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Frequently asked questions and myth busters

Frequently asked questions and myth busters

We are asked lots of questions about swimming lessons, and come across many misconceptions.

Swimming lessons frequently asked questions

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The percentage system that we have for our ‘Oncourse’ system isn’t a true indication for your child's progress.

For example, in stage 4, you get the same percentage increase for passing a push and glide to the floor as you would do for passing breaststroke. The percentages aren’t weighted proportionally to the difficulty of the outcome, therefore this can give the false impression of them being close to passing.

If you are unsure of what your child needs to pass, you can log into the home portal, to view their assessment.

Absolutely yes - especially in the lower stages where confidence in water is essential.

If your child can already put their face in the water, demonstrate a basic kick and float well, then they will move up to Stage 2 sooner. It is still useful in the higher stages as even just playing about in the water increases core strength and fitness levels, which will help your child move up more quickly.

There are many skills that aren’t assessed directly on the percentage system including skills such as strength, fitness and water confidence.

Your child will be improving, even if the percentage score hasn’t increased. If your child isn’t making progress then their swim teacher will let you know and suggest ways to help them.

Our parents' guide to swimming lessons also shows in detail what your child will be learning in their lessons and when they will be ready to move up to the next stage.

Yes, autism shouldn’t be a barrier for a child learning to swim.

We have many children in our programme that have autism, and we try our best to accommodate for their needs. Your child can attend any swimming lesson in our learn to swim programme, however if your child needs extra support, we run an autism specific course.

We dim the lights, close most of the blinds, and provide a quiet environment to help the children relax and enjoy a calmer and less chaotic teaching environment.

We also have more teaching staff to provide extra care and allow us to adapt to a child’s needs.

If our special lessons don’t give your child the attention they need to succeed, we offer one-to-one sessions where the teacher can concentrate on just one child and help them learn to swim.

Every swim teacher teaches differently, and all children learn differently. 

If you feel your child isn’t improving, and you have given them a good amount of time to improve, feel free to move your child to another teacher.

We understand that some children prefer one teacher, whereas other children prefer another. 

School swimming lessons have some similarities with our Learn to Swim plan but follow a different programme and criteria. 

School swimming lessons often have much larger class sizes and don’t always focus on breaststroke and butterfly. In our opinion, you should treat the school swimming as an addition to our lessons, not a replacement.

We suggest buying goggles for your child in Stage 2/3.

We recommend goggles for your child as wearing them means it’s a lot easier to swim.

Please make sure your child’s goggles are fitted correctly before the swimming lesson, as adjusting goggles takes away precious teaching time for your child.

Every child progresses at different rates and some children may find some stages easier than others.

At Stage 4 the progression rate does slow down as all they need to have mastered all four stroke kicks. 

It is not unusual for a child to get stuck on one criteria for a long time and we have developed a scheme of work to help children in the harder areas such as breaststroke and butterfly. 

Please allow your child to enjoy their lessons and progress at their own speed. 


Every child should have the chance to learn to swim, our teachers are very patient and adaptable and we have specific lesson with extra support in there to give every child the chance to learn to swim. 

If you are at all concerned please don’t hesitate to contact Rebecca to discuss your options.

On enrolment of your child onto our swimming programme you should have been asked if there is anything medically we need to be aware of. 

If you haven’t been asked this question please let us know so we can update our records. 

Anything you feel would help us understand your child’s needs really does help our teachers understand and assist your child in our lessons!  


Any child on our programme is entitled to free swimming with a paying adult to encourage you to come along and practice their skills. 

We don't advise bringing your child swimming for longer than 15 minutes just before their swimming lesson - it greatly reduces the benefit of their lesson as they tire quickly and lose concentration.

Our parents' guide to swimming lessons also shows in detail what your child will be learning in their lessons and when they will be ready to move up to the next stage.

If you have a query about your child's lessons or progress, please contact their teacher through the swim home portal, or get in touch with Rebecca Truman, activity development officer, on 01246 345562 or email

Last updated on 29 April 2021