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ESC left floundering as swim school cuts lessons

News | Published:

EDUCATION, Sport & Culture was scrambling yesterday to explain to angry parents why Beau Sejour Swim School lessons were being cut severely.

Hannah-Marie Henry started a petition about cuts in Beau Sejour Swim School lessons as she wants her five-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Sarah Mae, to learn to swim. (28444946)

The committee was caught unaware by the announcement, which pinned the blame on post-Covid-19 States directives on staffing.

Hundreds of islanders quickly signed a petition to try and keep all swimming lessons at Beau Sejour, having been told the news on Monday.

By lunchtime yesterday, the committee’s president, Deputy Matt Fallaize, had issued a statement saying it was unaware of any funding cuts for the swim school or Beau Sejour and that he would meet with staff that afternoon for an explanation with the intention to get things up and running fully and quickly.

That was not good enough for some parents, who had already told their child they would not be getting lessons.

In the original correspondence sent to parents, Beau Sejour Swim School said they were reducing how many sessions they ran.

‘Unfortunately, as a result, not all swimmers will be successful in securing a place in September,’ they wrote.

‘It is with regret that lessons will not be available for school age children after 6pm on Mondays, after 4pm Tuesdays, after 6pm on Wednesdays and after 3.30pm on Thursdays in the small pool and wings at Beau Sejour, together with all classes held on Saturday mornings between 8.00am and 11.30am.’

A petition to try and save the lessons was started by Hannah-Marie Henry. She has seen first hand how important the lessons at the pool are, with first her son and now her daughter benefitting from the teaching.

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She said that the swim school lessons were really important, as they were accessible to everyone.

‘I sit with parents and for some of them, this is their child’s only activity and they save up money to be able to send them, as everyone wants their child to be able to swim,’ she said.

In 24 hours more than 400 signatures have been gathered on the petition.

The school said it was trying to find places for as many pupils as possible, but recognised this would not be enough.

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‘We realise this is likely to disappoint many of you, and can only apologise if you are one of the unlucky ones, however, we hope you understand that in true #GuernseyTogether spirit.

‘We are doing this to support our community, to keep you safe and provide you with a trusted environment, within the resources we have available.

‘These are incredibly difficult decisions that have had to be made and we hope you understand, and can bear with us during these challenging times.’

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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