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A bigger splash

THE realities of school swimming are at last beginning to emerge (page four). Learning to swim is surely a basic core skill and opens up a lifetime of healthy activity. Superficially, the safety argument is paramount but, as accident specialists point out, an ability to swim can simply encourage children to venture into dangerous waters. Only a handful of children drown every year. But all parents want their child to learn and quickly.

That apart, swimming should be vastly enhanced as part of the health-promoting school. It is not good enough that almost half the children who leave primary struggle in the water. If we are promoting an activity, we should do it well. We do not. Learning earlier and, as it were, in greater depth, cannot be left entirely to extra-curricular activity.

It is understood Nicol Stephen, the Deputy Education Minister, is alarmed at the lack of swimming. He should take a closer look at the Edinburgh University research and not that of his department, which is a recipe for minimal action.

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