Assessments and Awards

Assessment and awards

What framework do we follow?

We follow the Swim England framework. An established and highly regarded pathway that takes your child on a journey with their swimming. The framework develops both confidence and competence in the water. 

What are the fundamentals of the framework?

The Swim England framework will help progress your child and develop their techniques within the four swim strokes (backstroke, front crawl, breaststroke and butterfly) and a variety of water-based skills (for example push and glides, floating, treading water etc). Following that, swimmers will build on their pre-competitive ability in anticipation of progression into competitive swimming or a swimming club. 

How do the levels work?

Before swimmers are moved to the next level, we like them to complete both the swimming stage and water skill criteria. We also have distance badges and special achievement certificates which are awarded to identify specific progress in their swimming.

Please note that all children learn and progress differently, even when in the same group and it’s normal to have mixed certificates achieved. Groups can often have mixed abilities and swimmers might not necessarily be awarded the same certificate/badge even if they are in the same group.

Term Time Course Assessment 

Assessment of the children’s swimming is ongoing throughout term time, with a formal assessment week taking place nearer the end of the term. On the last swim of the term, each swimmer will then receive their certificates/awards for that term. There is no additional cost for the certificate or badge as this is included as part of the term costs.

Holiday Course Assessment

Assessment of the children’s swimming is ongoing throughout the weekly course they attend. On the last day of their course, they will be issued with a course completion note from their teacher outlining the award they have achieved. For holiday courses parents will then have the opportunity to purchases certificates/badges for £4.50 should they wish to.

Swimming Levels explained

Duckling Awards 1-4 

Aimed at children who are old enough to follow instructions and can move on their own. They give the child more independence and start to build their confidence in the water. These Awards are used to slowly build up the child ready for the Learn to Swim Framework Stages 1-7.

In order to provide the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, swimmers are required to show all 6 tasks consistently. A buoyancy aid can be used. Faces do not have to be submerged.

  • Make a supervised safe entry with adult support if required
  • Float on back with adult support behind the head without aids
  • Blow bubbles at the water surface
  • Wet the head without submersion
  • Kick five metres on back with adult support (it is recommended that an appropriate buoyancy aid is used)
  • Travel without assistance five metres to a floating object (it is recommended that an appropriate buoyancy aid is used)
  • Exit the water safely with minimal adult support

In order to provide the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, swimmers are required to show all 6 tasks consistently. A buoyancy aid can be used. Children can be submerged with assistance.

  • Make a sitting entry with adult support if required
  • Using a buoyancy aid, rotate through 180 degrees without assistance
  • Submerge the face with confidence under adult supervision and without force
  • Blow an object for a distance of two metres
  • Travel three metres using arms and/or legs without assistance (it is recommended that an appropriate buoyancy aid is used)
  • Move five metres along the rail or wall without assistance
  • Exit the water safely with minimal adult support

In order to provide the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, swimmers are required to show all 6 tasks consistently. A buoyancy aid can be used. The face should be placed in the water for the torpedo shape.

  • Make a supervised jump to an adult with or without support
  • Float on front or back without adult support
  • Show a streamlined shape on front or back when push off from a supporting adult
  • Blow bubbles with the mouth and nose underwater
  • Travel five metres on front to the side of the pool without assistance (it is recommended that an appropriate buoyancy aid is used)
  • Kick five metres on the front holding a float (the adult may hold the other end of the float)
  • Climb out of the water with assistance if required

By the end of this stage your child should be able to:

  • Enter the water from seated or standing position with full support from an adult and return to wall/poolside
  • Float on the front with aids and adult support
  • Reach and catch toys on top of and under surface of the water
  • Rotate 180 degrees either horizontally or vertically with minimal adult support using support aids
  • Push away from wall with an adult holding them throughout in a streamlined position
  • Be at ease wetting/splashing own face and putting their chin in the water
  • Travel on front using aids with adult support
  • Hold rail/side of pool and move towards step/ladders with adult support and buoyancy aids
  • Exit the water safely with adult supervision

Learn to Swim Framework Stages 1-7 (8-10 competitive swimming)

The Learn to Swim Framework is about developing confident and competent swimmers through fun and enjoyment. This part of the Programme not only teaches a child to swim using the four strokes. It also gives them a number of other waters-skills, which when put together, give children the ability to do a range of other water-based sports.

