Barriers for swim safety lessons in remote Qld schools

Nick Gibbs |

Fewer qualified instructors means Queensland’s rural primary schools are missing out on swim lessons
Fewer qualified instructors means Queensland’s rural primary schools are missing out on swim lessons

A lack of qualified instructors and access to safe water means students in some of Queensland’s rural and remote primary schools are missing out on swim lessons.

Close to 99 per cent of Queensland state schools offer water safety and swimming education, with only 14 not providing a program in 2023, a report released on Monday shows.

“There is still a very small number of schools not delivering a program and I am committed to ensuring that all students will have access to these potentially life-saving lessons, regardless of their circumstances,” Education Minister Grace Grace said in a statement.

Schools that did not offer a program include Aurukun, Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama and Coen, located north of Cairns, and Bwgcolman Community School on Palm Island.

“These are complex communities and the department will work with schools to support contextual implementation of a water safety program,” the Education Department audit report says.

“These schools have ongoing and persistent barriers such as lack of viable access to a pool or safe water way.”

The lack of qualified instructors was also highlighted as a barrier for students, and the Queensland government will provide accreditation funding for 50 teachers each year. 

“Whether it’s funding swimming instructor qualifications for (physical education) teachers, developing partnerships between rural and remote schools, or providing extra funding – we will work intensely with these schools to ensure they can deliver a swimming program for their students,” Ms Grace said.

The audit involved 1072 Queensland state schools with a prep to year six cohort. 

Schools are required to provide practical lessons in water and classroom-based water safety.

AAP