all parents can swim, so they are not in a position to teach their kids. Immigrants from inland parts of Asia and Europe often have never learned to swim.

When I went to school in NSW, in neolithic times, every kid had free swimming lessons via the school from Year 5 onwards, once a week during summer. You just had to keep going for as long as it took to get a proficiency certificate. Also, lifesaving was a sport option so people who liked swimming could go on and get their Bronze Medallion and learn advanced resuscitation etc.

I don’t accept that it’s a budget issue, as education budgets were much less when I was at school. It’s simply a matter of priorities.

Learning basic survival skills in the water is literally a matter of life and death. I can’t believe that kids are not learning it at school, while things like social media and shiny electronic toys have funds lavished on them.

dtc 10:03 am 12 Dec 12

Don’t assume kids can learn to swim easily or by the time they are in primary school. My son (who has a learning disability) has had 7 years of swimming lessons and can only just swim 25m. And you may have noticed that Australia now has plenty of kids coming from backgrounds where no one learns to swim (ever tried to find a pool in China?).

Its got nothing to do with focus on work or chasing the dollars. Schools have to deal with all of these issues, they can’t simply say ‘oh, parents, you should have done better’. If it was just one or two kids, then they can deal with it; but when its 10% (or probably 30%) of kids in a 600 child school, thats a lot of issues.

crackerpants 9:50 am 12 Dec 12

steveu said :

Thumper said :

Got to admit, I’m at a loss as well as to why parents are not teaching their kids to swim.

I would have thought it was one of the first things you do as a parent when you introduce your children to water, which is pretty much every summer.

In my opinion it is most certianly not the responsibility of the education department.

And just on that score, kids learn to swim very quickly, unlike adults.

Its a reflection on our current society that people are so focused on work, chasing the dollars, keeping up with the Joneses etc. and rushing their kids to activities back and forth they forget to spend time with their kids.

Breathe people. Kids grow up real quick. Take time to spend time with them, and you may even have time to have fun with them teaching them to swim.

I think its frightening how little time people get to spend time with thier kids (for whatever reason). No wonder families are breaking up in epidemic proportions, behaviour of kids is pretty shocking nowadays (Im not saying there were not misbehaving kids through all generations, but you have to admit this generation is kinda ‘special’).

But swimming is one of the “activities” you mention above, that would require much rushing back and forth. As a family, we prize our time together as a family above all else – we spend our weekends together (yes, even the housework) and lots of gardening and general mucking around outside. We’ve been reluctant to start organised activities, particularly with the kids in daycare 3 days a week – that seems more than enough for them. But with our eldest now 4 and starting preschool next year, yes, we will be taking the plunge, if you will, into swimming classes and other activities. I admit that we’ve been remiss in not starting swimming clsses before now, but we don’t have a pool, nor do we know anyone with a pool, so prompts have been few and far between. We have a bathtub. The last time we took the kids into a pool was in winter last year on a family holiday to FNQ.

On a more general note, I’ve always found the lack of pools in Australian schools surprising. I grew up in NZ, and all schools (as far as I’m aware…I was 10 when we left) had a pool. We had a swimming lesson every day throughout summer, and “free swimming” every lunchtime.

miz 8:35 am 12 Dec 12

Thumper said: ‘I’m at a loss as well as to why parents are not teaching their kids to swim . . .’
It costs the things some parents have little of: money and time. Put simply, it’s hard for single income families to manage financially in Canberra, full stop. I personally recall having to go without other essentials on a regular basis (eg going without haircuts and replacement underwear, continuing to wear shoes with holes, living on ‘what remains in the pantry’ – mainly pasta and sardines – for the fortnight) to get my three taught to swim for a couple of terms. I chose to do this – maybe because I am Australian-born and ‘get’ the need for swimming skills. However, others could easily prioritise differently, rationalising that they will do so when they can afford it. Similarly, I couldn’t afford to get my daughter, who was dead keen on playing football (soccer), into the sport until she was 12 (her younger years coincided with the HIH difficulty which made registration astronomical). During those years, school excursions and extras were difficult, especially if not given at least two weeks to put it in the budget. Even an unexpected $5 expense would throw things out and put me in a panic. It’s humiliating being unable to afford essentials, but parents will sacrifice everything for their kids, so, you wear it and keep smiling so your kids don’t know how hard it really is. People who have not ‘been there’ do not understand this.
The trouble is, there is an ideal ‘window’ for getting kids swimming confidently – I would say early to mid primary school – and you really can’t put it off indefinitely.
Please forgive the ramblings, but I do believe that the expensiveness of Canberra results in people having to sacrifice ‘essentials’ like swimming lessons.

