Teaching swimming in schools: Issues beyond drowning
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
This paper presents the first stage of a research project investigating the current status of swimming and water safety programmes in Western Australian secondary schools. Seven health and physical education (HPE) heads-of-department were surveyed about their compulsory year 8 swimming programmes, identifying the activities undertaken, planned outcomes, issues of concern and pedagogies employed to deal with different ability levels. The HPE heads-of-department indicated that they highly value secondary school swimming programmes and see staff-student ratios, coping with varied swimming ability levels, and legal liability as major concerns. Schools devote the majority of their swimming class time to stroke technique analysis and correction. Over 30% of year 8 students are, according to the HPE heads-of-department, weak or non-swimmers.