Salmond welcomes swimming boost

First Minister Alex Salmond.
First Minister Alex Salmond.

First Minister Alex Salmond, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to swimming lessons for primary school children.

The Scottish Government has added an extra £500k to the existing pot of £1.2m as part of the Top Up Swimming programme – which started in 2010. The extra funding will keep the programme running until at least 2015.

The programme has both confirmed and highlighted the variation in school swimming delivery in Scotland and has challenged how school swimming is currently being delivered.

It has also been a catalyst for change with Local Authorities exploring new and innovative ways of delivering swimming.

Mr Salmond recently wrote to Aberdeenshire Council to ask what provisions the local authority has made in offering swimming lessons following requests by concerned constituents.

Commenting, Mr Salmond stated: “I believe we need to go to great lengths to ensure that from a young age pupils are getting opportunities to learn how to swim with experienced instructors.

“This is part of the Scottish Government’s overall commitment to promote physical fitness and wellbeing through education especially in the build up to the Commonwealth Games.

“The Top Up swimming programme has fostered innovation in how swimming lessons are delivered by local authorities.

“I am delighted that we have been able to commit more money to the scheme to keep it afloat until 2015.

“I have written to Aberdeenshire Council to ask what provisions they have made for primary school pupils to receive swimming lessons.

“Aberdeenshire is home to some of Scotland’s top swimmers, I hope that this will prompt the council to help deliver the next generation of Hannah Miley’s.”