This stage focuses on developing basic safety awareness, the “class” scenario, basic movement skills and water confidence skills. Swimmers may use aids, such as noodles, floats etc. By the end of this stage, participants will be able to, with or without buoyancy equipment or support:

  • Enter the water safely
  • Travel forwards for a distance of 5 metres
  • Travel backwards for a distance of 5 metres
  • Travel sideways for a distance of 5 metres
  • Swim front or back for 5 metres (without aids or equipment, horizontal body position, bubbles from feet)
  • Submerge completely and blow bubbles in the water
  • Move into a stretched floating position without aids, equipment of support – must obtain a flat body position
  • Regain an upright position from on the back with support
  • Regain an upright position from on the front with support
  • Push and glide in a horizontal position achieving a distance of 2 metres to or from the wall
  • Take part in a teacher led, partner orientated game
  • Demonstrate an understanding of pool rules
  • Exit the water safely

This stage focuses on developing safe entries to the water, including jumping in, basic floating, travel front and back up to a distance of 5 metres, and rotating the body to regain an upright position. Swimmers will be assessed without the use of aids or support.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Jump in from poolside safely (must be independent, feet first pencil jump)
  • Blow bubbles a minimum of 3 times rhythmically with nose and mouth submerged
  • Regain upright position from the back without support (no support or aids to be used)
  • Regain an upright position from the front without support (no support or aids to be used)
  • Push from wall and glide on the back (without support for approx 2 metres, arms at side)
  • Push from wall and glide on the front (without support for approx 2 metres, face in the water)
  • Swim on the back for 5 metres (without aids or equipment, horizontal body position, bubbles from feet)
  • Swim on the front for 5 metres (without aids or equipment, horizontal body position, bubbles from feet)
  • Perform a rotation from the front to the back to gain an upright position (tick tocks, star float on front, tuck and return to vertical)
  • Perform a rotation from the back to the front to gain an upright position (tick tocks, star float on back, tuck and return to vertical)

Developing safe entries into the water – including submersion – travel up to 10 metres on the front and back, progress rotation skills and water safety knowledge. At this stage, the Swimmer will be assessed without the use of aids or support.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to, without support:

  • Jump in from the poolside and submerge (min. depth 0.9m)
  • Push away from wall on front and maintain a streamline position (1 hand on wall, 1 arm in front, sink, push & both hands in front)
  • Push and glide on the front with arms extended and log roll onto the back
  • Push and glide on the back with arms extended and log roll onto the front
  • Travel on the front, tuck to rotate around the horizontal axis to return on the back
  • Fully submerge to pick up an object
  • Correctly identify three of the four key water safety messages
  • Swim 10 metres independently on the back
  • Swim 10 metres independently on the front

Developing the understanding of buoyancy through a range of skills, refining kicking techniques for all strokes, and swimming 10 metres to a given standard as directed by Swim England.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of buoyancy
  • Perform a tuck float for 5 seconds
  • Perform sequence of changing shapes (minimum 3) whilst floating at the surface
  • Push and glide from the wall to the pool floor
  • Kick 10 metres Backstroke (one item of equipment optional)
  • Kick 10 metres Front crawl (one item of equipment optional)
  • Kick 10 metres Butterfly on the front or on the back (one item of equipment optional)
  • Kick 10 metres Breaststroke on the back (equipment optional)
  • Kick 10 metres Breaststroke on the front (equipment optional)
  • Perform on the back a head first sculling action for 5 metres in a horizontal position
  • Travel on back and roll in one continuous movement on to front
  • Travel on front and roll in one continuous movement on to back
  • Swim 10 metres, choice of stroke is optional

Developing ‘watermanship’ through sculling and treading water skills and complete rotation, also performing all strokes for a distance of 10 metres to the given standard as provided by Swim England within the NPTS resources.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to, without aids:

