This is STA’s dedicated page for keeping members up-to-date with all the latest government announcements relating to COVID-19 restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Date: 23rd February 2021: Update on School Swimming Lessons in England
In answer to all the questions about school swimming in relation to all children going back to face-to-face learning in schools on 8th March in England …
Yes swimming lessons can continue when delivered as part of the PE curriculum, either in their own school pool or in a public one if it is open.
Technically, school swimming lessons have been able to continue throughout the lockdown for those children attending school in person, if the normal school or leisure pool they use is open.
- Date: 23rd February 2021: Scotland Update
The First Minister has just outlined the route map out of lockdown for Scotland, it’s not set-in concrete and will be a phased, regional approach. The target dates, they are aiming for, subject to the data are:
- 15th March – group outdoor sports
- End of April – the opening of leisure and gyms.
We will keep a close watch on any further developments and let our Scottish members know mid-March, when the First Minister hopes to be able to give more details.
- Date: 22nd February 2021: England Update
Subject to everything going to plan, the Government has announced its roadmap out of lockdown for England – this means for aquatics, the opening plan is as follows:
Step 1 – 29th March
- Outdoor swimming pools
Step 2 – 12th April
- Indoor leisure centres and gyms
- All children’s activities, indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents)
Step 3 – 17th May
- Organised adult indoor group sports and exercise classes
- Date: 27th Janaury 2021: Update on Schools in England
The Prime Minister confirmed this evening that schools in England will not be able to reopen to all pupils after the February half-term, but could do so from 8 March. He said this was the earliest schools could reopen and “depends on lots of things going right”.
- Date: 21st January 2021: Northern Ireland Update
The First and Deputy Ministers for Northern Ireland confirmed today that the current national lockdown restrictions will be extended until 5th March.
A decision on schools reopening, who are currently closed until after the February half term, is being reviewed next week.
- Date: 19th January 2021: Scotland Update
Today the First Minister confirmed that the lockdown in Scotland is being extended to at least the middle of February.
There are no changes to measures and schools will continue to remain closed except in the case of vulnerable children and those of key workers.
- Date: 4th January 2021: Lockdown in England
By law, from Wednesday 6th January 2021 (but the government has requested we take action immediately) all indoor and outdoor swimming must close in England.
The only exemptions to the rule are:
- Organised outdoor sport for people with disabilities can continue
- Schools, who can use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision for curriculum school swimming lessons.
For information on all the restrictions, please click here.
These restrictions apply until Sunday 21st February 2020.
- Date: 4th January 2021: Lockdown in Scotland
From midnight on 4th January, residents in Scotland have been ordered to stay at home until the end of January.
Based on the information we understand so far, sport and physical activity can only take place outdoors – the frequency of outdoor exercise will not be limited, but the rule on gatherings will change – a maximum of two people from up to two households are able to meet outside (this includes 12-17 year olds). Children aged 11 and under won’t be counted in the limit and they will be able to play outdoors in larger groups, including organised gatherings.
For further information on all the restrictions, please click here.
- Date: 21st December 2020: Scotland and Northern Ireland
Scotland – From Boxing Day (26th December), the whole of mainland Scotland will enter into Level 4 restrictions for at least three weeks. This sadly requires the closure of leisure centres and swimming pools.
Northern Ireland – From 12.01 am on 26 December additional restrictions for people living in Northern Ireland will be introduced for six weeks, with a review after four weeks. This means all sports facilities such as leisure centres, health clubs and swimming pools must close. Physical education delivered by or for schools, pre-schools and other education providers is permitted to continue.
- Date: 19th December 2020: Update on Tier 4 for England and Wales
Update on Tier 4 (England) – The Government confirmed that indoor sport (swimming lessons) is only permitted in Tier 4 areas for under-18s taking part in school swimming lessons that are delivered as part of the PE curriculum (for clarity a school is defined as an educational institute, which is outside of the further education sector and the higher education sector and is an institute for providing primary and secondary education, or both). Indoor swimming pools located in Tier 4 areas must close from midnight tonight. Indoor swimming pools remain open in Tiers 1, 2 and 3, but people living in Tier 4 are not permitted to travel into a Tier 1, 2 or 3 area – the government guidance clearly states that: “You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons.”
