Partnership to provide Swim and Survive skills for Hedland children

22 October 2019

Local Port Hedland swim instructors Abbra and Nicolette ready to teach swimming lessonsChildren in Port Hedland are taking part in school in-term swimming lessons this term thanks to a partnership between Royal Life Saving WA and the Department of Education. All five Hedland primary schools will be involved in the program over the next eight weeks for the first time in several years.

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.

For the program in Port Hedland Royal Life Saving is sending instructors to town for the next 8 weeks to work with the local instructors Abbra and Nicolette, and ensure the program runs for the local school children. 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.

The first school to take part in the Port Hedland In-Term Swim and Survive lessons is Cassia Primary School, with 435 children receiving ten 40-minute swimming and water safety lessons over the next two weeks. This will be followed by students from Port Hedland Primary School, South Hedland Primary School, Baler Primary School and St Cecelia Catholic Primary School.

For more information on how Royal Life Saving WA is working to provide swimming and water safety education for children in our states regional and remote areas please click the link below.

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