Swimming lessons

The Dolphin Centre Swim4Life Scheme is based upon a framework known as the National Plan for Teaching Swimming (NPTS).

The NPTS has been produced by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), the UK’s National Governing Body for all Aquatic Disciplines. We offer swimming lessons for children and adults

Swim 4 Life Leaflet [pdf]  myfirstswim academy [pdf]

If you have any queries about swimming lessons you can use our online form below

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A key principle behind the new National Teaching Plan is FUN. Rather than simply learning strokes and distance, the Swim4Life Scheme will now adopt fun and games in order to help children learn to swim.

The NPTS is aimed at developing a wider range of skills that lead to children becoming more competent swimmers. Consequently, parents should notice an increased emphasis on fun and games being adopted as it is proven that the use of fun activities in the water leads to a better and more confident outcome.

The NPTS is 'an all inclusive programme'. It is designed to get children water confident from a young age and hopefully keep them in a form of aquatic discipline maybe leading to the Long Term Athlete Development Plan.

The NPTS begins at the Foundation stage whereby early years water confidence is encouraged through the use of sessions such as parent and toddler classes. Following this, there are 7 key stages based around FUNdamental movement skills. Within these stages, children will learn the basics of swimming such as the different swimming strokes, water confidence and water safety knowledge. Finally, there is stages 8-10 that address FUNdamental Sports Skills. It is at these stages that children can try different aquatic disciplines such as water polo, competitive swimming, diving and rookie lifeguard.

Course Days and Times

Dolphin Centre swimming lessons run 7 days per week. Lessons days/times are as follows:

  • Monday:  3.30pm - 7.30pm
  • Tuesday:  3.30pm - 5pm
  • Wednesday:  3.30pm - 7.30pm
  • Thursday:  3.30pm - 7.30pm
  • Friday:  3.30pm - 7.30pm
  • Saturday:  9am - 6.30pm
  • Sunday:  9am - 4pm


Foundation and stages 1-5 are half hour lessons.

Stage 6 and 7 are between half an hour and 45 mins

Stages 8, 9 and 10 are between 45 mins and an hour.

Please be aware that 5 minutes of the session is allocated for the teacher to complete notes on each student within the group. this allows for progress to be monitored carefully.

Please note the scheme is for children aged 3 and upwards.  For further information please contact reception on 01325 406000.


There are ten stages - when you enrol your child we will determine what level your child is at.

  • Stage 1: Developing basic safety awareness, the ‘class’ scenario, basic movement skills and water confidence skills. Swimmers may use aids such as arm bands and floats
  • Stage 2 : Developing safe entries to the water, including jumping in, basic floating, travel front and back up to a distance of 5 metres, plus rotation to regain upright positions. Swimmers may use aids such as arm bands and float
  • Stage 3: Developing safe entries including submersion, travel up to 10 metres on the front and back, progress rotation skills and water safety knowledge. At this stage, the swimmer will be assessed without the use of aids or support
  • Stage 4: Developing the understanding of buoyancy through a range of skills, refining kicking technique for all strokes, and swimming 10 metres to a given standard as directed by the ASA
  • Stage 5: Developing ‘watermanship’ through sculling and treading water skills and complete rotation, also performing all strokes for a distance of 10 metres to the given standard as provided by the ASA within the NPTS resources
  • Stage 6: Developing effective swimming skills including coordinated breathing across all strokes plus swimming a distance of 25 metres using a stroke of the swimmer’s choice; developing the water safety aspects and understanding of preparation for exercise
  • Stage 7: Developing quality stroke technique up to 100 metres, incorporating skills learnt and combining them to develop a linked routine and complete successfully an obstacle course that combines a variety of skills accomplished throughout stages 1 - 7
  • Stages 8-10: Once the swimmer has developed the core range of skills required to be confident, competent and safe in the water through stages 1 - 7, the swimmer may then have the choice to take part in different aquatic disciplines like diving, water polo and lifeguard skills

How to Enrol

The Dolphin Centre Reception team will be able to advise you on the appropriate stage that your child should be enrolling onto. Please be aware that Dolphin Centre Swimming Lessons are very popular and therefore you may have to put your child’s name onto the waiting list. For further information about the enrolment process or any other queries regarding the Dolphin Centre Swim4Life Scheme please contact reception on 01325 406000.

The Dolphin Centre 'Swim 4 Life scheme' is currently operating at 90% of maximum capacity with enrolments figures of 1200 people per ten week block.


Payment for courses must be made at the time of enrolment/re-enrolment and can be made by cash, cheque or debit/credit card.

Courses and Bank Holidays

Swimming lessons are booked in a 10-week block, one x 30 minute lesson per week.

This excludes bank holidays, where the 10-week block may be reduced to 9 or occasionally 8 sessions. The cost of the course is then reduced accordingly.


Badges and certificates will be awarded if the child has achieved the necessary distance or level. Awards are not included in the course fee and can be purchased at the Dolphin Centre Reception. This is not compulsory.

Adult Swimming Lessons

Wednesday:  7pm - 8pm and 8pm - 9pm

Lessons run as a 10-week block (one x 1 hour lesson per week over the 10-week block), with 2 instructors.

Maximum of 18 people in each lesson.

Throughout these lessons, the teachers will liaise with each individual and offer advice and guidance on how the individual can become more water confident, improving their skill and stroke development at the same time.