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Campaign for more swimming lessons in Brussels schools

08:06 07/03/2024

Teachers at several primary schools in Brussels are campaigning for pupils to be offered more swimming lessons, after a recent study revealed that more than a quarter of primary schools in the region have scrapped their swimming lessons in the past year.

The study by UC Leuven-Limburg college found that the lessons were scrapped primarily due to a lack of available swimming pools in the Brussels region.

The City of Brussels, the sports department of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC) and the Brede School Nieuwland in the Marolles recently organised a "swim party" for primary school children to get them in the water and raise awareness about the importance of knowing how to swim.

“It’s important that kids know how to swim and that they have the chance to do it,” organiser Ludo De Vleesschauwer told Bruzz.

“But there are too few pools in the city and too few hours in the school day, and that’s a problem.

"Right now, one in four children finishing their sixth year of primary school doesn’t know how to swim – that’s a huge number. That’s a big difference between here and Flanders."

Children from nine primary schools in the centre of Brussels were invited to spend the day playing and getting comfortable being in the water at the public pool on Place du Jeu de Balle.

“Not every school has access to a pool – there’s often just not enough room,” said De Vleesschauwer.

“But children need opportunities to swim. We need more pools in Brussels. If every child could by the end of the 6th year, that would be fantastic.”

Written by Helen Lyons