Let’s ensure fairness and transparency in the baby swimming industry Amend PAS 520

With 1 supporters
357%

The Petition

This Petition will be sent to:
  1. Chief Executive of BSI,
    Howard Kerr
Francoise

Let’s ensure fairness and transparency in our industry

You may be aware that on the 13 October 2015 a new document was launched in Parliament relating to swimming and underwater photography for babies and children.

Co-authored by Water Babies, the ASA and Splash About the document: PAS 520 “Safeguarding 0 to 4 year old children within the teaching of swimming, including any associated professional photography – Code of practice” offers guidelines and recommendations to ensure babies and toddlers’ safety and wellbeing during swimming lessons and underwater photography sessions.

Whilst we support the development of British Standards on the regulation of swimming and professional underwater photography, we have serious concerns over some of the content in the PAS, specifically relating to qualifications. What is proposed in the PAS, is that all baby swimming teachers in the UK should have a Level 2 general swimming qualification on top of an Ofqual-regulated qualification specific to teaching pre-fundamentals swimming.

The PAS 520 affects baby swimming teachers in the following ways:

  1. Baby swimming teachers are requested to hold a Level 2 general swimming qualification, which includes specialist training of baby and pre-fundamental swimming teaching. Attention is drawn to the ASA level 2 Award in Coaching Aquatic Pre-fundamentals – QCF, described in the document as “the UK’s first specialist baby and pre-school Diploma Level Aquatic Qualification”(2014) see section14.4. Teaching Qualifications. While this is legally defensible, the STA Level 2 Award in Aquatic Teaching- Baby and Pre-School qualification remains a valid national qualification registered with Ofqual. (Since 2003).
  2. Baby swimming teachers may need to be listed on a Register of Aquatic Professionals (RAP) in order to have a ‘license to practice’.

Taking babies and toddlers swimming is a happy activity that has many benefits including the foundations of water safety and swimming, the initiation of regular enjoyable exercise for families and special time together without distractions for parents and infants.  We are keen to safeguard babies and young children with all the due requirements for health and safety but at the same time we wish to ensure that access to local baby swimming classes is not conditional to compliance that excludes excellent experienced local teachers.  These new guidelines are likely to lead to the closure of independent small Swim Schools. Save your local baby swim classes!

We are not able to circulate the PAS 520 but it can be purchased from BSI at the cost of £75 if you wish to verify the points above.

Your support in opposing this document is needed to ensure fairness and transparency in our industry. We do not feel that the adoption of the document as the British Standard for Baby Swimming, without wider consultation and debate from other major players is acceptable, and will result in one swim school enforcing their own code of conduct on the industry as a whole.

Moreover, the agreed standards for the industry should be debated by everyone, and not only by those parties seeking to gain a competitive advantage.

We would ask baby swimming teachers to sign the petition (indicating that they are a teacher) and please answer the questions in the survey below.

We would also encourage members of the public to show your support by signing the petition.

Thank you very much for your time and please feel free to comment in more detail.

Françoise Freedman
Birthlight Founder

Petition by,
Francoise Freedman

Update

BSI (British Standards for Industry group) have agreed to reconvene the steering group for PAS 520 in order to review the list of amendments provided by the Swimming Teachers Association (STA). The adequate safeguarding of infants in the teaching of early swimming is paramount.  We welcome the positive response of BSI in support of inclusivity. Thanks to all the signatories of this petition for rallying to demand a fair and open process in the development of national, European and international standards for the sector of industry related to swimming with infants.

‘We do, of course, fully support the goal of making the PAS as inclusive as possible, which is why we have agreed to begin a process to reconvene the Steering Group to review the comments as provided by the STA. We intend to ask the STA to nominate a suitably qualified representative to the sit on the Steering Group to represent the views with respect to comments submitted on behalf of its members.’
Matt Bellamy, Project Manager BSI. 5 February 2016

Letter

[Baby swimming teacher petition]

As a certified baby swimming teacher in the UK, I support the development of British Standards on the regulation of swimming and professional underwater photography. I agree that a code of practice related to health and safety is needed for the safeguarding of babies and young children during these activities.

As a qualified teacher I already follow a strict code of conduct and practice under my current qualification at all times.

However, I strongly oppose the recommendations of the PAS520 regarding statutory qualifications. These recommendations reflect the bias of a swim school that is erecting its interests in the industry and does not represent this sector of the industry as far as I am concerned. I feel that wider consultation and debate from other major players in the industry is needed before the PAS becomes a British Standard.

Sincerely,
[Your name]


[Supporting member of the public petition]

I support the development of British Standards on the regulation of swimming and professional underwater photography. I agree that a code of practice related to health and safety is needed for the safeguarding of babies and young children during these activities.

However, I strongly oppose the recommendations of the PAS520 regarding statutory qualifications. These recommendations reflect the bias of a swim school that is erecting its interests in the industry and does not represent this sector of the industry as far as I am concerned. I feel that wider consultation and debate from other major players in the industry is needed before the PAS becomes a British Standard.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Sign it!

    Survey

    Please would baby swimming teachers complete our online survey, it will only take a few minutes of your time and will help us to understand the views of swimming teachers.

    Complete Survey!

     

    Comments

    I support the development of British Standards – however, consultation on PAS520 from the wider industry is needed. The sponsoring parties should not be representative of the whole industry.


    It’s unfair and not achievable by the majority of baby  swim schools.


    I am a STA and birthlight  swimming teacher, and  know that the ASA  and water babes are NOT leaders in this field


    Lets be transparent and not let one hugely commercial body dictate to others in the industry please.


    Being in the baby swimming business the PAS520 was not offered to the whole industry for consultation  which restricts the involvement of other swim schools so 2 companies can benefit from creating their own BSI registration.


    Baby swimming is an important skill and this report is bias towards one of the big franchises that is only interested in financial gain not best practice


    Been a baby swimming teacher for over 5 years now with the STA and believe in their programme, which has helped many babies and children learn to swim saving lives in the process!!


    We already adhere to very strict standards through the STA which already protect baby swimmers. There isn’t any need for these guidelines.


    I don’t agree with just a couple of major organisations (Water Babies and the ASA) listing their qualifications and dictating their working practises on everyone.