Learning to swim usually means the need to progress in a structured way. Most levels of progress attract an award to mark the achievement of the requirements for that level. Here are the most common awards your child can expect to achieve when learning to swim and developing improved technique.

The National Swimming Plan

 The 10 Stages of the Plan

The 2007 National Plan for Teaching Swimming (NPTS) takes the non-swimmer on a journey, from the first splash to developing confidence and competence in the water.

The Swimmer's 'journey through aquatics' starts with FOUNDATION, a Programme for developing early years water confidence, which is encouraged through sessions such as 'adult and child' and 'pre-school' sessions. The emphasis is upon development of very basic motor skills and introduction to water and the swimming environment through fun and games.

The next stage along the 'journey' takes a Swimmer through FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS, STAGE 1 - 7 of the NPTS.

A brief overview of Stages 1 - 7:

Stage 1

Developing basic safety awareness, the 'class' scenario, basic movement skills and water confidence skills. Swimmers may use aids, e.g. arm bands, floats, etc.

Stage 2

Developing safe entries to the water, including jumping in, basic floating, travel front and back up to a distance of 5 metres, plus rotation to regain upright positions. Swimmers may use aids, e.g. arm bands, floats, etc.


Stage 3

Developing safe entries including submersion, travel up to 10 metres on the front and back, progress rotation skills and water safety knowledge. At this stage, the Swimmer will be assessed without the use of aids or support.


Stage 4

Developing the understanding of buoyancy through a range of skills, refining kicking technique for all strokes, and swimming 10 metres to a given standard as directed by the asa.

Stage 5

Developing 'watermanship' through sculling and treading water skills and complete rotation, also performing all strokes for a distance of 10 metres to the given standard as provided by the asa within the NPTS resources.


Stage 6

Developing effective swimming skills including coordinated breathing across all strokes plus swimming a distance of 25 metres using a stroke of the Swimmers choice; developing the water safety aspects and understanding of preparation for exercise.


Stage 7

Developing quality stroke technique up to 100 metres, incorporating skills learnt and combining them to develop a linked routine and complete successfully an obstacle course that combines a variety of skills accomplished throughout stages 1 - 7.


Stages 8 - 10

Once the Swimmer has developed the core range of skills required to be confident, competent and safe in the water through stages 1 - 7, the Swimmer may then have the choice to take part in different aquatic disciplines.

FUNDAMENTAL SPORT SKILLS, STAGES 8 - 10 of the NPTS are available in Competitive Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Rookie Lifesaving. Dependent on each leisure facility, all or some of these opportunities may be available.

Stages 8, 9 and 10 of the NPTS are discipline specific and have synergy with the grass roots programmes developed by the disciplines to support their individual sport. These are as follows:

For Stages 8, 9 and 10 Competitive Swimming have developed Awards specifically to support the NPTS.