PARENTS in Cupar have reacted with disbelief to a decision which bans swimming teachers from being in the water with children.
The new rule, which was implemented with immediate effect on Tuesday, means that children aged as young as three learning to swim will be supervised from the pool-side only.
The decision by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust has been imposed Fife-wide ‘in the interests of safety’ and will apply to all classes.
The Fife Herald has been told there was no prior consultation either with instructors — a claim denied by the trust — or parents.
It is also understood that there have already been a number of complaints to Cupar Sports Centre.
One worried mum said she would have serious concerns about her young child going into the pool himself.
She said: “Many children are naturally quite anxious about being in the water on their own when they are just learning to swim, and I’m not even sure my son would go into the water — or leave the side — if it wasn’t for the reassurance that the teachers provide.
“They are a ‘safe pair of hands’ and our trust is in them; this is bureaucracy gone mad!”
Another parent said she felt there was no comparison between the quality of teaching provided by a hands-on approach in the water and a pool-side only approach.
“How can the children possibly understand how they are to kick their legs or move their arms when the teacher doesn’t do it first for them?” she said.
“Looking up to the pool-side at a teacher waving her arms about isn’t the best way for youngsters to learn.
“I live outside Cupar but I brought my children here because the teachers are in the water with them.
“I don’t want my children to miss out on lessons, but this isn’t how they should be taught.
“I’m now considering asking for my money back and I’m sure I won’t be alone.
“We know this isn’t the teachers’ fault, this decision seems to have been imposed on them and it’s just crazy.”
A spokesperson for Fife Sport & Leisure Trust said: “The decision that instructors should supervise from the pool side was based on guidance from Scottish Swimming, the national governing body for swimming.
“Part of the reason for this advice is improved safety of students in the pool because, as the case with lifeguards, higher elevation allows the instructor to better way to spot potential safety issues.
“All instructors were consulted on this change and parents and students have been advised as the students came back to the programmes.”