Water Safety (Curriculum) Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 19 May 2023.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education) 2:30, 19 May 2023

I do not think that we thought that even for one moment.

The noble Baroness, Lady Sater, rightly raised the issue of costs, which have soared and made it difficult for schools to find suitable swimming venues.

As usual, my noble friend Lord Addington brought a new dimension. I had not thought about hypothermia, but of course if you teach water safety, hypothermia and cold water shock, which the noble Baroness, Lady Twycross, raised, are hugely important. Again, we should consider local awareness.

One of the things that stands out from the figures is university students, who are away from home and excited, particularly in the summer. The number of young men in particular at university who get into difficulty in water is quite alarming. Sadly, some of them drown. So maybe universities need to give some advice.

The Minister mentioned that the all-party parliamentary group is meeting the Minister next week. That will be an opportunity to understand some of the issues.

I perhaps need to say that the Bill will run out of time; it will not go through the process, sadly. However, to reflect on the point that the noble Baroness, Lady Morris, and my noble friend Lord Addington made, we are all agreed on this, so why can we not just make it happen, for all the reasons we have said? All right, there might be some little differences between us, but this is hugely important. It is not my Bill in that sense; it is our Bill. We should do everything we can to achieve this. I beg to move.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

House adjourned at 2.35 pm.