Our 13 year Plan of Action


Children watching waves

We have all experienced a potential drowning scare at some point in our lives or our children’s lives.  We can't begin to imagine what it must be like to experience the catastrophe of a family member drowning.  The effects on the local community can also be devastating.  Drowning claims almost 600 souls every year with a child drowning every week in the UK. 

Parents, expect and presume children are receiving water safety education at school; water safety is in our national curriculum. 

National curriculum in England: physical education programmes of study

Swimming and water safety

All schools must provide swimming instruction either in key stage 1 or key stage 2.
In particular, pupils should be taught to:
  • swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • use a range of strokes effectively [for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke]
  • perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations

Unfortunately, studies show that half of the children leaving primary school will not have experienced any water safety teaching and cannot swim.  There are many reasons why schools struggle to deliver swimming and water safety lessons. These include cost, time, logistics, lack of confidence/knowledge by teachers to lead water safety sessions.  Teachers have never been taught how to teach this aspect of the national curriculum.  Consequently, there are literally millions of children in the UK who couldn't save themselves or help anyone else if they fell into water. 

This is not acceptable! 

Education to STOP accidental drowning

in England

lifesaving tools

There are many wonderful organisations, some coordinated with government resources, tackling this issue but still millions of children are left with a gap in their skills/knowledge.   The charity Above Water (Charity No.1174593) is the only water safety charity to solely focus on education. Through an education programme, Above Water believes it can eradicate accidental drowning but all 9 million of our school age children (Yrs. reception to 13) must receive water safety education.  Above Water visit schools (primary & secondary) and presents at least 1 hour of interactive, unique instruction on water safety, drowning prevention techniques and understanding the water, local to the school.  Above Water also host regional teacher workshops to upskill, build confidence and provide resources for teachers to become ‘Above Water Safety Champions’ in their own school.  Champions then have all the confidence and tools to teach water safety and drowning prevention in their own schools on an annual basis.  Above Water is always on hand to support a champion, offering, annual updates, school visits and resources. Above Water believes this programme is the only way all 9 million children in our education system can receive essential annual water safety teaching.

 Our 13 year educational plan of action

Year 1 & 2

  • 9 regional Above Watermen & Above Waterwomen put in place to facilitate water safety and drowning prevention education in every English School

Year 3 & 4

  • Regional Above Watermen & Above Waterwomen put in place to facilitate water safety and drowning prevention education in every UK School

Years 5 to 13

  • Annual water safety and drowning prevention education for UK schools
  • Regional Above Watermen & Above Waterwomen put in place to facilitate water safety and drowning prevention education in nursery schools, higher education, teacher training facilities, home education.
  • Practical water safety and open water confidence sessions
At the end of the programme one year group would have received annual water safety & drowning prevention education for their entire school career.

Cost to STOP accidental drowning in UK

Above Water has started the process of funding this programme, which will cost £2.9 million for the (set up) first 2 years but we need your help! 
Could you, your business, your community sponsor water safety teaching in your local area, training for teachers and pupils? 
If like us, you feel education can put a stop to accidental drowning please contact Above Water to talk about how you can support the charities essential work and or maybe donate.  The charity looks forward to hearing from you, through education we can help children make the right choice to stay safe near water.


Contact-  info@abovewater.org