The County Durham Schools Swimming conference is a superb event taking place online on 21 May 2021 bringing people together to network, discuss and share ideas relating to key aquatic and child centred swim development. Key topics include; swim-stroke progressions, skill development, swimming engagement and improved pupil outcomes through high quality, positive and developmental lesson provision.
The conference has been developed by professionals in aquatics and education and aims to inspire and engage PE coordinators, school teaching and support staff, swimming teachers, programme coordinators, tutors, ‘Learn to Swim’ providers and all others impassioned about and engaged in the delivery or organisation of school swimming and water safety programmes.
With two inspirational and thought-provoking live keynote sessions, six informative presentations and an opportunity to take part in two live interactive workshops, this event is not to be missed!
To take part in this online conference delegates must have a device with internet connection, an up to date web browser installed (we recommend Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome) and either a speaker or headset.
Devices will need the most up to date Microsoft Teams application installed. Delegates with their camera and microphone enabled to please note that live sessions and workshops will be recorded to allow delegates to watch sessions at a later time.
Delegates will be sent login details to the online conference platform on 14 May 2021 in order to access pre-conference materials, including the online conference support guide.
- 9.30 – 9.40 Welcome by David Bullen, Education Durham
- 9.40 – 10.10 Jane Nickerson (keynote), Jane shares the importance of swimming in children’s fundamental development and the important role swimming teachers play and how together we can overcome the current challenges facing provision.
- 10.30 – 11.10 Workshop 1
- 11.40 – 12.20 Presentations
- 1.00 – 1.40 Workshop 2
- 1.50 – 2.30 Presentations
- 2.40 – 3.20 Tom Haffield (keynote), Tom presents his swimming journey; one of dedication, commitment, challenge, and inspiration. Ultimately this led to qualification for the Beijing Olympics, achieving British and Commonwealth success and giving back to sport as he qualified as a Level 2 swimming teacher.
- 3.20 – 3.30 Close by David Bullen, Education Durham
Delegates can choose one of the following:
1a. Supporting pupils with SEND and providing an inclusive swimming provision - Alex Barrett (Swim England)
An interactive and engaging session that will bring you lots of ideas and opportunities for discussion around strategies and adaptations to support SEND/inclusion in swimming lessons.
1b. Supporting the Early Years Foundation Stage through pre-school lessons - Kirsty Wilkinson (Education Durham) and Catherine Butt (Swim England Tutor)
An informative session looking at child development in the Early Years Foundation Stage and the fun activities that may support the teaching of core aquatic skills.
1c. Developing an inspiring mindset to teach - Graeme Foreman (Performance Psychologist, Coach, Mentor and Author)
An insightful and thought-provoking session exploring positive teaching methods. Discover the key steps teachers can make to support the success of swimmers in building a growth mindset and achieving potential.
Delegates can watch any of the following presentations:
Synchronised swimming - An introduction to FUNdamentals and progressions - Matt Thompson (Swim England Tutor)
An opportunity to improve and develop a knowledge and understanding of progressions and developmental skills for sculling linked to synchronised swimming.
Using Swimphony to support the delivery of a swimming programme, assessing pupil progress - Kevin Hill (Swimphony)
Discover how Swimphony can enhance and improve a swimming programme, tracking and improving swimming outcomes.
Achieving success through resilience and inclusive opportunity - Kate Grey (Paralympic Swimmer, World Championship Medallist and Youth Sport Ambassador)
Kate Grey shares her experiences of growing up with a disability, the importance of inclusion in developmental and competitive swimming and how resilience is key to overcoming adversity.
Delegates can choose one of the following:
2a. School considerations for swimming provision and pupil outcomes - Kate Stephenson (Education Durham)
Exploring the impact of facility closure and a reduced swimming timetable during the pandemic. This workshop will consider strategic, purposeful planning to support learning in and around swimming outcomes and how to produce a transparent, honest and purposeful review of your provision, including Ofsted inspection and statutory reporting requirements.
2b. An activity led approach for the delivery of swimming teaching - Catherine Butt (Swim England Tutor)
Explore a fun activities approach for the delivery of swimming teaching. A session identifying FUNdamentals and core aquatic skills linked to fun games and activities.
2c. Teaching, learning and pedagogy for the delivery of positive and engaging lessons - Kelly Maitland (Education Durham)
An insightful and engaging session into positive teaching and pedagogy, to support and enhance the delivery of engaging, successful, outcome-led lessons.
Delegates can watch any of the following presentations:
The Swim England Learn to Swim framework - Alex Barrett (Swim England)
A comprehensive overview of the current Learn to Swim framework and performance pathway building from grassroots participation.
