Free primary school swimming lessons scheme extended

image captionThe programme aims to encourage primary school children to learn to swim

Thousands of primary school pupils in deprived areas of Scotland are to be offered free swimming lessons.

The Top Up Swimming Programme will be paid for by £420,000 of Scottish government funding.

All 32 councils in Scotland are supporting the scheme, which should give about 2,500 youngsters free lessons, ministers said.

The programme's aim is to ensure all children have the chance to learn to swim before leaving primary school.

Local authorities decide the best way to implement the swimming lessons in their area, working in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Sportscotland.

Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison said: "Swimming is one of the best forms of physical activity for young people, which is why we are investing in the Top Up initiative to give children the opportunity to learn to swim and enjoy a lifelong activity.

"To give children the healthiest start in life and help guard against the risk of problems later in life, it's recommended that youngsters participate in 60 minutes of exercise a day.

"Learning to swim gives young people confidence in the water as well as a fun way of keeping active - something they can enjoy throughout their lives."

The programme was launched in September 2010 with £800,000 from the Scottish government.

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