Leisure operators have revealed that post pandemic swimming lessons have returned to pre-Covid levels faster than health and fitness memberships. This may be no surprise given reports that, by the 2025-26 academic year, three in five children may leave primary school unable to swim 25 metres unaided. But it’s putting swim schools under huge pressure to deliver value for money, quality swimming lessons.
According to Right Directions’ Head of External Accreditations, Sarah Maxwell, who delivers the Learn to Swim Accreditation on behalf of Swim England, this is where the quality mark steps in. “The process acts as a mini business plan, helping operators to improve their swimming lessons and recognising excellence, which raises the profile of an operator’s programme offer. By demonstrating they are delivering the best possible Learn to Swim experience for their local community, it also helps schools grow and ultimately earn more income.”
Accredited organisations receive a certificate, personalised plaque and the Swim England Accredited Provider logo to display in their facilities and use on promotional material, to help parents and learners recognise the operator as a deliverer of the quality Learn to Swim programme.
The scheme assesses key business areas including:
• business development processes
• workforce development
• health and safety, quality assurance, compliance and safeguarding
• customer satisfaction
• programme delivery, targets and operating standards
• class structures and programmes
• swimmer pathways
• marketing and communications
The assessment is available to any organisation running the Learn to Swim programme, including swim schools, school swimming programmes, local authority operators, leisure trusts and private leisure providers, and can be carried out as a one-day stand-alone assessment or alternatively can be completed for free, as part of Sport England’s quality assurance mark, Quest.
Maxwell said: “Operators can pay to carry out the accreditation stand-alone or they can include it for free, as one of the modules within their two-day Quest Plus assessment, saving £495. Either way, the accreditation is carried out by one of our team, who are experienced in running Learn to Swim Programmes and assessing industry standards. And, by completing the accreditation, a provider can ensure they are ‘match fit’ and ready to maximise both pool space and the fantastic income opportunities swimming lessons can generate.”
Ian Cotton, Group Aquatic and Activity Manager for Everyone Active said: “We are proud to hold the Quest Swim England Learn to Swim accreditation, which helps us ensure we maintain the standard and quality of our national swim lesson programme through this external check on our systems and processes. Everyone Active has now held the accreditation for more than six years and looks forward to this continuing in the future.”