The government is committed to ensuring swimming takes place in schools. Swimming is a compulsory part of the current national curriculum for PE and will remain a compulsory part of the new curriculum when it is released.
Whilst schools must ensure they have sufficient access to suitable facilities for swimming lessons, it is not a requirement that they have pool on site as the school is best placed to assess what facilities best fulfil its needs.
By the end of key stage 2 (age 11), pupils should be taught to swim unaided for a distance of at least 25 metres, using recognised strokes, on their front and back, and demonstrate an understanding of water safety. It is up to primary schools to decide when, and at what point they wish to teach this.
When pupils are in KS2 years (years 3-6), swimming activities and water safety must be chosen as one of their areas of activity unless pupils have completed the full KS2 teaching requirements (in relation to swimming activities and water safety) during their key stage 1 years (reception and years 1 and 2).
Within the law, parents do not have a right to withdraw their children from this statutory element of the national curriculum.
Schools can ask for a voluntary contribution towards swimming trips as long as they make it clear that it is voluntary. Schools must not exclude any child because of unwillingness/inability to pay.