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By the numbers - Swimming skills

Research from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) has found that one in three children leave primary school unable to swim.

Under the current national curriculum, primaries must offer children swimming lessons until they can swim 25 metres and have basic survival skills. But the research, commissioned by the ASA and Kellogg's, found that nearly 40 per cent of children who were unable to swim had never been offered a lesson. The findings, based on 85 local authority areas, indicate swimming skills have not improved since a 2006 TES survey, which found that one in three pupils left primary school without mastering the key stage 2 swimming curriculum.

The ASA data is contradicted by the government, which says that its figures show 83 per cent of children are able to swim competently by the age of 11.

A 2007 Ofsted survey of 30 schools revealed that teaching was often good in swimming and that when pupils failed to reach the standard it was frequently because too little time had been allocated andor staff had been unable to help them overcome their fear of water.

33% - of 11-year-olds are unable to swim 25 metres.

39% - of them have never been offered school swimming lessons.

15% - of parents never take their child swimming.

Best and worst performing authorities for swimming*

Top Five

91% South Northamptonshire

89% Islington

88% Stockport

86% Harrogate

86% Kirklees

Bottom Five

40% Milton Keynes

37% Redbridge

34% Hartlepool

31% Merton

26% Middlesbrough

Standards of achievement in swimming, according to Ofsted

Inadequate 17%

Satisfactory 53%

Good 30%.

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