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Not Enough Pools To Stay Afloat

Not Enough Pools To Stay Afloat
May 27, 2009

The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) has voiced its concern about the lack of available access to swimming pools for school children to attend water safety and swimming lessons.

The concern follows the recent release of findings from a national survey of learn to swim providers by Water Safety New Zealand. The survey confirmed conclusions in a report released in December indicating the ability of New Zealand children when it comes to basic swimming and water safety skills is declining

NZRA Chief Executive Brendon Ward states that public pools have been feeling the squeeze when it comes to pool space for the past few years.

"School pools have been closing and public pools have been expected to fill the void. Itâs not feasible for that to continue and there needs to be a look at how this situation can be reversed. The complex nature of this will require the Ministry of Education, Schools, Territorial Authorities and communities to work together on this.

"Partnerships between schools and councils is one option, and a return to swimming pools in rural New Zealand as a community hub must be considered if progress is to be made."

For the past 18 years the Ministry of Education has had a bulk funding approach to the provision of swimming pools. This has included the operating expenditure of school pools. It is a model that encourages School Board of Trustees to decommission pools and limit the possibilities of quality learn to swim and water safety programmes. The Board of Trustees has to look at the learning needs of their children and with the limited funding available to them, the priority has understandably gone on numeracy and literacy for the majority of schools.

Ward added, "the Ministry of Education needs to change its funding model and priorities to enable schools with pools to better afford the running and maintenance costs associated with keeping those pools open. The Ministry also needs to investigate opportunities for strategic investment in the development of new school pools to enable more children to learn the core life skill of learning to swim."

19th September 2008 - NZRA AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED 

9th September 2008 - LATIMER TO CONTINUE AS NZRA PRESIDENT

21st August 2008 - JUDE HEADS MANUKAU LEISURE SERVICES


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