We asked West Mercia’s Water Safety Education Manager to tell us a bit about the importance of water safety, his new role and where parents can find water safety information.
My name is Andy Lane and I am the recently appointed Water Safety Education Manager for West Mercia, employed in a partnership role between the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) and the West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner’s office.
My background is rooted firmly in education, mostly (but not exclusively) as a Primary School teacher. Throughout my career I’ve worked hard to provide all the children in my care with the best educational opportunities available, to enable them to become independent, inquisitive and well-rounded individuals. I’ve also worked on a variety of education-based projects, designed to improve provision and access for all.
On a personal level, as a father of 5 I’m well aware of the safety issues facing our children, whether they be at home, at school, on the internet or out and about in our towns, cities and countryside. This is one reason why my new position at the RLSS is close to my heart.
As the RLSS Education Manager, the ultimate aim of my role is to create a cross-curricular education pilot which could be delivered across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and help to shape water safety education nationally.
Building on the existing work and the current Home and Dry course, I will build connections with local and national networks, test different approaches, use statistics and incident data to create a more detailed profile of the problem, and help shape a package which is effective and can be rolled out widely to benefit as many people as possible.
I am excited to be part of this campaign, helping to develop a greater understanding of the dangers to prevent future tragedies.
Sadly, accidental drowning takes the lives of around 402 UK and Irish citizens each year. Throughout 2020 and 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19, millions of young people have also missed out on the vital opportunity to swim, leaving a dramatic gap in school swimming and water safety education.
With summer and the school holidays upon us, I would really like to reach as many parents as possible as I know they can be a big ally when it comes to embedding learning outside of the classroom. The lack of access to tuition, coupled with a desire to enjoy being out and about this summer is a real safety concern, so RLSS UK are calling on everyone to aid us in our mission to educate children and young people, giving them the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.
We would really be pleased if you would like to take advantage of our FREE online resources, which aim to encourage everyone across the UK and Ireland, to learn basic water safety skills. Our resources, which include lesson plans, presentations, games, PE and swimming session activities, have been helpfully grouped into Pre-School, Primary and Secondary school resources. In addition, we have worked with the Youth Sport Trust to create a suite of SEND resources.
We have also produced a consumer e-magazine – a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about water safety. It’s packed full of tips, advice and stories to help you and yours enjoy water safely and includes videos and posters. All our competitions have now ended but you can still read our tips & advice here – https://issuu.com/rlssuk/docs/rlss_uk_lifesavers_114_2021
With your support, we can equip children and young people with the skills and education to stay safe and have fun near water, this summer and beyond.