Learn to swim scheme

Meadowside Leisure Centre offers children a quality "Learn to Swim" scheme. This facility provides a fantastic venue for both the swimmer and spectator. Our course prices are extremely competitive and offer remarkable value for money. Instruction is provided by our team of Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) qualified swimming teachers.

We offer a full range of swimming lessons for children through the ASA Learn to Swim Framework. The Framework is part of the ASA Learn to Swim Pathway, an all-inclusive programme that has been developed to use fun and games to take the non-swimmer from his or her first splash to developing confidence and competence in the water.

The swimmers 'journey through aquatics' at Meadowside Leisure Centre starts with the Duckling Foundation for pre-school children, which then moves onto the framework stages 1 to 7 when children are 4 years and over. Once the swimmer has developed the core range of skills children can move onto the fundamental sports skills, stages 8, 9 and 10 in either water polo or competitive aquatic disciplines.

Term Term Start Date Term End Date Holidays Dates Rebooking Dates
Term 1 Mon 24th Sept 2018 Sun 16th Dec 2018 - Mon 29th Oct - Sun 4th Nov 2018
Term 2 Mon 17th Dec 2018 Sun 24th Mar 2019 Sat 22nd Dec 2018 - Fri 4th Jan 2019 Mon 4th - Sun 10th Feb 2019
Term 3 Mon 25th Mar 2019 Sun 17th July 2019 Mon 15th April - Sun 28th April 2019 +
Mon 27th May - Sun 2nd June 2019
Mon 13th - Sun 19th May 2019

Download the swimming term timetable 


Our private lessons are suitable for any one 3 years and above, the one-to one tuition with our qualified swimming teachers helps swimmers reach their potential with hands on, focussed teaching in a fun and friendly environment. Swimmers can still work towards the ASA learn to swim stages or individual goals and skill building. Due to the one-to-one with the swimmer and teacher these lessons really can be tailored to the customer’s requirements.

To enquire about private swimming lessons please call our swimming coordinator Lisa McLaughlin on 01283 508732 or email lisa.mclaughlin@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk

Aqua Turtles

The Aqua Turtles classes are foundation lessons that are available for children at the age of 3 years. They focus on pool safety awareness and basic swimming movement, through play. This helps to build your child’s water confidence in a safe and friendly environment.

Badges to be achieved in this class are

  • Duckling 1 – 4
  • Puffin

Stage 1-7

Introduction to beginners - (Stage 1)

Develops basic awareness, the ‘class’ scenario, basic movement skills and water confidence skills. Swimmers may use aids, e.g. arm bands, floats etc.

Badges to be achieved in this class are

  • Stage 1
  • Duckling 1 – 4
  • Puffin

Beginners - (Stage 2)

Develops safe entry to the water, including jumping in, basic floating, travel and unaided rotation to regain upright positions.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Stage 2
  • Duckling 4 & 5

Improvers - (Stage 3)

Develops safe entry including submersion, travel up to 10 metres on the front and back, progress rotation skills and water safety knowledge.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Stage 3
  • 10m distance
  • Stroke awards:
    • 5m front crawl
    • 5m back stroke
    • 5m breaststroke

Intermediate - (Stage 4)

Develops 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.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Stage 4
  • 15m distance
  • Stroke awards:
    • 5m breaststroke (if not achieved in stage 3)
    • 5m butterfly
    • 10m backstroke
    • 10m front crawl
  • Preliminary Safety Skills

Stroke development - (Stage 5)

Develops sculling and treading water skills, refining kicking technique for all strokes and also performing all strokes to the given standard as directed by the ASA.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Stage 5
  • 20m & 25m distance
  • Stroke awards:
    • 10m breaststroke
    • 10m butterfly
    • 15m backstroke
    • 15m front crawl

Advanced - (Stage 6)

Develops effective swimming skills including coordinated breathing, developing the water safety aspects and understanding of preparation for exercise.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Stage 6
  • 50m Distance
  • Stroke awards:
    • 15m breaststroke
    • 15m butterfly
    • 25m backstroke
    • 25m front crawl