steveu 6:32 am 12 Dec 12

Thumper said :

Got to admit, I’m at a loss as well as to why parents are not teaching their kids to swim.

I would have thought it was one of the first things you do as a parent when you introduce your children to water, which is pretty much every summer.

In my opinion it is most certianly not the responsibility of the education department.

And just on that score, kids learn to swim very quickly, unlike adults.

Its a reflection on our current society that people are so focused on work, chasing the dollars, keeping up with the Joneses etc. and rushing their kids to activities back and forth they forget to spend time with their kids.

Breathe people. Kids grow up real quick. Take time to spend time with them, and you may even have time to have fun with them teaching them to swim.

I think its frightening how little time people get to spend time with thier kids (for whatever reason). No wonder families are breaking up in epidemic proportions, behaviour of kids is pretty shocking nowadays (Im not saying there were not misbehaving kids through all generations, but you have to admit this generation is kinda ‘special’).

keepitup 10:37 pm 11 Dec 12

I can see the day coming when there won’t be any public swimming pools.

sepi 10:08 pm 11 Dec 12

We just got a 6 page exam – I mean permission slip – for school swimming carnival – they start it off by saying it is a new govt requirement that we have to fill in all this stuff. It is red tape gone crazy. Soon they will have to employ a full time admin person to manage the filing generated by these permission slip booklets.

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:42 pm 11 Dec 12

Should children die because they’re unlucky enough to have crap parents?

No. And that’s why they’re not allowed in the pool.

grunge_hippy 8:22 pm 11 Dec 12

this policy has been around for at least 2 years. Don’t get all snarky at Joy, she’s inherited this from Barr and the other guy.

kakosi 7:59 pm 11 Dec 12

johnboy said :

Should children die because they’re unlucky enough to have crap parents?

Can the school system afford to pay for swimming lessons for all children? It’s an important question given that schools are currently claiming they don’t have adequate funding.

Parents who can’t afford swimming lessons are not necessarily crap parents.

With swimming carnivals schools usually separate the non-swimmers from the swimmers and they don’t allow non-swimmers out of the shallow end of the pool where they have extra staff to supervise set activities (at least this was my experience as a former school teacher). Not all schools are equal of course.

It doesn’t take long to drown.

Thumper 7:56 pm 11 Dec 12

johnboy said :

Should children die because they’re unlucky enough to have crap parents?

Of course not, and you do have a point, however, at what stage do we take away parenting completely?

Thumper 7:17 pm 11 Dec 12

Got to admit, I’m at a loss as well as to why parents are not teaching their kids to swim.

I would have thought it was one of the first things you do as a parent when you introduce your children to water, which is pretty much every summer.

In my opinion it is most certianly not the responsibility of the education department.

And just on that score, kids learn to swim very quickly, unlike adults.

    johnboy 7:19 pm 11 Dec 12

    Should children die because they’re unlucky enough to have crap parents?

farnarkler 7:01 pm 11 Dec 12

In my day in the mid 80’s the swimming carnival was used to pick the team that would then compete in the ASC and the Belconnen Zone. Ultimately the ACT swimming team would be chosen from the best of those and the Southern Zone. If a child at a school, that has banned their carnival, is the best in Australia for their stroke and distance, how do they get to compete if they can’t get to the ACT finals?? This is sheer madness. Anyway, if a child can’t swim they shouldn’t be in the serious events.

Duffbowl 6:58 pm 11 Dec 12

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

You people amaze me.

Thank you, and I haven’t even disrobed yet…

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