An introduction to water polo progressions and practices - Matt Thompson (Swim England Tutor)
Explore the progression of water polo skills, introducing activities and ideas for fun and engaging swimming lessons.
Steps to teaching positively and achieving success for athletes - Graeme Foreman (Performance Psychologist, Coach, Mentor and Author)
An insightful presentation on positive key steps in teaching and learning to support the success and achievement of all swimmers.
Jane Nickerson (CEO Swim England)
Jane Nickerson has worked at Swim England for 20 years and over this time at the organisation has held a range of senior management posts. These have included Head of Administration, Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer before taking up the role of CEO in 2017. Most recently, Jane has been spearheading the campaign for support for the swimming sector throughout the Covid pandemic.
Jane has a deep understanding of the sport at all levels. As a youngster, she swam competitively for City of Coventry reaching national championship standard and, during the 1990s, was an England and Great Britain swimming team manager. Jane has been a member of the British Swimming Board since 2018.
Tom Haffield (Olympic Swimmer, Commonwealth and British record holder)
Tom Haffield started swimming when he was around 5 years old and from there progressed through local clubs. At age 13, he made the decision alongside his parents that if he wanted to be successful, he would have to move to The City of Cardiff Swimming Club. This was huge commitment that Tom made to achieve his goals. He trained twice which required his father to drive 180 miles a day. This travel made school life very challenging but through his determination he still passed all his GCSEs.
With the support of a hugely experienced new coach his hard work began to pay off at aged 15, when Tom won his first British Youth Championship title.
He then began to be selected for competitions all around the around the world, picking up medals along the way. He was very successful as a junior swimmer but struggled for a while trying to break into senior waters. Tom’s big break came at 20 when he qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing. He took 4 seconds off the British record and became his coach’s 44th Olympic Swimmer. From there he went on to compete at various other World and European Championships. In his best year, Tom was proud to finish ranked 7th in the world.
David Bullen (Schools Aquatic Development Manager, Education Durham)
David Bullen is the Schools Aquatic Development Manager for Education Durham and is the local authorities strategic lead for the National Curriculum School Swimming and Water Safety programmes delivered county-wide. With David’s extensive knowledge of aquatics and education he works across early years, primary and secondary phases of the curriculum supporting curriculum swimming.
Following David’s pathway, he has extensive experience and knowledge of leading, manging school swimming and learn to swim programs, and successful swimmer development from grass roots to regional and national competition.
He has extensive experience in water safety, lifesaving and lifeguarding and has worked as a supervising beach lifeguard, with the responsibility for leading beach lifeguarding teams and working closely with emergency services on our north each coast.
Matt Thompson (Tutor, Swim England)
Matt Thompson has been a licenced Swim England Educator since 2017, specialising in the delivery of Learn to Swim Framework qualifications. His previous roles within the aquatics industry include Swimming teacher, Learn to Swim Coordinator, and Director of SwimNE swim school for many years. He supported Swim England in the production of the Expected Standards video series and made an appearance on CBeebies as part of the 'My first swimming lesson' series.
Born in County Durham, Matt swam to national standard as a member of Peterlee Swimming Club. Away from the pool, he holds a Law degree from Newcastle University and enjoys running.
Kelly Maitland (Senior Specialist Professional Development Advisor, Education Durham)
Kelly Maitland has teaching and senior leadership experience in primary schools, Children Centre’s and the private and voluntary sector. She has taught all key stages within primary with a particular specialism in Early Years. Prior to completing her BA (Hons) in Primary Education, Kelly initially trained and worked as a nursery nurse in the maintained sector and within children’s services settings. Kelly is passionate about CPD and whilst teaching full time embarked upon completing her PGCE in Early Years and many years later subsequently gained Early Years Professional Status qualification to maintain and reflect current practice and pedagogy.
Kelly has also worked within Children’s Services and provided support to children, young people, and their families across the 0-19 age range. Through this work she has developed and facilitated play and learn sessions to young children and their parents and carers. Demonstrating and modelling how engaging children in high quality play and interactions can offer children the best start in life.
Kate Grey (Paralympic Swimmer, World Championship Medallist and Youth Sport Ambassador)
Kate Grey is a Paralympic swimmer and represented Great Britain for ten years. During that time, she competed at European Championships, World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Kate lost her left hand at two-years-old following a freak accident. Aged four, her parents encouraged her to learn to swim; it was a daunting task as Kate was afraid of deep water and struggled to balance with one hand, but she persevered and went on to swim regularly.