Elite - (Stage 7)

Develops 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.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Stage 7
  • 100m Distance
  • Stroke awards:
    • 25m breaststroke
    • 25m butterfly
    • 50m backstroke
    • 50m front crawl
  • Personal survival 1

Stage 8, 9, 10 Competitive Swimmer/Water polo

The stage 8-10 Competitive Swimmer awards are the perfect progression from Stages 1-7 and a great introduction to swimming competitively as well as for enjoyment. Skills such as, racing starts and turns will be taught with a focus on stamina and stroke technique.

Badges to be achieved in this class are:

  • Aquatic skills - Waterpolo stage 8, 9, 10 and Competitive stage 8, 9, 10
  • 100m Distance
  • Stroke Awards 50m Breast stroke
  • 200m up to Mile distance award
  • Personal survival 2
  • Water rescue award
  • School speeds, bronze, silver & Gold in all strokes

Adult Swim Lessons

We are currently not offering adult swimming lessons. If you have any enquires please contact Lisa Mclaughlin on 01283 508732 or lisa.mclaughlin@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk.

Useful Information / FAQs

Class size

The ASA guideline for class size is set at 12 children per class, but this number will vary on age and ability.

Class description

Classes for children are 30 minutes in duration with approximately 5 minutes of class time being allocated to administration and recording of children’s achievements.

Swim scheme kit

Swim kit consists of: Male or female swimming costume and a Swim cap. Don’t forget your towel! Goggles are allowed to be worn but they are not compulsory. If children are to wear goggles, please make sure your child knows how to put the goggles on themselves as lesson time can be wasted sorting out goggles.

Term duration

Lessons run in blocks of 12 weeks (please note our swimming lessons do not run in conjunction with Staffordshire schools). Course dates and payment dates are on the Swim Scheme notice board.

Enrolment for existing customers

All children already on the swim scheme will be given priority to enrol for the following term. During this time, you should go to reception to pay for the following term. Notices will be displayed on the Swim Scheme notice board reminding parents of payment dates. We must point out that you will lose your place if payment has not been received by the due date.

Moving up procedure

As your child progresses it will become necessary for them to move up into the next class. Moving up is at the swimming instructor’s discretion and we have guidelines which all swimming instructors follow. You will be notified when it is time to move into the next class. Please note that the moving up process may mean a change to the day and time of your class.

Changing class

If your circumstances change and it becomes necessary for your child to change the day or time of their class, please contact reception or the swimming coordinator.

Class placements

Whilst every attempt will be made to meet individual requirements regarding day and time, it is necessary that the ability of the pupil be the deciding factor with regard to class placing and transfer, at the discretion of our swimming coordinator.

Swim scheme lesson dates and cancelled lessons

Dates will be displayed on the swim scheme notice board. Please make sure you check this regularly for any alterations. You will be notified if the day and time of you lesson changes. Pupils currently on the swimming scheme will have priority when re-booking subsequent courses, however we cannot hold places open after the closing date.

In the event of circumstances beyond our control lessons may be rescheduled or cancelled without prior notice. Every effort will be made to contact parents/guardians beforehand. Refunds will be given for lessons cancelled by the centre.

What happens to my child’s class should the pool have to be closed due to unforeseen circumstances?

The decision to close the pool will be issued on health and safety grounds and has your child’s best interests at heart. We appreciate your co-operation in this matter. Refunds will be given under these circumstances.

Swim Scheme notice board

The Swim Scheme notice board is situated in the teaching pool and main pool spectator area. Please make sure you check this regularly for up-to-date information. It will be a key way of communicating with scheme members and parents. It will also have up-to-date information about course dates, short courses during the school holidays.


Every accident, no matter how minor it seems at the time, must be reported to the duty officer and an accident report form filled in. The Council’s health and safety team will be informed as a matter of urgency in the event of any accidents that result in a visit to hospital or where a major injury or fatality occurs.

