THE academy trust that operates Ellesmere Primary School has vowed to put swimming at the forefront of its health and wellbeing plans for pupils.

North West Academies Trust (NWAT) runs the school, in Elson Road, and its chief executive officer Steve Docking made the pledge after research conducted by Swim England and a MPs has warned that the majority of primary school children will be unable to swim a length of a pool by 2025.

Ellesmere has its own 20 metres pool and Mr Docking confirmed pupils at NWAT – including Ellesmere – start lessons at reception age or Year 1, and more than 90 per cent can swim at least 25 metres by the time they leave.

"We would never teach maths or English with a hope that after four weeks they would get it, so why should swimming be any different?" he said.

"Let's get all children swimming weekly.

“Schools should be proud to lead on this and there's no reason it should be considered an elite sport.

"Schools will blame budget cuts or the lack of pool time – they will blame anyone but themselves for not providing swimming as a weekly activity.

"It's a challenge for sure, but the rewards are huge in terms of pupils’ confidence, ability and health.

"I'm very passionate about this subject and I'd urge all schools to act to make sure the worrying projections in this report never come to fruition."

As part of the national curriculum all primary schools must provide swimming lessons, and every pupil is required to be able to swim at least 25 metres, use a range of strokes and perform safe self-rescue.

But with pools closed and pupils not having face-to-face learning for much of the 2020-21 academic year, swimming lessons were 'massively affected' according to the report by the all-party parliamentary group for swimming and Swim England, the sport's national governing body.

Ellesmere headteacher Stuart Roberts added: "We're at about 95 per cent, and that's only because some pupils haven't been with us long enough.

"Having our own pool on site is something we are very proud of and grateful for, and we make sure we get the absolute most from all the benefits it offers our children.

"As their abilities progress under the expert tuition they receive, you can also see children flourish in terms of their confidence and, equally importantly, they have a lot of fun too.

"They love it."