Diving into water safety

Asset Publisher

03 May 2024

Events and initiatives

A new School of Swimming and Water Safety will help ensure more young people have the opportunity to learn essential swimming skills and stay safe in and around water.

This $3.3 million investment will support existing VacSwim and in-term school swimming programs.  

Students participating in swimming lessons.

From 2025, the School of Swimming and Water Safety will be led by permanent expert staff and be supported by trained seasonal instructors.  

With a focus on access, this initiative will build upon the established VacSwim and in-term swimming programs and will introduce specialised sessions tailored to students with accessibility challenges.  

Director General, Lisa Rodgers, said this specialist school will also develop approaches for students who traditionally face barriers to participation.  

“It will improve how we recruit and employ swimming instructors, expand teaching and learning practices as part of the health and physical education curriculum, and support students with complex needs,” she said. 

“We aim to appoint a principal in Semester 2, who will start to establish the new school. It will operate in a similar way to our other specialist schools that do not necessarily directly enrol students, such as the schools of Special Educational Needs and the Instrumental Music School Services. 

“We are the only state that has a government swimming program that is funded, coordinated, and almost exclusively delivered by Education.  

“VacSwim has been operating in Western Australia for more than 100 years and this year marks the centennial year for in-term swimming.” 

Further training and professional development will also be provided to the school’s staff to strengthen their skills and ensure a culturally responsive learning approach for all students.  

The initiative will integrate swimming and water safety programs into the Health and Physical Education curriculum by aligning classroom practices and resources with these essential life skills.  

There are more than 220,000 students expected to participate in swimming lessons during the 2024 school year and an additional 30,000 are forecast to enrol in summer VacSwim courses. The funding towards the specialist school extends the Department’s capability to deliver comprehensive programs to as many students as possible.