The First Aid room is equipped to comply with health and safety recommendations/standards. Parents/carers will be informed of any accident/incident involving their child.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the framework?

It is the national syllabus produced by the ASA to assist and support the delivery of swimming lessons. It is the single pathway for swimmers to learn how to be competent and confident in the water. It is the multi-skill programme for swimmers to learn how to swim and be proficient in water, which will allow them to then make the choice to continue to participate in any aquatic sports later on.

What should I expect from each lesson?

The lessons are led by an ASA qualified swimming teacher and each class should include up to a maximum of 12 swimmers. The teacher will look to provide a variety of different fun-based activities to help the swimmers learn new skills and throughout the lesson they will provide feedback and instruction to help each individual swimmer to develop.

Some swimmers may be given slightly different activities depending on their strengths and weaknesses to help them focus on their individual needs. As the lessons progress the swimming teacher will record progress made against the outcomes outlined in this guide for the relevant stage. When a swimmer is able to complete all the outcomes consistently they will be awarded a badge and may be moved into a new class depending on the structure and size of the programme.

How long will it take a swimmer to pass each stage?

This will vary with every swimmer depending on their skills and experience. If a swimmer has the experience of pre-school or adult and child sessions, then he/she may move faster initially through the Framework Stages 1 & 2 because they will be familiar with the environment and should be more confident in the water.

Some children are most naturally competent and confident in the water and therefore will progress faster. Other children are slower to learn new skills but can quite often become stronger more proficient swimmers as they progress. The most important factor is that each child learns to swim and enjoys learning to swim and that parents can see their child improving over the course of the lessons.

What should I do if I think my child has completed an outcome/stage and the teacher has not issued a badge or acknowledged it?

Teachers are encouraged to continually assess each child against the outcomes of the plan; however, schemes will administer the presentation of badges and awards in different ways. So, if in any doubt ask your teacher, swimming co-ordinator or receptionists.

It is also worthwhile remembering that children need to show some consistency in their ability to perform the tasks so the teachers will keep an eye on swimmers to ensure they can do the task more than once.

How long is it recommended my child should stay in swimming lessons for?

Learning to swim is a life skill and it is therefore important that any swimmer stays with the programme until they become competent and strong. Swimming should be seen in the same light as reading or writing, learning is just the start of development.

The ASA recommends a swimmer completes up to Stage 7 of the Framework through swimming lessons to give them a solid base to help them enjoy swimming and swimming related activities later.

Swimming is an excellent sport for developing a basic fitness level that will help with participation in other sports. Research has proven that young people who develop a variety of transferable sports skills at a young age are more likely to excel in other sports as they get older. Many renowned athletes have developed in this way, having 2 - 3 sports that they have excelled in at an early stage. The advantage of swimming is it puts less strain on developing joints than other sports.

What happens after a swimmer has achieved stage 10?

Opportunities to continue swimming should be available to all swimmers who complete the programme. Activities may include Competitive Swimming in a club, Water Polo, Diving, Synchronised swimming and Rookie Lifesaving. There are also recreational swimming opportunities and other water based sports. We will be able to offer support here.

Why has the Framework changed from the original version?

The Framework offers more variety as it includes all aquatic disciplines and therefore widens the opportunities available to swimmers and improves the skill base swimmers develop whilst in the programme.

What happens if, by the end of the programme, a swimmer has not achieved all the outcomes in the stage they are working on?

The child must complete all outcomes in order to be awarded the Kellogg’s ASA National Plan Award. If a child continues to struggle the teachers may agree it would be more beneficial for the swimmer to move up to the next group. They must continue to work on the outcomes they have yet to complete.

Where does a child with a disability fit into the Framework?

The Additional Needs phase provides progressive steps for those participants who require additional help prior to entering Stage 1 of the Framework. The Kellogg’s ASA Alpha Awards support the Additional Needs Phase of the Framework. The swimmer then progresses into the Framework stages.