Subject Leaders: Mr Chaplen, Mr Campbell, Mr Drew


Through this active and engaging curriculum we will give the children every opportunity to experience a diverse range of sports and activities. The children have time to progress skills that will help them in a wide range of activities, both in and out of sport, such as team work and learning how to win and lose. The focus is on not only on being active, but on how to support our overall well-being through understanding the importance of living a well-rounded active and healthy lifestyle. Using the thread of sporting heroes, both well-known and everyday heroes to inspire the children gives real life examples of how sport can be used to change lives. Our overarching philosophy is for children to build a love of sport and being active that they will carry with them as they progress through their lives.





At St Matthew’s our aim through school swimming is to build every child’s water confidence, ensuring that by the end of their  lessons they can be safe around all bodies of water and look forward to swimming, actively seeking out opportunities to swim safely outside of school. We want pupils to understand that swimming supports their health and wellbeing as well as being a life saving skill.

Swimming at St Matthew’s has evolved over the years as we continue to reflect and refine our practice.  We have progressed from solely Year 4, to adding Year 3 swimming to where we are today, children swimming in Years 3, 4 and 5.

Our aim through school swimming is to build the children’s water confidence, ensuring that by the end of their  lessons they can be safe around all bodies of  water and look forward to swimming, including having a good understanding of how swimming can positively impact their health and wellbeing.

For many of our children, school swimming is their first experience of being in a swimming pool. For some, they may have never even seen a pool before. For this reason the main bulk of our effort has been to give the pupils a brilliant first experience of swimming. To do this we strive to remove barriers such as providing the correct clothing where necessary, having familiar members of staff in the water supporting children and taking children to watch what happens at swimming before they go, seeing where they will change and understanding the process before turning up on the day has helped to reduce anxiety and increase the children’s enjoyment levels.

Our initial swimming offer had children going swimming for half of their Year 4 PE curriculum. After some surveys with our pupils we discovered that after finishing Year 4 swimming most of the children then didn’t go on to continue swimming, meaning that all the confidence and ability they had built up was never built on again.

Since the initiation of Sports Premium Funding we have been able to ensure the children are gaining access to more swimming than ever before. Since we introduced swimming in Year 3 the children’s progress has been a lot faster, they are getting more from their lessons and we have seen an increase in the number of children feeling safe and confident in the water. But still no huge changes in the number of  children reaching the National Curriculum requirement of 25 meters.

After this we made the decision to completely change our swimming format and introduce a drip feeding style of lesson where the pupils will swim for 6 weeks, as opposed to the 12 week format from before,  but with increased lesson times from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. We also increased an extra half term of swimming in Year 5 to expose them to more time completing this element of the curriculum.

St Matthew’s current swimming offer

Summer Term: Year 3 receive 6x 45-minute swimming lessons

Autumn Term: Year 4 receive 6x 45-minute swimming lessons

Spring Term: Year 5 receive 6x 45-minute swimming lessons

With this new offer the children swim in back to back terms between Summer Term in Year 3 and Autumn Term in Year 4, followed up by a booster block the following Spring Term in Year 5.

Due to Covid we are a year behind on this trial scheme,  meaning that we  will not see the full benefits until our current Year 4 cohort finish their St Matthew’s swimming lessons next Spring (2023/24).

Early indications show though, that this year group is progressing at a faster rate than previous year groups.

Our final barrier is to encourage and enable more children and families to access swimming outside  of school. This is the biggest barrier both financially and geographically. Over the past few years we have been able  to give away £1 swim vouchers, promote Holiday Camps  taking place at the swimming pool open to children on Free School Meals as well as invite parents and carers to watch the children during their swimming lessons. The latter has helped them see firsthand the enjoyment their child has in the water as well as answer any questions and worries that  they themselves may have about swimming.

Swimming is a high priority for  the St Matthew’s PE Team and the school as a whole, for this reason we will continue to shift and pivot our offering until we land on a format that enables as many of our pupils as possible to reach their swimming  potential, ensuring that safety and  enjoyment remain our top focus!

Before starting swimming in Year 3: taken from 110 children

  • Only 62% said they have been in a swimming pool before.
  • 24.5% say they have taken part in swimmings lessons outside of school before.
  • 75.5% of the children are excited for their school swimming lessons.
  • 33% of Year 3 children are feeling nervous about starting their swimming lessons.

After swimming in Year 5: taken from 103 children

  • 96% of children said that they enjoyed school swimming.
  • 78.5% said they would like to go swimming regularly with their family and friends after completing school swimming.
  • 91% feel more confident in the water than they did before starting their school swimming lessons.
  • Given the chance 92% would swim again in Year 6.