Update on Wales entering Alert Level 4 – Wales planned national lockdown has been brought forward and will come into effect from midnight tonight. This sadly requires the closure of leisure centres and swimming pools.
- Date: 18th December 2020: Adult 1:1 in Tier 2 - England
DCMS and CIMSPA have confirmed that 1:1 personal training, which will include swimming, is allowed in private homes in Tier 2 (England).
- Date: 18th December 2020: Northern Ireland Update
Following the disappointing news about Wales closing leisure at the end of business on 24th December and entering into Tier 4 restrictions on 28th December, Northern Ireland have also now confirmed they will go into lockdown on 26th December which will also see the closure of leisure centres and swimming pools. Northern Ireland’s measures will be reviewed after 4 weeks.
To our members and partners in Northern Ireland and Wales, please know we are here to support you as best as we can through these extremely difficult times.
- Date: 16th December 2020: Wales Update
Disappointedly, from the end of business on 24th December, all leisure centres and swimming pools (for public swims and swimming lessons) will need to close and then following the 5-day Christmas period, on December 28, Wales will enter into Level 4 restrictions – which means that swimming pools (for public swims and swimming lessons) will remain closed. The only exemption is for school swimming lessons delivered as part of the PE curriculum (for clarity a school is defined as an educational institute, which is outside of the further education sector and the higher education sector and is an institute for providing primary and secondary education, or both).
The new restrictions apply to all of Wales, click here for further information.
- Date: 2nd December 2020: Update from Sport England
Sport England, the government body for sport, has today issued updated guidance in the form of a FAQ, and it specifically references swimming pools in relation to calculating bathing loaders, which we know has been a problematic issue for many members and has hindered the opening of pools. We are therefore pleased to confirm that Sport England state “pool operators should restrict numbers to allow three square metres per bather”. This concurs with STA’s guidance.
There is also good news for swim schools running parent and child sessions – Sport England has confirmed “different groups of up to six (tier 1) or household/support bubbles (tiers 2 and 3) can use the facility at the same time, provided they don’t mix”.
For more detailed information, please visit Frequently asked questions on the return of sport and activity | Sport England
- Date: 1st December 2020: Updated Tier Guidance For Swimming Lessons And Non-Team Aquatics In England Post Lockdown 2
- Date: 23rd November 2020: England Update
As of 2nd December the Government has announced that swimming pools can reopen in England across all tiers, meaning grassroots swimming lessons for under 18s and disabled people can resume.
Click here for further information.
- Date: 18th November 2020: Updated guidance for Scotland
- Date: 13th November 2020: Updated Guidance for Wales
- Date: 10th November 2020: Update on Extra-curricular Sport in Schools
The Youth Sport Trust, Sport and Recreation Alliance, ukactive and Association for Physical Education have confirmed what extra-curricular sport, which will include school swimming, is permitted under the Government’s new lockdown guidance in England. See here for further information.
- Date: 6th November 2020: Updated Guidance for swimming pools in England – Lock Down 2
- All public and private swimming pools in England closed for swimming lessons from 5th November – including all lessons in residential homes
- The ONLY exemption are school swimming lessons that are organised as part of a school’s normal national curriculum programme. They can continue as normal, in their own school pool or at their ‘regular’ local pool if that operator chooses to open for school swimming lessons only. Note: school pools cannot externally rent their pools for non-curriculum private swimming lessons
- Boarding Schools are also permitted to run after school activity only for their own boarding pupils. Any activity providing ‘childcare’ is exempt from the regulations, and in this case the children are under the care of the boarding school throughout the week, even when outside of timetabled school hours. In this context, the school is able to hold ‘after school’ swimming clubs for boarders (non-boarders are not permitted under the guidance)
- For further information click here.
- Date: 5th November 2020: Guidance for the Reopening of Swimming Pools in Wales
Updated Guidance for the reopening of swimming pools in Wales on from the 9th November 2020.
- Date: 9th September 2020: England Update
Following on from the Prime Minister’s press conference on 9th September about the ‘6’ rule for England, Sport England have clarified that organised sports and activities which have been through return to play protocols will be allowed to continue as before – this includes swimming lessons in line with STA’s members guidance below.
In summary people can continue to:
- Take part in organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols
- Take part in organised outdoor sports and physical activity events
- Use leisure facilities, including gyms and pools.
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