Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

Closing date for this current Grant Round is 31.08.2017 View Grant Dates

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Case Study: Life Saving Victoria

ProjectBefore school swimming and water safety program trial

Amount$30,000

Date2014

ProgramRegional Resilience (past program)

TRUST OBJECTIVES PROJECT OBJECTIVES
This grant was approved under our previous grants policy (Jan 2014 – March 2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Deliver water safety skills and knowledge to students, reducing childhood drownings and aquatic injury.
Building capacity Provide the Deptartment of Education and Training (DET) with a program model and delivery framework for Victorian schools.
Extending opportunity Every Victorian child has the right to learn aquatic skills that could one day save their life or the lives of others.
Collaboration and partnership  Greater Shepparton City Council, Aquamoves recreational facility, local primary schools and DET.

This project meets the HMSTrust focus areas of cross-sector and cross-community collaboration and long term social cohesion.

Research indicates that one in three children leave primary school without suitable swimming skills, and two in five lack sufficient water safety knowledge. Life Saving Victoria, the State’s peak water safety body, won HMSTrust funding so it could pilot a school ‘survival swimming’ program, develop a program model and recommend a delivery framework. Its ultimate goal is to introduce new water safety programs into the Victorian school curriculum via the Department of Education & Training (DET).

Image In the swim with LSV’s new swimming and water safety program trial.

Between 2006 and 2011 there was a 68 per cent increase in the five year average drowning rate in children aged five to 14 years, and a recent study by Life Saving Victoria (LSV) revealed that only 40 per cent of Year 6 students met accepted swimming standards.

Life Saving Victoria aims to shift the focus of existing programs from ‘learn to swim’ to ‘survival swimming’ that prepares children for unexpected entry into water. The program’s goal is to reduce the childhood drowning rate by teaching children to swim safely and confidently.

The successful pilot program in Shepparton with two primary schools incorporated self-awareness, good decision-making and leadership under DET’s Resilience Framework, and supported themes of the draft Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education.

Snapshot

  • 86% of students achieved the Victorian Water Safety Certificate.
  • The proportion of students who could swim 100m or more using any stroke increased from 56% to 86% over the 10 lesson program.
  • The program provided students with the skills to behave safely in and around water and to respond appropriately to dangerous situations, as well as providing a good opportunity for them to learn valuable self-responsibility skills.
  • The program was successful in addressing issues previously identified including the high cost of swim programs, crowded school curriculums and high demand on classroom time to attend traditional learn to swim lessons.
  • A comprehensive evaluation of the program was undertaken by Life Saving Victoria and Federation University to determine the feasibility of the before-school model with a number of key recommendations contained in the evaluation report.

www.lifesavingvictoria.com.au

“LSV strongly believes every child has the right to access swimming and water safety education. The school setting is the ideal environment for this.” Kate Simpson, LSV’s General Manager Education Services.