Dive into swimming and water-safety programs

Book swimming instruction and water-safety education, and check out the voucher program and games to promote students' safety.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023 at 5:22 am
Image of children swimming

Swimming in Schools and the popular Bush Nippers programs can teach students how to swim, develop lifelong skills in water-safety and confidently enjoy water-based activities.

Swimming in Schools and the Victorian Curriculum

If you haven't done so already, now is a great time to book in your school's Swimming in Schools program for 2023. The program provides funding to schools for students to learn how to swim and develop lifelong skills in water-safety, reducing their risk of drowning and injury.

Swimming is in the Health and Physical Education key learning area of the Victorian Curriculum. The Victorian Water Safety Certificate describes the competencies that students should achieve by the end of primary school.

These skills enable students to safely enjoy water-based activities in calm and shallow aquatic environments. The competencies focus on water-safety knowledge, rescue skills, survival sequences and the ability to swim a continuous distance of 50 metres.

Visit the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority's website to access teaching resources.

From beach to bush – Bush Nippers program makes a splash

The Bush Nippers program went to Beechworth and Bendigo in the summer holidays, with WIN News on hand to cover the inaugural program at Beechworth.

In Bendigo, the program was offered in partnership with the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre and gave children water-safety and lifesaving skills at the most critical time of year for water-safety.

An open-water learning experience and lifesaving education program, Bush Nippers builds the lifesaving and water-safety knowledge and skills of children aged 5 to 14 years in open-water environments.

Delivered by qualified swim teachers, Bush Nippers teaches children techniques including first aid, community survival strategies, survival swim strokes, board paddling, how to use safety equipment for rescues and how to identify coastal, pool and inland waterway conditions and risks.

This program is particularly important in Victorian regions following the recent flood events, which resulted in significant changes to many inland waterways.

Regional education programs, such as Bush Nippers, are an important part of school swimming and water-safety programs.

Statistics show regional Victorians are almost twice as likely to drown as metropolitan residents.

Contact Life Saving Victoria to book lifesaving education or Bush Nippers programs.

Safe beaches

Schools can encourage parents and carers to access the Surf Life Saving Australia Beachsafe website (also available as an app). The site allows you to view a location and find the closest patrolled beaches.

School Swimming outside school hours

Schools are still able to issue vouchers to students, even if they can't book swimming lessons during Term 1, 2023.

To access the voucher program:

  • determine which students are eligible to receive vouchers
  • liaise with your usual swim school to confirm the number of swimming lessons available to students outside of school hours
  • send a letter to parents and carers, including the participation request form and voucher
  • provide the swim school with the list of student names after parents and carers have returned the participation request form.

For more information, refer to School Swimming Outside of School Hours Voucher Program and follow the steps in the FAQs for Schools (docx - 361kb)

Find out more

For more information about Swimming in Schools, contact Alison Porter, Statewide Swimming Coordinator:

For enquiries relating to the design of swimming and water-safety programs that meet the Victorian Curriculum F-10, contact Life Saving Victoria: