Skip to main content

For Oral Answer on : 10/03/2022
Question Number(s): 143 Question Reference(s): 13271/22
Department: Education
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Education the policy of her Department with respect to the teaching of an aquatics programme as part of the primary school physical education curriculum; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The current Physical Education (PE) at primary level, developed in 1999, is for children from junior infants to sixth class. The curriculum contributes to children’s overall development by helping them to lead full, active and healthy lives. It provides a balanced range of activities for children through the six strands, of which Aquatics is one. 

The aquatics programme is concerned with gaining competence and confidence near, in, under and on water. The term ‘aquatics’ includes not only the teaching of swimming strokes but the provision of opportunities for enjoyment of water play and other aspects of aquatics. The concern for water safety permeates all aquatic activities.

The PE curriculum has been developed on the understanding that facilities available to schools vary. Consequently, it offers a level of flexibility that allows each individual school to design a programme that can be delivered using the resources and supports available to it. Many schools use local facilities, swimming pools. Access to these facilities is arranged directly by schools.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is currently reviewing and redeveloping the primary curriculum. The Draft Primary Curriculum Framework was published in February 2020 for consultation. In response to challenges faced by school communities and education stakeholders from Covid the consultation was redesigned. Phase one concluded January 2021 and phase two February 2022. Findings from the consultations will inform the finalisation of the primary curriculum framework. This framework will then guide the development of specifications for each of the curriculum areas.