‘A microcosm approach gives all our girls an opportunity for challenge’
Swimming is a life skill and is especially useful for children fortunate enough to be living near the sea. It is an activity you can enjoy at any age once the basics are in place. It is also incredibly good for your physical and mental health wellbeing. It’s about having fun in the water with family and friends but also a chance to learn basic water safety.
In 2015 twenty-three percent of children left primary and junior schools unable to swim twenty-five metres. I find it extremely unlikely that this statistic has changed much since that time. Drowning is still one of the main causes of death amongst this age group and, as a school, we want to play our part in helping them to be safe.
Girls swim for one term each year at Portsmouth High Prep School from Year 2 through to Year 6, continuing to do so as they then move into the senior school. At the younger stage they make their way up to Horndean where they receive tuition at the excellent Rusalka Swim School. From Year 4 they are coached by the centre and PHS staff at the Mountbatten Centre. By the time girls leave Portsmouth High Prep School there are very few that cannot swim twenty-five metres under their own propulsion. Even those that find it an extremely difficult activity can make it from one end of the pool to the other with some sort of swimming aid.
As with all of our sports we operate a participation for all and a high level approach. The house swimming gala has every child performing from Year 3 to Year 6. Then there are several galas in the local area and the highly prestigious GDST swimming rally, allowing our top performers to test their skills against girls from across the country. This is a microcosm, the school’s approach to all things, ensuring that girls can have the opportunity to perform and be challenged at their own skill level.