Agenda Item No 7


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 22nd September 2014


Report of the Director of Learning and Skills


To Respond to a Request by Councillor Claire Curtis- To Provide Information on how Funding has been Allocated and Monitored for the School Swimming Initiative


Purpose of the Report

1.         To respond to a request to provide information on swimming by schools and how funding has been allocated and monitored for the School Swimming Initiative.

2.         To apprise Members of primary schools' involvement in the School Swimming Initiative.

3.         To provide evidence that the Council is fulfilling its obligations in terms of school swimming as part of the Council's overall Aquatics Plan.


1.         To note the allocation and monitoring of funding and that the Council is fulfilling its obligations under the terms of School Swimming as part of the Council's overall Aquatics Plan.

2.         To inform Members of the schools' participation in the School Swimming Initiative.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure transparency in specific funding for school swimming.

2.         To ensure compliance with the Welsh Government's Free Swimming Initiative and re-instate Sports Council Wales investment in swimming in the Vale of Glamorgan.


4.         A request has been received from Councillor C. Curtis for consideration of a report regarding schools involvement in school swimming; and specifically:

  • Which schools are accessing school swimming?
  • Where is the swimming taking place, in the Vale or outside, in Council owned pools or other?
  • How much is being spent per pupil on school swimming in each school?
  • How much of the education budget is allocated to school swimming?
  • Is the allowance specified separately in the school budget?

5.         The Vale of Glamorgan Council receives £121,580 from Sports Wales currently on an annual basis to deliver the Aquatics Plan in the Vale. This funding was originally awarded to deliver the Free Swim Initiative (FSI) which was delivered in leisure centres during the school holidays. Sports Wales has expanded the remit of this funding and it is now used to deliver Aquatics in the area which includes the FSI programme for under 16s and over 50s, coaching education and the development of structured activities.

6.         Parkwood lead on the development of the Plan, in consultation with partners including Swim Wales. The Plan is then agreed and monitored by the Vale Sport Management Board as part of the Vale Sport Plan.

7.         Whilst this funding comes into the Council it is passed onto Parkwood Leisure as part of the leisure centre contract - they are the lead on the delivery of the Aquatics Programme in the Vale.  Information received suggests that Parkwood are currently finalising their Aquatics Plan for the year. This contract is monitored by Dave Knevett.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         The Council is committed to the aim that all children should be swimmers by the age of eleven.

9.         The Strategic Review of School Swimming Lessons in the Vale of Glamorgan conducted in January 2013 sets out the Local Authority's commitment to school swimming and its importance in the curriculum. See Appendix A (i and ii).

10.      The FSI funding should not be confused with the funding for school swimming lessons.  Funding for school swimming lessons is part of the delegated funding that each school receives from the Council.

11.      Delegated funding for schools is allocated by the Local Authority on the basis of the local school funding formula.  There is no separate budget specifically for school swimming, the Local Authority does not specify an allocation to schools for school swimming in their formula; it is within a school's overall budget.

12.      Schools prioritise their budget allocation in line with their strategic plans and the statutory requirements of the curriculum.  Physical Education is one component of a broad and balanced curriculum.

13.      Of the forty five primary schools, thirty eight schools accessed swimming lessons during the last academic year: twenty six of the schools accessed Vale Council pools (Appendix B).

14.      Seven schools did not access swimming lessons last year; two of which currently have only Foundation Phase pupils on roll and are therefore not eligible. Of the other five, reassurance has been given that all will be accessing swimming lessons during the 2014/15 academic year.

15.      Eight pools provide swimming lessons for primary aged pupils, they are:

  • Barry Leisure Centre,
  • Penarth Leisure Centre,
  • Llantwit Leisure Centre,
  • Cardiff International Pool,
  • Western Leisure Centre, Cardiff,
  • Bridgend Recreation Centre,
  • Atlantic College and
  • Fontygary Leisure Park, Rhoose.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16.      Specific funding information for school swimming lessons is unavailable.  Funding is within the overall budget allocated to schools with no specific ring-fencing for swimming.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.      There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.      Learning to swim is part of the National Curriculum for Wales.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.      There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.      Welsh medium schools indicate that swimming lessons are given through the medium of English.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.      Service Plan Objective 1.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.      This is a matter for decision by the Council because it is;

·           A mandatory function of the Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.      N/A

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers



Contact Officer

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement


Officers Consulted

Ian Teagle, Operational Manager

Lisa Lewis, Access and Policy Manager

Lesley Dancey, PESS coordinator (rtrd)

Jan English, PESS Coordinator

Jenny Alcock, Parkwood Leisure Community Leisure

Karen Davies, Sports and Play Development Officer


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills