National Plan for Teaching Swimming

The National Plan For Teaching Swimming (NPTS) is an ‘all-inclusive programme’ which takes the non-swimmer from his or her first splash to developing confidence and competence in the water. The National Governing Body for Swimming, Swim England, has produced a national syllabus for Aquatics, in order to equip learn to swim providers with the training and tools to deliver a multi aquatic, multi skill programme.

The Swimmer’s ‘journey through aquatics’ following the NPTS will result in the development of a wide range of skills, if you like, are a jigsaw of pieces, and when put together result in a competent, confident and safe swimmer who has the skill base for then developing technique in a wide range of water based sports.

The most successful way for children to acquire these skills is through an environment involving fun and games. Games are an ideal way for children to develop their ‘jigsaw’ of skills and may even help to combine one skill with another to support the process of ‘building’ the ‘jigsaw’ which ultimately results in a stroke such as front crawl, Breaststroke, Backstroke or Butterfly as well as skills that may become transferable to another aquatic sport or land based sport. Examples include throwing and catching for developing Water polo but also transferable to sports such as netball, basketball etc, skills such as somersault may develop a swimmer’s ability to take part in Synchronised Swimming, but would also be in gymnastics. There are many examples of transferable skills, however without basic water competence it would be impossible for a swimmer to reach this stage.

A child develops their basic movement range during the ages of 5 years to 8 years for females, and 6 years to 9 years for males. During this stage of ‘growing up’, children should be taking part in activity that builds their FUNdamental movement skills, with the emphasis being learning through fun. With reference to this, children need to build up skills that fall under specific categories; in aquatics these are aquatic specified.

The swimmers ‘journey through aquatics’ starts with FOUNDATION, a programme for developing early years water confidence, which is encouraged through sessions such as ‘parent and baby’ and ‘pre-school’ sessions. The emphasis is on the development of very basic motor skills and introduction of water and the swimming environment through fun and games.

The next stage along the ‘journey’ takes the swimmer through ‘ FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS, STAGES 1 - 7 of the NTPTS.

Listed below are the stages with a brief overview for each stage.

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 and rotation unaided unaided 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.

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 skill, and complete rotation, also performing all strokes to the given standard as directed by the ASA.

Stage 6

Developing effective swimming skills including coordinated breathing; developing the water safety aspects and understanding of preparation for exercise.]

Competitive swimming stage 8 - 10 

All strokes must be proficient and adhere to ASA law. Improving efficiency of strokes over an increasing distance to improve stamina. Water skills include starts, turns and finish]

Diving Stage 8 - 10

Developing a wide range of diving and water entries, including sitting dives, straddle and tuck jumps and competitive diving. Divers will learn how to dive safely, efficiently and to ASA law. ]

Synchronised Swimming stage 8 - 10

Introduction to 'synchro strokes', skills and laws. Children will get the opportunity to create their own short routines to music, which allows for creativity and expression whist exercising.]

Water polo stage 8 - 10

Introduction to water polo specific strokes, balls skills, rules and stamina. Water polo is a non contact 7 a side team game which require a lot of skill, technique and stamina. Highly recommended for those who enjoy team games and fun.