We have put together some of our most frequently asked questions to help provide you with all the information you may need about the swimming programme at the University.

How many children in a class?

For Levels 1 -8 there will usually be eight children per class.  At times the ratios may vary slightly depending on the abilities of children within classes. Aquatics and Pre- Club have 12 children.

What age can my child start swimming classes?

For our Adult and Child classes children may start when they are approximately 3 months old - after they have had all their immunisations.  To start in Level 1 children must be at least 5 years old.

How do I join the swimming programme?

The swimming programme is very popular so we operate a waiting list. You can join the waiting list online.

I think my child can swim, do they need to start at level 1?

Not necessarily.  We try and place children who have had previous swimming experience in a class appropriate to their ability. Read the level outline on the website and judge the best fit for your child. Remember children need to able meet all the learning outcomes for a level. When they join the programme the teacher will do an initial assessment to ensure they are in the right class.

How long are the lessons?

For Levels 1- 8, each class lasts 30 minutes.  Aquatics is 60 minutes and Pre Club is 45 minutes long.

What should my child wear?

Appropriate swim wear, for example, swimming costume, wetsuit, trunks or shorts (not baggy shorts). If your child is wearing goggles make sure they fit and stay on for the whole lesson. If they have long hair we recommend wearing a swimming cap, otherwise long hair must be tied back.

Make sure all clothing and valuables are secured in a locker. Please do not leave them in the changing cubicles.

Can I stay and watch?

Parents/Carers can watch from the seating area.  We ask that parents of children under eight years of age should to remain in the building during their children's lessons in case a member of staff needs to contact you.  Parents of older children can watch -  or make use of the extensive sports facilities while you wait.

Parents of younger children should wait at the end of the shower area to collect their child after the lesson.

Where do children meet for their first lesson?

Try to come along five minutes before the class starts. Once showered and onto the poolside, wait in the seating area until the start of the lesson. The teacher will call the children when ready.

We advise that you bring your child along to the pool a few times before they start swimming classes to get them comfortable with the layout of the building.

What if my child has a medical condition?

When you join the swimming programme you must let the swimming coordinator know of any conditions that may affect your child’s performance or personal safety.  This information will be kept confidential.

What if my child has special physical and/or educational needs?

Our swimming programme is inclusive. Please discuss your child’s needs with our swimming co-ordinator, who will work with you to find the most appropriate class. This might be within a group class or in a 1 to 1 session where our trained staff can individualise the learning programme.

What if I miss a lesson?

Refunds will not be considered for missed classes. Missed classes cannot be rearranged or transferred to another block. Classes are booked block by block to secure your child’s place on the programme

What should my child do before their lesson?
  • Go to the toilet
  • Blow their nose
  • Tie back long hair
  • Have a shower
  • Cover all cuts/grazes etc. with a plaster
  • Bring along any relevant medication
What happens at the end of a block? How do I rebook?

We operate a priority booking system for children currently on the swimming programme. Two weeks before the end of a block you will be asked if you wish to rebook. If you have not confirmed and paid within in this timeframe the place will be offered to a person on the waiting list?

What will my child get taught?

The University follows Scottish Swimming's Learn2Swim programme, the national approved standard for swimming. The eight levels take children through carefully designed and progressive stages that build awareness and confidence in an aquatic environment through fun, games and instruction.

Initially, children learn the basic movement skills that lay the foundations for future stroke development.  These include an introduction to the aquatic environment, safe entries and exits, aquatic breathing, streamlining, balance, buoyancy, rotation, orientation, sculling and treading water.

The children then build the skills required to achieve proficiency in all four swimming strokes; front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke and butterfly.

Each of the levels has an overall aim and a number of learning outcomes. When children complete all the learning outcomes consistently and fluently they are ready for the next level.

Where can I find out more about the levels?

Check the swimming notice boards opposite the swimming pool reception.

How do I know how well my child is doing?

To complement the programme and to help track development, each swimmer has a record card, which enables the teacher to provide valuable feedback to the parent. The teacher will continually assess progress and development.  At end of each block children will receive their record card which shows what they have achieved and what they need to work on. The initial card is free but if a replacement card is required the cost is £5.

Do children receive a badge?

The swimming co-ordinator will email you to let you know your child has passed a level.  Badges can be purchased at the swimming pool reception for £3. Take a copy of the email as confirmation.

When will my child progress to the next level?

If your child has successfully completed all the learning outcomes they can move on to the next level. This is usually done at the end of each block.

Children must demonstrate to their teacher that they can achieve all skills consistently over the block (period of time) If they cannot do this, they will not move up. It is better to wait until a child is competent before moving on to a more complex skill. In our experience some children take up to 18 months to progress to the next level.

What if my child achieves all the learning outcomes?

If a space becomes available in the next level, there may be the opportunity for them to be moved. This is unlikely and therefore when a child has achieved all the learning outcomes within a block the teacher will give them more challenging work from the following level allowing them to progress within their current class. 

I think my child has already achieved the learning outcomes.

Children can often achieve skills one term, but not the next. The key is that children must demonstrate the learning outcomes consistently and to the standards required by us for the next level. It is in the child’s interest to move up a level only once they have achieved all the necessary learning outcomes skills at a lower level.  Being able to perform all the requirements consistently and to the standard required enables them to work effectively on more complicated tasks at the higher level.  We would always encourage you to visit the pool as often as you can between lessons to help with your child’s swimming.

How long will it take my child to learn to swim?

On average it takes a child three to four years to go from non-swimmer to one ready to move to a club. However every child learns at a different pace some will move through the programme quickly, where others may take a little longer. Take your child to the pool as often as you can between lessons, keep encouraging them but above all, it must remain fun!

My child has completed all eight levels what do they do now?

After Level 8, children are encouraged to join aquatics or pre club sessions. Aquatics introduces them to a range of swimming disciplines of water polo, synchro, diving, survival and lifesaving.

Pre club develops swimmers endurance and enhances their stroke technique.

What qualifications do the swimming teachers have?

All swimming teachers hold as a minimum a UKCC Level 1 Swimming Qualification. Many of our teachers hold Level 2 or 3 awards and are high level swimmers representing their county or country.

All teachers working for the University are members of the PVG scheme.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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