Kate never let her disability hold her back, and alongside swimming she also pursued and excelled in other sports. At 10 years old, she competed in her first disability swimming competition. To her surprise, Kate performed well and later qualified for the National Championships.
In 2002, aged just 13, she was earmarked as a potential Paralympian and went on to represent Great Britain for the next 10 years. The proudest moment in Kate’s career so far was representing GB at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. She then went on to win a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m Individual Medley at the World Championships in 2009.
Kate Stephenson (Specialist Physical Education Advisor, Education Durham)
Kate Stephenson is a Subject Professional Development Advisor for Education Durham. With over 20 years of teaching experience Kate has been a primary advanced skills teacher and deputy head teacher working within County Durham.
Kate has also worked internationally as deputy head teacher of Primary for the British School of Guangzhou, within the Nord Anglia Education and British School Group, leading on assessment and professional development across the curriculum as well as Head of the cross phase PE department. When she returned to the UK and Durham, Kate began her role as an Educational Development Advisor for the County.
Her vast knowledge of primary pedagogy and curriculum places her well in supporting school leaders and practitioners across Primary education. Kate has a vast amount of experience within Physical Education, she has an extensive list of PE/sport coaching and leadership qualifications and research insight, including Comenius projects and a Masters in Education, many of which have centred around the PESSPA landscape.
Kirsty Wilkinson (Professional Development Advisor, Education Durham)
Kirsty Wilkinson has worked in Durham throughout her career. Initially working as an education practitioner in schools and within social care, Kirsty gained extensive experience of working with children 0-18. Kirsty’s progression into working as a leader in Early Years saw her primarily working with significantly disadvantaged children and their families, before becoming an advisor in 2001.
Kirsty’s vast knowledge of early years pedagogy and curriculum places her well in supporting leaders and practitioners across early years provision. Over the years Kirsty has supported the development of many key early years initiatives including Sure Start projects and Children’s Centres in County Durham.
Kirsty is passionate about the many benefits and the importance of physical activity and regular exercise for the healthy growth and development of young children and adults.
Kirsty is a trained Forest and Beach school practitioner and is currently leading on the development of the Healthy Standards Framework for early years children in County Durham in collaboration with colleagues from Public Health.
Graeme Foreman (Performance Psychologist, Mentor, Coach and Author)
Graeme Foreman works in the world of performance coaching, mentoring, lifestyle and psychology and has over 25 years’ experience in business, education and sport. He has extensive expertise in people development, talent identification and performance enhancement.
Graeme spent a number of years working within the field of International Management, Coaching and Consultancy in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cyprus and Egypt before returning to the UK. Graeme has vast experience within teaching and learning having spent 8 years lecturing in Sport Science specializing in Psychology and Coaching theory and implementation.
Alex Barrett (Technical Aquatics Manager, Swim England)
Alex Barrett focuses on the development of the learn to swim programme and support resources and guidance. The learn to swim team supports the sector by delivering training, developing resources and offering business support. Prior to this, Alex worked in the leisure and fitness sector for over 8 years ranging from centre management to strategic aquatics lead over a large learn to swim programme.
Kevin Hill (Business Development Manager, Swimphony)
Kevin Hill has been working with Durham County Council to enable all schools engaged with Swimphony for 5 years and has provided training and support to all users of the solution as part of this project. Swimphony enables teachers and administrators to view and utilise real time data across nearly 200 schools using 13 pools across the region. Swimming Teachers view the lesson data provided by PE co-ordinators and build attainment across the years of swimming the pupils attend. Targeted data provide schools with quick access to reports they require and Durham County Council are able to evaluate their entire school swimming programme across each academic year.
Kevin has been working across many different areas of School Sport for 20 years, delivering sessions, teacher training and events across the UK in various roles. County Durham is used as a model for Swimphony and several areas have looked at the implementation here to inform their delivery requirements.
Catherine Butt (Tutor, Swim England)
Catherine Butt has worked in the leisure industry for 30 years, beginning as a lifeguard and swimming teacher and later employed as a local authority swimming coordinator, and an aquatics development officer with responsibility for school swimming and learn to swim provision.
She has run her own swim school for over 20 years, teaching adults and children, and is passionate about giving everyone the opportunity to learn how to swim and swim well.
As a Swim England tutor she delivers level 1 and 2 Teaching Swimming and level 2 baby and toddler courses. She has contributed to Swim England’s development of the new level 2 Teaching Swimming to babies and toddlers qualification and believes in the importance of focusing on the developmental readiness of children of all ages when teaching swimming.