Save Our Schoolkids: Govt to partner on swim safety
A LANDMARK partnership between water safety groups and the State Government will deliver a nation-leading swim and survival program for Queensland students.
This follows a successful series of roundtable meetings arranged by Education Minister Grace Grace after The Courier-Mail and News Regional Media's unprecedented Save Our Schoolkids (S.O.S.) campaign.
While proposed changes will not be finalised until August, the State Government yesterday said it was committed to exploring additional funding options and ensuring that 100 per cent of schools offer swimming lessons.
Helping drive the improvements will be a Queensland-first collaboration between key water safety bodies Surf Life Saving, Royal Lifesaving and teaching group AUSTSWIM.
It is understood a standardised program will be developed in which students will progress through up to four levels of achievement, catering for different age groups and skills.
There will also be theory components aligned with the Australian Curriculum.
Remote schools may receive intensive courses where local dams and rivers are used for practical elements.
Prototype portable pools, which can be placed in rural waterways to ensure safety, are being looked at as an option.
Ms Grace and stakeholders say the pooling of knowledge created by the roundtables will deliver enduring improvements.
"We are making real headway towards achieving a comprehensive approach to improving water safety for Queensland's children,'' Ms Grace said. "There are a number of great proposals on the table about how we can work together to plug the gaps.''
Surf Life Saving Queensland chief executive John Brennan said the collaboration between key groups and government was a first.
"Together we can give our kids the best program in the country,'' he said. "All we want is a safer Queensland and we want to provide the best platform for this to occur.''