Baler Primary kids lap up swimming lessons

2 December 2019

Children from Port Hedland’s Baler Primary School attended two weeks of swimming lessons recently, taking part in the Education Department’s in-term swimming program for the first time in a number of years thanks to a partnership between the Education Department and Royal Life Saving Society WA.

Children in regional communities often miss out on the benefit of school swimming lessons that most metropolitan children enjoy, quite often due to a lack of swim instructors to run these programs in regional areas. Royal Life Saving WA and the Department of Education have been concerned about this issue for some time - which was also raised as a key discussion point at the inaugural Pilbara Water Safety Forum earlier this year - and decided to proactively work together to find a solution.

An instructor by the pool with two students floating on their back with red kickboardsRoyal Life Saving has sent a group of instructors to town for Term 4 to work with the local instructors Abbra and Nicolette, and ensure the program runs for the local school children. 441 students from Baler Primary have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the lessons, building on their swimming and water safety skills ahead of summer.

Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education, Trent Hotchkin, says it’s a very important step. “We’re pleased to partner with the Department of Education and provide our support to ensure kids in regional WA have access to vital swimming and water safety lessons. No children should miss out on learning these skills due to their location, and ensuring all Western Australian children learn to Swim and Survive is one of the most important investments we can make to prevent drowning.”

The recent National Drowning report highlighted the fact that people in regional and remote WA are 2.3 times more likely to drown than those in the metro area. The provision of swimming and water safety programming in these areas is therefore crucial as we work to turn these figures around.