A group of people holding their swimming teacher certificates, alongside Cllr Adel Khaireh and Cllr Dr Dominic Mbang

Published: Friday, 19th January 2024

A group of seven students with learning disabilities have completed a brand-new training programme to become swimming teachers in Royal Greenwich.

Delivered by the council in partnership with GLL and the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), the innovative course was designed specifically for people with learning disabilities. 

The six-week curriculum is an extended version of the STA Level 2 Swimming Teacher course and supports learners over a longer period in a friendly and welcoming environment. Attendees studied a mixture of theory and practical lessons, with a tutor Tracey White supporting the group every step of the way. They completed training days at the Greenwich Centre, as well as independent homework tasks. 

Councillor Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Equality, Culture and Communities, said, “Huge congratulations to our newest swimming teachers on all of your hard work – what an achievement! 

“Swimming is a great way to stay active and boost mental and physical health. Research shows that although many people with learning disabilities in our borough would like to learn to swim, finding the right swimming teacher can be a barrier to taking part.  

“Our newly qualified swimming teachers will play a key role in making swimming fully inclusive and accessible to all and will encourage and inspire their peers to enjoy their local pools.” 

Richard Gallagher, GLL Partnership Manager, said, “We’re really proud to have worked with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deliver this swimming teacher course and we congratulate our new colleagues on their achievement. 

“We also acknowledge and thank the Swimming Teachers Association for their help in ensuring the course was a success. As a social enterprise with deep roots in Greenwich, we will continue to provide training and employment opportunities for people in the local community and further expand our range of accessible swimming lessons.” 

Lorraine Mason, who took part in the course, said, "The lessons were good because I have learned a new skill and made friends. I start my new job soon so look out for me in a green Better top at Waterfront Leisure Centre." 

All participants are now working with GLL to develop their swimming teaching skills further and are keen to use their new skills to encourage more individuals with disabilities to learn to swim. 

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