  • Perform a horizontal stationary scull on the back
  • Perform a feet first sculling action for 5 metres whilst horizontal on the back
  • Perform a sculling sequence with a partner for 30-45 seconds to include a rotation
  • Tread water for 30 seconds
  • Perform 3 different shaped jumps into deep water
  • Swim 10 metres Backstroke*
  • Swim 10 metres Front Crawl face in the water*
  • Swim 10 metres Breaststroke*
  • Swim 10 metres Butterfly*
  • Perform a handstand and hold for a minimum of 3 seconds
  • Perform a forwards somersault, tucked in the water
  • Demonstrate an action for getting help

*Refer to Swim England expected stroke standards sheet

Developing effective swimming skills including coordinated breathing across all strokes plus swimming a distance of 25 metres using a stroke of the Swimmers choice; developing the water safety aspects and understanding of preparation for exercise.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of preparation for exercise
  • Sink, push off on side from the wall, glide, kick and rotate into Backstroke
  • Sink, push off on side from the wall, glide, kick and rotate into Front crawl
  • Swim 10 metres with clothes on
  • Swim Front crawl to include at least six rhythmical breaths
  • Swim Breaststroke to include at least six rhythmical breaths
  • Swim Butterfly to include at least six rhythmical breaths
  • Swim 25 metres, choice of stroke is optional
  • Perform a “shout & signal” rescue
  • Perform a surface dive
  • Exit the water without using steps

Developing quality stroke technique up to 100 metres, incorporating skills learnt and combining them to develop a linked routine and complete successfully an obstacle course that combines a variety of skills accomplished throughout stages 1 – 7.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Swim 25 metres Backstroke
  • Swim 25 metres Front Crawl
  • Swim 25 metres Breaststroke
  • Swim 25 metres Butterfly

Perform a movement sequence of 1 minute duration, in a group of 3 or more, incorporating a number of the following skills:

  • Sculling: head first, feet first; rotation – forward, backwards somersault, log roll;
  • Floating: star on the front/on the back, tuck float, create own;
  • Eggbeater: moving, lifting one or both arms out of the water link skills with strokes and sculls.
  • Perform a sitting dive
  • Swim 50 metres continuously using one stroke
  • Swim 100 metres, using a minimum of 3 different strokes
  • Tread water using egg beater action for 30 seconds
  • Complete an obstacle course (using minimum of 4 objects) with feet off the bottom throughout

*Refer to Swim England expected stroke standards sheet

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Complete a set lasting 400 metres (e.g. 16 x 25 metres, 8 x 50 metres, 4 x 100 metres) on a specific turnaround time agreed by the teacher or coach (e.g. 1.00 minutes for each 25 metres) with a focus on stroke technique and consistency.
  • Swim 400 metres continuously using one stroke.
  • Push and streamline then kick 25 metres backstroke with or without using a board.
  • Push and streamline then kick 25 metres breaststroke with or without using a board.
  • Push and streamline then kick 25 metres butterfly without using a board.
  • Push and streamline then kick 25 metres front crawl with or without using a board.
  • Perform a backstroke turn from 10 metres in to 15 metres out.
  • Perform a breaststroke turn from 10 metres in to 15 metres out.
  • Perform a butterfly turn from 10 metres in to 15 metres out.
  • Perform a front crawl turn from 10 metres in to 15 metres out.
  • Perform a dive track or grab start, and kick butterfly underwater in a streamlined position for 5 metres with the focus on progressing it to 10 metres.

