STA Official Statement in Response to PAS 520 Baby Swimming Petition

Contrary to posts on social media networks today in response to, STA can officially confirm that the publication of the PAS 520 document Safeguarding 0 to 4 year old children within the teaching of swimming, including any associated professional photography – Code of practice does not affect the validity of your STA Level 2 Award in Aquatic Teaching- Baby and Pre-School.

The confusion seems to have come from the fact that PAS 520 document does not list every swimming qualification available; however the document does state (14.4.1) that:

…the swimming teacher should hold a home country recognised swimming teaching qualification for the classes they are delivering, with specific reference to general swimming teaching and specialist baby and pre-fundamental swimming teaching.

The STA Level 2 Award in Aquatic Teaching – Baby and Pre-School is on the English, Welsh and Scottish framework and is recognised in all home countries, please be assured. Also, Note 2 in the section recognised, STA is listed as a recognised awarding body who offer these qualifications. So the STA Baby and Pre-School qualification is recognised and will not require teachers to re-train.

In addition for clarity: in the document Note 4, attention is also drawn to the ASA Level 2 Award in Coaching Aquatic Pre-Fundamentals. This is only a note – it is not stating that this is the qualification you must hold.

The document is stating that all baby and pre-school teachers should hold a recognised level 2 general swimming teaching qualification, not just a baby and pre-school qualification. We believe this is not necessary as all teaching methods, practices, baby development and elements for teaching baby and pre-school lessons are included the STA Level 2 Award in Aquatic Teaching – Baby and Pre-School course.

We do however, like many swim schools, have other concerns about the PAS 520 document; for example all teachers holding a level 2 general teaching qualification and having children up to 4 years old in double nappies. The petition at is calling for the document to be amended to ensure it works for all baby swim schools – large, small, franchises and leisure centre based ones. While the document is serving to promote standards, which is good, not all of the guidance is practical for everyone.

If you have any specific concerns about the PAS 520 document please email me at

Swimming Teaching
Kaylё Brightwell

Kaylё Brightwell

Kaylë has been a swimming teacher for 23 years and specialises in baby and pre-school swimming. With 19 years' tutoring experience, she is passionate about encouraging people to learn to swim and be safe in the water. She has spoken internationally about the importance of learning to swim within a safe, supportive and inclusive environment with the participant at the centre of the lesson. She managed a swim school before joining STA in 2012 where she now heads the qualification development team, creating fit for purpose, high quality training qualifications.

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