On Tuesday 3rd July Leytonstone Leisure Centre held a Waltham Forest inclusive gala test event (Swimming Festival) in partnership with Waltham Forest School Sports Network. This event was attend by 60 year 4 and 5 pupils from 6 schools in the borough. It was aimed at those children who are learning to swim, unconfident swimmers and SEN children.  We originally decided to try this after the success of the main gala held in January this year, but this was for confident swimmers only and we wanted to ensure we had something for those who are not so confident and are at the beginning of there swimming journey.

The event included 12 different races for children in the training pool, with 2 members of staff in the water to provide support for those less confident. These races included front and back stroke with noodles, sea horse races, relays of different types including over the head and round with the ball and a treasure hunt to end the event with all children being able to take part. Some races we then repeated in order to test them in different ways, in order to check timings for next years event. We focused on keeping the races simple and supportive to help encourage the children. All children went away with a gold medal, and information on free swimming and swimming lessons.

The main aims of the event were to provide a competitive swimming competition to those less confident in water while encouraging children to take part in swimming and be able to see swimming as something fun. We gained feedback from pupils and teaching staff from the schools in order to improve for a bigger event next school year.