Water Safety

To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.

Resilience empowers individuals to recognise that following water safety rules can prevent accidents and potential deaths. It allows them to be aware and share good practices with their peers, families and other members of the community.

Water Safety is part of the national curriculum for England, so local authority-maintained

schools must provide swimming and water safety lessons as part of their school programme.

Other types of schools, like academies and free schools, must provide a broad and balanced education – and that should include learning how to swim and teaching water safety.

People drown because they have little or no awareness of the dangers of water, misjudge their own swimming ability or unintentionally fall in. Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in children, so it is vital that every child has the opportunity to learn survival and self-rescue skills.

Like swimming, water safety knowledge and the skills to survive and self-rescue don’t come instinctively; they have to be taught. Pupils should be taught about the dangers they may encounter around water in their home such as paddling pools and ponds, the swimming pool and at outdoor water locations. Pupils should be able to assess and apply the principles of water safety in these different water environments. They should also understand that swimming in open water is very different to swimming in heated pools and that even strong swimmers can get into difficulties when swimming in water that is cold, unpredictable and deep.


  • Be able to swim 25 m unaided.
  • Know how to get out of trouble if they fall into water.
  • Know the dangers of water.
  • Understand the water safety code.


This learning should not end at Key Stage 2. Water safety messages should continue to be given to young people and they should have regular opportunities to extend their water safety knowledge. This includes practical experience of swimming and using self-rescue skills in outdoor swimming environments, such as the sea, rivers and other safe inland water venues.

The current national curriculum for PE for Key Stages 3 and 4 provides opportunities for this to happen. In particular, through the requirement for young people to take part in a broad range of physical activities including outdoor and adventurous activity challenges. Other subjects like geography and PSHE, should support water safety messages and extend young people’s understanding of the dangers of different water environments.

Source – Swim England

Local Support

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

Teaching fire safety in schools The Fire and Rescue Service provide free fire safety education to children in primary and secondary schools within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Our fire crews, community fire safety officers and community champions carry out interactive educational workshops in schools and at fire stations, reaching out to thousands of Key Stage 1,

Read More About Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service