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Complete a set lasting 800 metres (either 16 x 50 metres, 8 x 100 metres, 4 x 200 metres) on a specific turnaround time as agreed by the teacher or coach (e.g. 1.30 minutes for 50 metres) with a focus on stroke technique and consistency.
  • Swim 800 metres continuously using one stroke.
  • Swim a continuous 100 metre individual medley (4 x 25 metres) using recognised turns with a focus on stroke technique and consistency.
  • Perform a 15 metre underwater kick on front from a push and glide in a streamlined position
  • Perform a backstroke start then butterfly kick in a streamlined position underwater up to a maximum of 15 metres from the start point (wall). Transfer into stroke and complete the remainder of the 25 metres.*
  • Perform a front crawl start then kick in a streamlined position underwater up to a maximum of 15 metres from the start point (wall). Transfer into stroke and complete the remainder of the 25 metres.*
  • Perform a butterfly start then kick in a streamlined position up to a maximum of 15 metres from the start point (wall). Transfer into stroke and complete the remainder of the 25 metres.*
  • Perform a breaststroke start then perform a one and a half pull underwater. Transfer into stroke and complete the remainder of the 25 metres.*

*Refer to Swim England expected stroke standards sheet

By the end of this stage, participants will be able to:

  • Complete a set lasting 1600 metres (either 16 x 100 metres, 8 x 200 metres, 4 x 400 metres) on a specific timed turnaround set by the teacher or coach (e.g. 2.30 minutes for 100 metres), focus on stroke technique and consistency.
  • Perform a continuous 100 metre individual medley kick (4 x 25 metres) without using a kick board.
  • Swim a continuous 200 metre individual medley (4 x 50 metres) using recognised turns.
  • Perform a front crawl relay take over – as an incoming swimmer.
  • Perform a front crawl relay take over – as an outgoing swimmer.

 Water-Skills Awards 1-6 

The Swim England Water Skills awards are key for developing your child’s water-based skills successfully across six grading level. 

  • To enter shallow water from the poolside in a safe manner. Assistance may be provided via the steps of from the poolside
  • To move across the pool with the water surface no lower than shoulder level
  • To submerge the face in the water and blow bubbles for 3 seconds
  • To push and glide from the poolside or bottom on the front and change to a resting or standing position
  • To push and glide from the poolside or bottom on the back and change to a resting or standing position
  • To travel on the back and change to a resting or standing position
  • To travel on the back a minimum distance of 5 metres
  • To rotate from the back to the front position and gain a resting/standing position
  • To propel a floating object (e.g. a ball) for 3 metres by any method
  • To demonstrate a horizontal or vertical stationary floating position for 10 seconds
  • To enter shallow water unaided from a standing or sitting position without the use of steps
  • To submerge the head completely and blow out under water for a minimum of 3 seconds
  • To hold a tucked floating position for a minimum of five seconds (this may be on the front or back with the face submerged or kept out of the water)
  • To swim one width on the front using a crawl-type front paddle propulsive action
  • To swim one width on the front using a crawl-type leg action
  • To swim one width on the front or back using breaststroke type action
  • To swim one width full stroke on the front or the back with arm recovery over the water
  • To demonstrate a horizontal or vertical floating position for 20 seconds
  • To demonstrate a 360 degree turn or roll – from a horizontal or vertical position without making contact with the pool bottom
  • To swim two widths without pausing using any stroke or strokes
  • To jump into water of at least full reach depth
  • To swim 4 widths without a pause using any stroke or strokes
  • To submerge in shallow water and retrieve an object from the pool bottom using both hands
  • To tread water out of standing depth using arms/or legs for 20 seconds
  • To swim 2 widths on the front demonstrating good technique
  • To swim 2 widths on the back demonstrating good technique
  • To swim a minimum of 10 metres showing 3 changes of direction without touching the side or bottom of the pool
  • To scull head first for 5 metres
  • To swim through a hoop submerged in water of shoulder depth
  • To swim continuously for 1 minute using 2 different strokes and with good style
  • To jump into water of at least full reach depth and swim 25 metres without touching the side or bottom of the pool
  • To surface dive in water of at least full reach depth demonstrating good technique
  • To perform a forward somersault using a push and glide if necessary
  • To swim breaststroke or front crawl for 25 metres showing good technique
  • To swim backstroke for 25 metres showing good technique
  • To scull head first for 5 metres and return sculling feet first
  • To scull head first for 5 metres using dolphin leg action
  • To swim 2 widths of any stroke including a ‘correct’ turn complying with ASA rules
  • To enter water of at least full reach depth and tread water for 20 seconds followed by a 25 metre swim
  • To swim five metres under water
  • Tread water for 30 seconds followed by a 25 metres swim, which includes passing through a submerged hoop.
  • Perform a backward somersault using a push and glide if necessary.
  • Perform a surface dive in water of at least full reach depth* followed by an underwater swim of at least 5 metres.
  • Swim 50 metres in 90 seconds.
  • Swim 25 metres using an inverted breaststroke or backstroke.
  • Perform a head first entry into water of at least full reach depth* and swim 25 metres of front crawl.
  • Swim one width of front crawl finishing with a forward somersault into the poolside and a push and glide away on the back or front.
  • Swim one width of butterfly.
  • Jump into water of at least full reach depth* attaining a good height and upright position in flight.
  • Swim 25 metres propelling a ball and maintaining close control throughout.
  • Swim 75 metres within two minutes using three different strokes and demonstrating good technique.
  • Perform the following skills consecutively and without pause: head first scull for 5 metres; somersault; feet first scull for 5 metres and a 360 degree rotation in a vertical tucked position.
  • Swim three widths of front crawl showing two appropriate turns and demonstrating good technique.
  • Swim three widths of backstroke showing two backstroke turns and demonstrating good technique.
  • Swim three widths of breaststroke showing two breaststroke turns and demonstrating good technique.
  • Swim two widths butterfly.
  • Perform two jumps into water of at least full reach depth* gaining height and taking up a different position in flight selected from straight, tuck, pike, turning and somersault.
  • Propel a ball for a minimum distance of 25 metres controlling it throughout and demonstrating two changes of direction of at least 90 degrees.
  • Plunge dive into water of at least full reach depth*, holding the glide for 5 metres.
  • Plunge dive into water of at least full reach depth* and tread water for one minute.

