Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Chief Executive of Scottish Swimming

  I write to you on behalf of Scottish Swimming, in respect of your forthcoming Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 4 December 2001, in relation to the Sport of Swimming.

  I have had the opportunity to consult with colleagues and partners within the sport of swimming within Scotland and would offer the following written evidence for consideration by your Committee in relation to swimming in Scotland specifically and three key areas, which are as follows:

    (a)  Swimming as an entitlement for children in Scotland.

    (b)  Access to swimming facilities.

    (c)  The long-term development of swimming facilities.

  In order to offer advice to the Committee I will take each point in turn.

    (a)  Swimming Entitlement—Scottish Swimming through work with the Scottish Executive and a range of MSP's are currently surveying Scottish schools and education departments as to the current state of swimming provision for school children.

    Swimming in Scotland does not have, as in England, swimming as part of the national curriculum with a required prescription for every child to be given the opportunity to be able to perform a minimum of 25m during their period at school.

    Scotland as you may be aware does not have a national curriculum for education and therefore we are trying to ensure that through the good offices of the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament that every child in Scotland through a range of mediums be given the opportunity to learn to swim before the age of ten. We are particularly keen to develop this strategy within SIP areas within Scotland as evidence prevails that children outwith SIP areas are given an opportunity to learn to swim albeit maybe not through the school route.

    Support from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee to that of the existing support received from the Scottish Parliament would be extremely valuable in Scottish Swimming's quest to reach this extremely valuable objective, which is a key component of the sport's new Business Plan 2001-06.

    (b)  Access to facilities—I am sure that your members will hear from various parties that access to facilities for all types of aquatic activity at all ages and abilities is becoming an increasing problem throughout the United Kingdom and Scotland is no different in this arena.

    Due to various reasons, some of which are related, ie capital development, revenue funding, refurbishment and indeed climatic conditions the number of quality swimming facilities in the United Kingdom as opposed to other countries throughout the world is limited.

    As local government has changed over the last 15-20 years it has become increasingly difficult for all aspects of the swimming community to access swimming facilities at both a realistic time, but more importantly at a realistic charge. In respect of the latter scenario this has had grave effect on both the provision of youngsters learning to swim, but more importantly on the development of training and excellence outlets which ultimately are the shop window for our sport.

    Swimming programmes throughout Scotland and indeed the United Kingdom are currently paying significant sums of money to owners of aquatic facilities which are disproportionate to those in other parts of the world, and is a matter that needs both addressing and re-dressing as soon as possible if we are to ensure that swimming as a sport remains viable within all environments.

    (c)  Development of facilities—This issue very much links to point (b) and is extremely important if the sport of swimming is to progress over the next 20-30 years in the United Kingdom.

    The onset of lottery funding has both enhanced and enabled a significant development of new stock of swimming pools some of which are of the 50m variety. However, our number of 50m pools in relation to those of other countries is very small and linked to the access problems provides real difficulty for the sport developing and moving forward.

    Scotland has recently launched a report the "Ticking Time Bomb" which is to specifically address the issue of refurbishment of the current stock of pools and Sport Scotland lottery have allocated a sum of £10 million to this project over the next three years. This is an extremely welcome investment, for members that have reviewed the "Ticking Time Bomb" report they will see that this is in fact the tip of the iceberg from a Scottish swimming pool provision perspective. Scottish Swimming's vision through its facility strategy is to ensure that good quality facilities and access are provided in the six key conurbations of Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    The current provision within Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh is adequate and with the opening of the National Swimming Academy in Stirling and a potential refurbishment at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh will in fact provide a good stock of facilities for these geographical locations and populations.

    There is, however, the need to develop enhanced facilities of a 50m nature of some form or another in both Dundee and Aberdeen and ensure that the access to excellent eight lane 25m pool in Inverness continues to be of an appropriate nature for the requirements of the swimming population.

  I trust that the above comments are helpful to your Committee and wish you well with your deliberations on 4 December 2001.

28 November 2001

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 15 January 2002