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Managing periods and school swimming lessons

A swimming pool lane with three swimmers swimming up and down

For many, the general topic of ‘periods’ will be considered taboo and it therefore presents a barrier to physical activity. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the swimming pool. School teachers within a swimming environment have the opportunity to utilise relationships built in the classroom to break down these barriers.

Learning to swim has a multitude of benefits, from increased safety around water to the positive impact on mental and physical health and wellbeing. Therefore, teachers have a responsibility to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to participate. In 2022, Women in Sport reported that seven out of every 10 teenage girls would avoid being active when on their period. Pain, fear of leakage, tiredness and self-consciousness were all referred to as significant barriers. This therefore must be considered when promoting the benefits of swimming and structuring lesson delivery.