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Upokongaro School Celebrates Swimming Success

Upokongaro School received a Swimming New Zealand Kiwi Swim Safe award at the recent Swimming New Zealand Awards.  This is a great achievement for Upokongaro School, a decile 2 school from rural Whanganui with a roll of 88 and were one of five schools recognised throughout New Zealand for their contribution to ensuring New Zealanders enjoy the water safely.

Cecilie Elliott (SNZ Education Adviser) recently presented the trophy at a school assembly to celebrate their success.

Upokongaro School have embraced the SNZ Kiwi Swim Safe programme since 2014 including the Water Skills for Life initiative from Water Safety NZ.  The schools aquatic programme includes on-going teacher professional development with Swimming New Zealand and all aspects of the Kiwi Swim Safe programme.  In fact, they have already booked for 2018!

The school have incorporated the classroom module with critical thinking about keeping themselves safe around water.  This includes Cecilie coming into the school spending time with each class covering dry land survival skills such as beach safety, river safety, the use of lifejackets and enabling the students to make safer decisions in, on and around water.  This is followed up with Cecilie assisting the staff poolside, using the Kiwi Swim Safe modules and the Water Skills for Life activities.  Cecilie says “just because you can swim several lengths of a school pool, it doesn’t mean you will survive if you get caught in a rip or moving river.  So developing survival skills is absolutely vital when teaching aquatics”.

Upokongaro School also include beach education with Surf Life Saving NZ over summer and prior to conducting any education outside the classroom that are around water, emphasis is made to ensuring students keep themselves safe whether they are in, on or around water.  

The school pool is usually open late in term four and is used throughout all of term one where students get the opportunity to swim every day.  Having the opportunity to swim every day helps develop the students water confidence and swimming and survival skills and this was evident at a recent inter-school swimming event, where Upokongaro School came away with several trophies.

Warren Brown (Principal) has already booked ongoing support from Swimming New Zealand so that their staff and students continually develop good swimming and survival skills.  

Congratulations Upokongaro School on a fantastic achievement!