Schools around Cornwall are welcoming back swimming lessons after having stopped them throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

A large number of schools are now getting pupils back into the water at local leisure centres after an absence of more than twelve months.

So far 59 schools have signed up for lessons run by GLL, a not-for-profit social enterprise that operates under the Better brand.

The intensive sessions are designed to help children swim 25 metres before they leave primary school – a national curriculum requirement.

St Austell, Wadebridge, Bude and Truro leisure centres have been welcoming school groups since reopening on April 12 and feedback to date has been very positive.

David Bevan, from Bude Primary Academy, said: "I think the Covid measures have been implemented superbly and the Better team have been very clear in explaining them to the children and our staff.

"The three instructors are superb.

"I think having a two-week block is the way forward and there has been a great deal of progress in two sessions."

George Keast, from Foxhole Learning Academy, said: "After having a year of no swimming, it’s amazing to see the children back in the water.

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"Two weeks of intensive lessons has helped the children remember key skills and build their confidence.

"A massive thank you to everyone involved."

From GLL’s perspective, welcoming classes back has proved equally rewarding.

Deby Cain, a Better swimming instructor at St Austell Leisure Centre, said: "It’s so lovely to be teaching again.

"The children have been so happy and their parents are delighted with the emphasis on water safety.

"It feels really good to be back doing what we love."

GLL Senior Manager Amelia Kitchen is encouraging other schools to book their sessions as well.

Amelia said: "It’s not too late and it’s really super to see how much enthusiasm there is for these lessons.

"Our processes are very Covid-secure and, living in a place like Cornwall, it’s so important for children to feel comfortable and confident in water.

"Watching them have fun and progress is a real privilege."

Indoor swimming pools are available in the following Better leisure centres: Bodmin, Bude, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Saltash, Ships & Castles Falmouth, St Austell, St Ives, Truro, Wadebridge and Waterworld Newquay.

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