Swim School Makes a Splash

A range of new water safety resources have been made available to NSW public school students to help them stay safe over the summer.

After a significant rise in drownings across Australia in 2020/21, and with limited access to swimming lessons due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the NSW Department of Education’s School Sport Unit developed the ‘Let’s Be Water Safe’ program.

It features child-narrated animations and a range of interactive teaching resources pitched towards primary school students.

“With COVID disruptions a big feature of the last two years, there have been limited opportunities for students to have consistent, organised swimming lessons,” said Steve Clancy, School Swimming Operations Officer.

“While it hasn’t been the greatest of summers to date – the reality is as soon as we get a run of hot weather, kids will be desperate to hit the beach, pool or their local waterway.

“Our range of swimming and water safety resources are designed to keep them safe and plug a learning gap, particularly for primary school students.

“The program has already been embraced by a substantial number of schools, and as the year winds down we expect plenty more to use the resources.”

Parents, carers and children have access to the program through the Department’s education hub; the short, animated series in particular something that could be watched ahead of a trip to the pool, beach or local waterway.

The ‘Let’s Be Water Safe’ resources have been developed by the School Sports Unit to support teachers in delivering quality teaching and learning that address key water safety messages including:

  • How to stay safe in and around the water
  • Personal safety
  • Aquatic settings
  • Personal survival
  • Rescue safely.

The program is a timely initiative following the release of the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2021 that painted a concerning picture about recent water safety in Australia.

According to the report, drownings across the country during the 12 months to the end of June 2021 increased by 20 per cent from the previous year. Of the 294 deaths during that time, 99 were in NSW.

Nationally there were 14 deaths in the 5 -14 year age group; a 56 per cent increase from the previous year and 27 per cent up on the 10-year average.

There were 75 inland waterway drownings across Australia during that time – up 53 per cent from the previous year, while beach drownings were up 50 per cent to 66 per cent over the same time.

January was the month in which most drownings occurred.