Key Stage (KS) 1 and KS2 swimming: requirements

All maintained schools must provide swimming lessons in Key Stage (KS) 1 or KS2. Find out what maintained schools and academies are required to publish online about pupils' swimming attainment and what to do if a parent/carer wants to withdraw their child from these lessons.

Last reviewed on 4 January 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: PrimaryRef: 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 physical education programmes of study.

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 – e.g. 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.


You don't have to meet these requirements as you don't have to follow the National Curriculum. Check your funding agreement to see what it says about the curriculum in your school or trust.

Remind yourself what academies must teach with another of

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