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Swimming in a hydropool

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by embee6, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. embee6

    embee6 New commenter


    I teach at a special needs school (secondary) I’m a science teacher. We have had a new hydropool. I have been timetabled this year to teach 4/5 sessions in the pool.

    I can’t find any incidences online of people using a hydropool to teach swimming. This is what I’ve been told I will be doing. These pupils will be taken from pe and will be out more able so ambulent but possibly not swimmers.

    Does anyone teach swimming? / do this in a hydro? It seems really strange to me. Also my health and safety head is struggling as surely it’s too hot ??? No guidelines ??? Everything talks about temps up to 32 degrees.

    Can anyone help ???

  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    confused about what you think children do in hydro pool if not swim?
  3. embee6

    embee6 New commenter

    It’s for therapy (physio) this is swimming
  4. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    What temperature is the hydro Pool?
  5. embee6

    embee6 New commenter

    Think it’s 35 could be more.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I swam in a pool at 32 degrees in Iceland last week - it was a lovely contrast with the cold air above. Above this would, I think, be too warm for serious swimming, but might be OK for learning to swim. I doubt if it is a health risk. Assuming that bacteria control is OK, as it is harder to do this in warm water.
  7. embee6

    embee6 New commenter

    Air temperature has impact on cooling so that would have felt cold but hydros air temp kept above the pool so different.
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    If one can comfortably sit in it I assume one could safely swim in it provided the swimming is not intense at the upper end of the temperature range (water becomes uncomfortable to even immerse oneself in beyond about 40.C) - If above 37.C the time should be very limited.
  9. embee6

    embee6 New commenter

  10. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Rather warm for swimming and I wonder how large the pool actually is.
    I would be rather more concerned re safety.
    Do you hold any Asa (Amateur Swimming Association) qualifications ie teacher or advanced teacher of swimming?
    Do you hold a current pool lifeguard qualification?
    If the answer is no to either of those then I do not think you should be teaching swimming.
    Even if they provide a qualified pool lifeguard..... you should hold a teaching qualification.
    Depending on the level of disability of the children would there be 'helpers' in the pool, also assistance re getting in and out of the pool safely and for dressing etc post swim.

    I taught swimming for many years and am an Advanced ASA teacher - if you need any further help or advice just give me a shout or pm.
    bevdex, agathamorse, bonxie and 4 others like this.
  11. embee6

    embee6 New commenter

    Obviously the school very experienced delivery hydro side with trained staff etc. Me teaching swimming is because it’s a new pool it’s got more capacity so they have opened more slots. All “swimmers” in this case are ambulent/ more able physically. We will follow the schools policy for ratio.

    Everything you said is all my concerns. As an exercise instructor this was my bug bear in the past. I pay people to teach my own kids.

    No one else seems to be concerned with this so I need some written guidance as at the minute I’m coming across as a moaner.
  12. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I would be very concerned if you didnt have an ASA swim teacher qualification! Teaching swimming is a specialism. Even as a trained PE teacher and former competitive swimmer and lifeguard I couldn't teach swimming at a pool without the ASA qualification !!
    bonxie, snowyhead and jlishman2158 like this.
  13. embee6

    embee6 New commenter

    That’s what I thought. Then I said that I’m not qualified to my line manager. She said you’re a teacher so can teach anything. I was made to feel like a jobsworth. Said this again today. reseaching tonight I think that’s the union stance is you need a swimming qualification. Im a science teacher so don’t know. What I do know is I don’t let non specialists do chemistry.

    Think I may have to get the union involved. Great. Just what I need to get my card marked.
  14. mrswallow

    mrswallow Occasional commenter

    I'm a moderately good swimmer. I have three children of my own that I take swimming two/ three times a week. I also spent a term or so working in a special school with a hydro-pool, where I was required to take children swimming.

    I don't teach my own children to swim, I get instructors to do that and they will learn to swim correctly. I have many bad habits. I would be hesitant to teach pupils at a school to swim for this reason. When I take my own kids swimming, I am always in the water with them and I let them have fun and gain confidence in the water.

    However what I found with hydro pool swimming was - it was frequently cancelled due to problems with the pool. The pool was very warm and heavily chlorinated both of these things deterred us from actually swimming. It was also very shallow- maybe about 1.2m deep max. Also, the time slot may have been 'an hour', but by the time we'd walked over, got changed etc the actual time in the water was half an hour tops. We didn't really 'swim' per se, but I sat there in shorts and t-shirt and watched the two/ three pupils in the group splash about and relax. I had one TA who refused to get in the water* and one TA in the water with me.

