Young child learning to swim

We are proud to offer you the very best in swimming lessons at Riverside Leisure Centre or South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre following the Swim England Learn to Swim Framework.

Punctuality and getting ready

For lessons to run smoothly, please arrive on time. Before each lesson, please make sure that your child has used the toilet and put on their free-swimming hat (Stage 1 upwards).


Our changing rooms can get busy at certain periods; therefore, we ask everyone to use the lockers provided and not to leave clothes in the changing cubicles. Lockers are £1 which is returnable.

Swimming hats for children

Our swim school requires all children to wear a swimming hat during lessons. Each Stage will require a colour coded hat for classes as follows:

  • Stage 1: Red
  • Stage 2: Orange
  • Stage 3: Yellow
  • Stage 4: Green
  • Stage 5: Light Blue
  • Stage 6: Dark Blue
  • Stage 7: Purple
  • Specialised: Black

Hats and bags will be handed to new students on their first day. Each time your child passes a stage is passed, we will give them a new hat.

We operate a strict 'no-hat, no-lesson' policy (unless you have provided a medical reason). Discovery Duckling and Duckling classes are not required to wear hats. If you have lost the hat, there will be a £1 charge to replace the hat from reception.

Continual progression and moving children up to the next Stage

We continually assess each child. Please note that we require the children to complete all outcomes of the Stage they are in, but this is not the only criteria for moving a child up. We also look at the confidence of the child and the technique of all the strokes.

What you can do to help

Ensure your child attends every lesson - frequency is the key to learning. Children regress quickly if not given time to practice.

Give praise and encouragement – recognise your child’s effort, no matter how small the achievement.

Bring them swimming on a regular basis – not just for their swimming lessons, but to practise what they have learnt in the lesson (free of charge during a public session for each child on our ‘Get In! To Swim School’).

Pre-school lessons: Discovery Duckling and Duckling Classes

Babies are welcome from 4 months old and must wear swim nappies. If your child is sick in the pool or fills their nappy, please tell us immediately. Please do not bring children/babies to their lesson if they have a heavy cold, tummy upset, infection or temperature.

We run these lessons Monday to Friday. Please not that these classes only run 39 weeks of the year and do not run in the school holidays.

Junior Swim Lessons

Stage 1 – Available for children from the age of 4 who are at full time education for non-swimmers. The aim of this class is to build water confidence and achieve 5 metres front and back paddle. Once they have achieved this along with some skills, they will progress to Stage 2. We have assistant teachers in all these classes.

Stage 2 – Introducing strokes and building up water confidence. The aim of this class is to complete all the outcomes and swim 10 metres front and back. We also start to look at the techniques for the strokes.

Stage 3 – We run Stage 3 lessons in the main pool, and we focus on submersion and building on stroke techniques and stamina.

Stage 4 – Working through all the aspects of Stage 4 including the understanding buoyancy and refining the technique of all strokes.

Stage 5 – Working through all aspects of Stage 5 including sculling, treading water and rotation skills. Improving on stroke technique and building up stamina.

Stage 6 – Working through all aspects of Stage 6 including developing effective swimming skills including co-ordinated breathing.

Stage 7 – Developing quality stroke technique over lengths, incorporating skills learnt and combing them to develop a linked routine and complete successfully an obstacle course that combines a variety of skills accomplished through Stage 1 to 7.

Continuing their swimming journey after Stage 7

Stage 8, 9, 10 (SWF) Water Skills 5 and 6, progressing onto the Bronze, Silver and Gold Challenge Awards leading onto the Rookie Lifeguard Courses. You can find more information about Stages 8 and beyond.

Terms and conditions

You can also check the Swim School terms and conditions.

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