KS1 and KS2 swimming: requirements

All maintained schools must teach swimming in either Key Stage (KS) 1 or 2. Find out what you need to publish on your website and what to do when a parent wants to withdraw their child.

Last reviewed on 6 January 2023
School types: All · School phases: Primary
Ref: 1409
  1. National Curriculum requirements
  2. Website requirements
  3. Withdrawing pupils
  4. Pupils who don't meet swimming standards

National Curriculum requirements

Maintained schools

You must provide swimming instruction either in Key Stage (KS) 1 or KS2. This is set out in the National Curriculum's programme of study for physical education.

This should include teaching pupils to:

  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • Use a range of strokes effectively – for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke
  • Perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations

As long as you teach pupils these skills, it's up to you to decide how many hours of swimming lessons you provide and whether you teach swimming in every year group or just 1.

The requirements apply even if your school's age range doesn't cover all of KS1 and KS2, so infant, junior, first and middle schools must still provide swimming instruction, according to the DfE.

You don't have to meet these swimming requirements because you don't have to follow the National Curriculum. Check what