 Distance Awards

The Distance Awards are given to swimmers who demonstrate their ability to swim from A to B without pause and without stress. They are a great way to give swimmers the incentive to develop their swimming abilities and stamina by gradually increasing the distance they can swim.

Swimming Challenge Awards

  • To jump into water of at least full reach depth
  • To swim 10 metres, followed by a surface-dive into water of at least full reach depth and under water swim for a distance of 5 metres
  • To tread water in a vertical position for 3 minutes
  • To scull head-first on the back for 15 metres with the feet at, or near, the surface throughout
  • To swim 400 metres using two strokes. Changes of stroke can only occur at the completion of a length of the pool. A minimum of 100 metres is to be swum on each stroke
  • To climb out at the deep end without assistance
  • To plunge dive into water of at least full reach depth
  • To swim 100 metres in less than 3 minutes using any stroke. A change of stroke may only occur at the completion of a length of the pool
  • To tread water for 2 minutes with one hand behind the back
  • To swim 10 metres, followed immediately by 2 surface-dives into water of full reach depth, one head first and one feet first, bringing an object to the surface on each occassion
  • To scull head first on the back for 10 metres and return by sculling 10 metres feet first. A horizontal position must be maintained throughout
  • To swim 800 metres: 400 metres on the front and 400 metres on the back. A change of stroke may only occur every 5 metres
  • To climb out at the deep end without assistance
  • To plunge dive into water of at least full reach depth and swim 100 metres in two minutes, 30 seconds or less, using two different strokes, 50 metres of each
  • To tread water for 3 minutes with one hand remaining above the head throughout. The arm raised may be changed no more than 5 times
  • To scull head-first on the back for 10 metres, move into a tucked position and turn through 360 degrees keeping the head above water. Return to the starting point by sculling feet first with the feet at or near the surface throughout and the hands close to the hips
  • To swim 10 metres, perform a forward somersault without touching the pool bottom and continue to swim in the same direction for a further 10 metres
  • To swim 800 metres using 3 of the following strokes; front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, English backstroke or sidestroke for a minimum distance of 200 metres per stroke. A change of stroke may only occur every 100 metres. This swim to be completed in 25 minutes.
  • To climb out at the deep end without assistance

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