Swimming to the top of the class

When E was a baby he loved playing in the water and would think nothing of me washing his hair. He’d quite happily let me pour water over his head too, but as he grew older, from out of nowhere he started hating having his hair washed and would scream and shout whenever it happened. We knew he needed to get reacquainted with water in a positive way.

Luckily, our then-upcoming holiday to Malta meant that we went to the pool every day and each day he grew more and more confident about going in the water. By the end of the week, he was happily splashing around and jumping in the pool – it was great to see.

E Swimming
Gaining water confidence in Malta


It was great timing that post-holiday, we signed him up for swimming lessons and he hasn’t looked back since. He’s been having swimming lessons now since he was 3 years old.

New research shows swimming lessons have positive impact on achievement for primary school pupils

Findings released by registered charity and leisure provider Fusion Lifestyle, suggest swimming lessons could be the key to giving children a head start as they start school.  The findings reveal that children who have taken swimming lessons are significantly more likely to perform above average in maths, English, literacy and sport than non-swimming children.

First swimming lesson

The survey further strengthens the link between swimming and the positive mental and physical development in young children and shows how incredibly important it is.

1,000 parents of children aged 4 – 8 revealed the following:

  • 45% of children at Reception level who have had swimming lessons have achieved reading age 5 or above, with only 27% of those who haven’t had lessons in this range
  • Children who have taken swimming lessons are more likely to enjoy reading (54%) than non-swimming children (47%) and are more likely to read daily outside of school (45%) than those who haven’t had lessons (36%)
  • Children are also more able to recite their time’s tables, than those that haven’t taken swimming lessons, with 39% of swimmers able to recite their 5 times table vs only 28% of non-swimmers
  • 37% of these children are also more likely to enjoy maths “very much”, vs only 29% of those who haven’t had lessons
  • Swimming also appears to help overall sporting performance with 37% of those who have taken lessons performing above average in sport and PE, compared to 28% of those who haven’t taken lessons

Jon Glenn, Head of Learn to Swim at the Amateur Swimming Association, commented:

“Swimming is a great way for children and young people to stay fit and active. Learning about water confidence at a young age is also important to help children to stay safe in and around water.  For some time now, swimming and physical activity has been recognised as having additional positive impacts on development and social skills. We would recommend all children take part in swimming at the earliest possible opportunity, whether that is by having fun in the pool with families or receiving formal swimming instruction.”

Chris Jones, Group Sports and Development Manager of Fusion Lifestyle added,

“The new school term is the perfect time to start thinking about swimming lessons and we hope these findings will give parents and guardians even more of an incentive to help their children get active and get in the pool. We passionately believe that children should learn to swim.  It’s the only sport that can save your life, it’s a great way to exercise and now our research suggests it can help children do better at school too.  We facilitated 3.5 million lessons in 2015 and are committed to increasing that in 2016 and beyond”

With 80 Fusion-run pools across the UK, their dedicated ‘Swim School’ programme offers ASA approved lessons that, under the Learn to Swim Framework, help children achieve confidence in the water. Over 46,000 children learn to swim with Fusion every week with their expert instructors in a friendly, safe and fun environment. Head over to www.fusionswimschool.com to find out more.

I have to say a lot of the research happens to correlate with E. It may well be a coincidence of course but he has always loved learning at school and has always been a huge fan of reading. We do need to start looking into lessons for M too though as he is 3 and a half now and is yet to start. I don’t think we will have a problem with him though as he loves playing in water!

Do your children have swimming lessons? What age did they start learning?

*Collaborative post


  1. Wow. I’ve never really connected swimming to reading but this is really interesting. Z loves reading but we only swim ocassionslly. I need to get him some lessons!

  2. Pingback: Encouraging children to be active | Suburban Mum

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