The lessons are well under way at local swimming pools and there’s been a strong take up of pupils, who have now moved into primary two.
Cllr Linda Erskine, Convener of the Cowdenbeath Area Committee said: “With so many primary one pupils benefitting from the swimming lessons in the initial phase, it’s great to see their counterparts in the other Cowdenbeath schools now getting the chance to learn to swim too. Over 280 pupils in the programme are benefitting from a years’ worth of free swimming lessons each.
“Being able to swim is very important and removing the cost barrier for parents can have a positive impact on the uptake. Estimates suggest that this project could save Cowdenbeath parents around £200 per child which is significant in our aim to reduce health inequalities across Fife’s communities. I’m proud that this is something that we have been able to widen out to the whole area.”
Through partnership working, the lessons are taught by qualified instructors at their choice of local Fife Council Community Use Schools or Fife Sports and Leisure Trust swimming pool.
Lee Cunningham, Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s aquatic co-ordinator, added: “We are extremely pleased with the take-up of swimming lessons by local primary schools – the opportunity to engage so many children in swimming is fantastic.
“Not only is swimming a great way to participate in physical activity, but becoming a competent swimmer is a lifesaving skill. The schools involved have done a great job in ensuring pupils take advantage of the scheme and it’s a great complement to the Learn to Swim programme which is delivered across Fife.”
The fifty free swimming lessons were initially available to the primary one pupils of Denend, Lochgelly South, Lochgelly West, St. Ninians RC, St. Patricks RC and Cardenden primary schools last year. Engagement took place with parents of primary one pupils at Benarty, Cowdenbeath, Crossgates, Denend, Foulford, Hill of Beath, Kelty, Lochgelly South, Lochgelly West, Lumphinnans, St Bride's RC, St Joseph's RC, St Kenneth's RC, St Ninian's RC and St Patrick's R C primary schools before the school holidays and lessons started for these pupils after they returned to school in August.