    I asked about the whole 'safety' thing, and the school seemed a bit bemused. I assume they made the assumption that because I was with primary age children, I was a primary school teacher and they can all teach swimming (!?) I'm secondary trained, so swimming wasn't part of my PGCE. I think they said I was covered by "something-something- we-trust-you-something-something". (I have in the past done some life-saving stuff and some whitewater kayak rescue stuff, so I'm not without a clue. This wasn't on my CV though....)

    Advice? Double check the school's policies, pack your swimming togs and a t-shirt and relax and enjoy the warm water. Always have a back-up activity for when the pool is shut and keep an eye open for code browns. Oh, and you can always request some PLD for either swimming or life-saving and add that to your CV.

    * One of the many things she refused to do.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    jlishman2158 and sbkrobson like this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I wouldn't say you need to do that until you have tried a few other things, because at the moment you are simply at the stage where you have been told to do something you don't feel comfortable with.
    So make yourself more comfortable with it.
    Make it known that you want time set aside to observe more experienced staff, which you say you have a few of.
    Then make it known that you want time set aside to sit and talk to them-take a list of questions eg what outcomes are expected? what contact is allowed? what is the potential for the activities to be dangerous? Eeek, what if there's a fire alarm?! Do you need to take life saving training?
    Ask staff about their qualifications in terms of certificates and experience.
    Ask if there is a chance to "shadow" another swimming teacher, pending enough room in there,pending it not bothering the kids.
    If there is an issue of being unqualified which transpires from all of this compared to the others, then take that to your managers with the name and price of the training, which you could research-this way, you are providing them with a solution and not looking moany about it at all. You want the kids to have the best teaching experience.

    Finally,i'm surprised that you have not embraced the best bit , that you too will be working in this beneficial environment. You might enjoy it. How many other science teachers get this buoyant?! At the end of the day, it's probably a question of dabbling about a bit while the kids have a chance to completely enjoy themselves with fewer shackles than usual.

    I cannot see anything that indicates a need to involve your union until you have done all/some of the above. I'm guessing it's a frame of mind thing-it's not what you usually do. I cannot imagine that your school will have knowingly placed you in a situation which negates insurance or endangers the kids or yourself at all.

    Edit-just saw the previous post, which I wholly agree with.
    annascience2012 and mrswallow like this.
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    not true, non science teachers can't take science practicals, non DT teachers can't take DT practicals.

    Hydro pools are absolutely fine for teaching swimming.

    Thats what children do in hydro pools!

    They have no concept of "therapy"

    but if you are not qualified, you should not be the person doing it
  17. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I'd agree teachers should teach 'their' subjects only. Many on here just think 'a teacher is a teacher' and that you should teach anything. Inerstingly, in most indies, all teachers tend to teach only 'their' subjects-I've heard of exceptions but the parents often complained. Yet state school pupils oftenn have a Maths teacher who is't qualified in the subject, and doesn't want to teach it.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  18. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    I used to work as a lifeguard and swimming teacher before doing my PGCE. Lots of schools used to use the pool during the day. I would teach one group of children and the school teacher would teach the another. The school teacher was the class teacher. I used to cringe sometimes at what they were taught by someone who wasn't a qualified swimming teacher but also at some of the dangerous things some of the class teachers would do around the pool as they were not familiar with working in a pool environment. if the teacher wasn't a swimmer themselves it really showed as to them it was such an alien environment.
    HolyMahogany and HelenREMfan like this.
  19. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Apparently the ASA now hold a Teacher of disabled qualification which a swimming teacher for the disabled would be expected to have taken. I would say you must not agree to teach without having the training and having passed the qualification.
    A disabled person/child offers more potential for a problem when swimming in the water - this would be dealt with on taking the ASA's qualification.
    Get your union's backing on this quickly.
  20. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    If you are not a qualified swimming teacher, then don't do it. Water is dangerous, and deep water is even more so. Throwing into the mix children that have specific learning needs may lead to a disaster. Could you undertake a poolside rescue? Could you resuscitate a child that had stopped breathing?
    Remember. The head that so glibly said you should be able to teach anything will be running for the hills (after they have suspended you pending an enquiry) should something go wrong.

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