Suffolk Norse’s schools swimming division has launched a new swimming award to promote the safety of children who are used to being in shallow water.

The Shallow Personal Safety Award aims to provide non or weak learner swimmers with the necessary knowledge and skills to survive should they stray into open water.

The award has been designed, and is being promoted, in partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The award has a teachers’ resource pack, designed for school teachers who may not have the necessary knowledge to teach the skills required to fulfil the award’s assessment criteria.

Lisa Perry, Joint Operations Managers for Suffolk Norse Swimming, said that the Award, is the first Personal Safety Award for shallow water in the UK and that it is hoped the award will ultimately go national.

Nick Ayers, RNLI Community Safety Partner, said:

“We were delighted to work with Suffolk Norse Swimming to develop this new personal safety swimming award to teach young people the four fundamental skills needed to be safe and have fun near the water. As the charity that saves lives at sea, we know that education is vital to staying safe.

The simple, short exercises will give the students an idea of the lifesaving differences between fighting against cold water and floating to live, as well as learning what to do if they see someone else in trouble in the water. After the lessons, we hope the young people will have the skills and confidence to enjoy trips near the water safely.”

Suffolk Norse, which facilitates swimming for around 21,000 schoolchildren across the county, also has an award for deep water personal safety, which covers National Curriculum requirements. Suffolk Norse has 56% of its year 6 pupils achieving this award, the highest percentage nationally.

Lisa Perry’s colleague and Joint Operations Manager, Kim Lynch said:

“With the new shallow water award Suffolk Norse aims to ensure that all our swimmers leave school with personal safety knowledge, and with the confidence and skills to go on and achieve the award in deep water.”