Swim lesson plan with GDC, MLT

The Gore District Council (GDC) finance and policy committee is considering a proposal which would involve joining forces with the Mataura Licensing Trust to fund swimming lessons for school pupils.

The council's finance and policy committee is to discuss the possibility of approving in principle that $12,820 be added by way of submission to the 2009-19 Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) estimates for further consideration. The committee hopes to discuss the overall funding with the MLT this afternoon.

The idea was first put in front of councillors in August last year when the MLT approached the council about providing financial assistance towards swimming lessons for primary school pupils after it had been approached by West Gore School with a request.

GDC chief executive Steve Parry said the council had requested more information about the idea when it was first discussed.

Recent Water Safety New Zealand statistics showed just one in five 10-yearolds nationally could swim 200m which was the benchmark for being able to swim and survive in the water.

Gore aquatic services manager Kim Peterson surveyed the district's schools to gauge the need and volume of support required when considering swimming lessons for pupils, a memo tabled for discussion at the meeting stated.

The survey showed that about 38 per cent of the pupils in the district were receiving the minimum swimming training while the rest fell well short, Ms Peterson stated in a memo.

Schools were underfunded, but tried to get some level of swimming tuition for pupils. Parents were being asked to make up some of the shortfall, but it remained that an adequate level of swimming was not being provided because of a combination of swimming and transport costs, Ms Peterson said.

‘‘There is some concern about the quality of tuition being delivered. Class sizes are greater than 10 pupils and qualified tutors are not being used to the extent required to ensure a good level of learning is obtained. Again the reason given for this is purely based on cost,'' Ms Peterson said in the memo.

Based on the survey results, it was recommended a funding mechanism be established to ensure that quality and quantity of swimming tuition was being delivered.

A similar arrangement existed between the Invercargill City Council (ICC) and the Invercargill Licensing Trust; swimming lessons were totally funded, with ICC funding 30 per cent.

Applying the same principle to the GDC, the level of funding required would be $23,076 minus the existing GDC subsidy of $10,256, which left a shortfall of $12,820. Schools and the MLT would be required to contribute $53,844, the memo stated.


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