As 2016 ended and before fully diving into a new year, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what we’ve done, what we learnt and to look ahead to the next 12 months.
Almost 200 families, many of them with two children in our programme, attended our swim school in 2016 some travelling quite considerable distances. That’s a 20 percent rise on 2015 and reflects our growing reputation for providing some of the best quality swim coaching in South West London.
This year we saw a very good (70%) attendance rate across our lessons at our two venues as well as solid retention levels. This is testimony to children being happy in their learning environment and parents being satisfied with the pace of learning.
We are always keen to provide useful swimming tips and to transparently answer our clients’ questions. So blogging became a focus in 2016 enabling those Q&As to be easily accessed. Internationally renowned swim experts have shared their best practice with us collaborating with blogs and insights available online. One of our 2016 blogs that we did in collaboration with Mr Terje Stakset (Norwegian baby swimming guru), was extremely popular and was shared on different social media platforms more than 37 times (visited and read almost 2000 times).
We are keen to buildup relationships and contacts within the swimming community and this has been enabled with better communication through our newsletter. For year 2016, 9 newsletters were sent out, reaching 2000 people throughout South West London and beyond – a fantastic growth in our swimming community.
We’ve talked before about the physical benefits of swimming and this is particularly true for children with special needs when the activity is well monitored and properly taught. We are particularly proud that this year we’ve taught more children with special needs (both physical and children with learning difficulties) to enjoy and be safe in the water.
For the second consecutive year, Blue Wave Swim School was a finalist in the ‘Best Business Awards’ by both Merton Chamber of Commerce and Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. We are honoured and thrilled to be the only swim school in the area to have been shortlisted for these awards!
We are constantly striving to do and be better at what we do – to offer more than other swim schools. So this year we’ve visited a number of other swim schools both nationally and internationally to ensure we are teaching to international best practice standards.
A) In 2016, we visited reputable swim schools in other countries such as Denmark, Austria and Sweden to share ideas and be inspired! The below picture is from visiting Swimmix in Denmark, in January 2016. Swimmix, a boutique swim school based in suburb of Copenhagen, was founded and managed by one of the highly-respected swim teachers and internationally known baby swimming practitioner, Ulrika Faerch (standing on the right).
B) International swim school operators from Austria (EBA) and Greece (Athens based Ydria swim school) visited Blue Wave Swim School in London to assess the quality of our lessons. Their feedback was a valuable source of information for further improvement in our services.
C) This year Blue Wave Swim School teaching staff attended four different swim conferences.
Because we invest a great deal in learning about new developments and through sharing ideas with our colleagues from all over the world, when it comes to teaching swimming to babies, infants and children, we know what works and what doesn’t. And, just as importantly, how to make it better.
We learn about best practices, tweak them and add them to our toolbox to make sure our children and the families that we have a pleasure to serve in south west London are getting the best deal from the trust and commitment they place in us. We understand that these days, time is very precious so efficiency and consistency in delivering our Learn-to-Swim programme is something that we are very passionate about.
Since we are an independent swim school, we can listen to our clients, evaluate the demographic we work with and based on term-by-term progression of our pupils, modify our lessons and programme to best suit their needs.
Blue Wave Swim School teachers are consistently professional, dedicated and trusted. It’s a fine (and not always easy) balance to ensure that the lesson plans are delivered to schedule and that all children have fun in the water whilst learning. We’re also delighted to be teaching more children with disabilities and a huge thanks for our wonderful and highly skilled teachers who enable this.
Swimming is unique, because knowing how to do it well, boosts self confidence like no other activity regardless of age. This is why we’re keen that parents and care-givers don’t just see swimming as a ‘summer’ activity but as one that can be undertaken all year round.
I personally believe children should learn to swim confidently and competently whilst they are very young. The sooner children start, the more benefit they can get out of swimming lessons.
Well, that is it! 2016 has been an exceptionally busy year, but inspirational and rewarding. And, before ending this blog, here’s a tweet from one of our parents which was sent just after our final lesson in 2016:
From all of the Blue Wave Swim School team, our very best wishes for 2017.
New term starts on: 9th of January 2017.