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Concerns pupils won't learn to swim as Staffordshire service to be axed

By Jordan Reynolds | Staffordshire | News | Published:

Concerns have been raised by swimming instructors that young children will not learn the life-saving skill after it was announced a service which works with hundreds of Staffordshire schools is set to be axed.

Entrust Swimming Service will be decommissioned this summer, it was previously revealed, meaning the 200 schools it works with across the county will have to find new swimming teachers before September if the withdrawal goes ahead.

The service said the decision was due to Covid-19 closing swimming pools and the decline in usage.

Terasa Thomas has worked with the service for more than 15 years, teaching youngsters to swim in Stafford.

She said that Entrust has said a letter to schools saying they will no longer be providing lessons and gave them the name and contact details of their local pool.

"Every primary school pupil up and down the county has been taught by one of us," she added.

"Some schools are possibly going to miss out. There will be children who get to eight, nine, and are still wearing armbands and scared of the water.

"We all know what is happening around the world and up and down the country, but we don't feel the pupils' well-beings are going to be met.

"Many many children will not have access to swimming lessons whether that be due to working parents, low income families or lack of swimming lessons in walking distance.

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"The impact on the children up and down the country is very important to all us swimming teachers.

"If they had given us more time we could have got a proposal together."

Another swimming teacher, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had been working for the service for 10 years based in Burntwood.

She said: "We've built a brilliant rapport with the children.

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"We educate the children so they know where to not swim and how to rescue people too.

"Children don't understand the dangers normally.

"Around here there have been quite a few drownings locally, we're trying to stop it happening."

An Entrust spokesman said: “Covid-19 continues to have a substantial impact on our operations. The closure of swimming pools, coupled with the ongoing decline in the service's usage, led us to make the difficult decision to accelerate our plans to decommission our Entrust Swimming Service.

“We have entered a consultation process with employees in the business and we are supporting and working closely with those affected by this decision. We are engaging with all affected school customers to help them find alternative providers.”

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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