Lesson structure

At Places Leisure we follow Swim England’s Learn to Swim Programme – the leading national teaching syllabus for delivering safe, inclusive and effective swimming lessons for all ages.


Our lessons are traditionally a 30 minute session with 5 minutes set aside for handovers of children, taking registers and getting the children into the water.  We aim to deliver 25 minutes of teaching time in each of our lessons.  Some more advanced stages or aquatics activity classes may run for longer but each of these will have the same 5 minute handover period.

Lesson Structure

During lessons we focus on developing confident and able swimmers, using fun and enjoyment to engage learners. We introduce the four strokes of front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly – firstly working on the body position, then legs, then arms and working on breathing and timing. We start by getting our learners to swim over very short distances to get the technique right – if we can do this we can then build the stamina to do over longer distances. Distances are easier when the technique is right.  Technique in swimming is really important, so although you may see children playing games and having fun we are teaching them the skills they need in an order that will develop their technique correctly.  


As the lessons progress the swimming teacher will record progress made against the outcomes required for each Stage. When a swimmer is able to complete all the outcomes consistently they will be rewarded with a badge and certificate and may be moved into a new class.

Some children become stuck on a particular skill within a stage. Our teachers can help and have tips and tricks of how to move things on.  You can check your child’s progress on the Course Hub and will be able to see if there is a skill they are struggling with.  This may be something you wish to practice with them if you are swimming outside of lessons.  If you are particularly concerned, speak to your child’s teacher or contact the centre for further advice.

At what point do we stop lessons?

Swim England recommend continuing lessons to at least Stage 7.  By this stage children will have spent enough time practicing skills to ensure they are well on their way to becoming water competent.  You can read more about the recommendations on their website: 

Swim England website

What happens next?

By Stage 7 your child is prepared to carry on their aquatic journey into a range of other aquatic disciplines and sports, such as water polo, diving, artistic swimming, open water swimming, lifesaving, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, paddle boarding and many others…

Parents resources

Swim England’s website contains a wealth of information for parents to help their children through lessons.  There is water safety advice, games ideas and much more. 

Check it out