A senior Dundee councillor has said it will be “unacceptable” if no plans are in place to provide swimming lessons to primary pupils when schools return next month.
Dundee City Council has denied scrapping the lessons but pupils will not be given any pool time until new proposals are put forward and voted on by the Children and Families Services committee later this year.
The council says giving lessons to all primary six pupils is inefficient and wants to look at other methods of providing tuition. This could involve targeting non-swimmers of providing classes out of school hours.
Labour Lochee councillor Michael Marra said this could mean there will be no swimming lessons until October at the earliest.
Now West End Liberal Democrat member Fraser Macpherson has said swimming lessons should resume when schools go back after the summer holidays.
He said: “I have made clear to both the convener and the director of Children and Families Services that I am not averse at looking at alternative ways of providing swimming to our primary school pupils.
“However, what I strongly object to is that the council appears to be dropping the current swimming arrangements without any committee approval. This is high handed and wholly unacceptable.
“The council appears to have taken the approach that this is purely an administrative matter. Let me make it crystal clear – it is not.
“Dundee City Council has provided a term of swimming to every primary school pupil for many years – going right back to the creation of the council 22 years ago.
“It is a policy of the council to provide a term of swimming to each primary age pupil and any policy of the council like this can and should only be altered or dropped by a committee decision, and not in the high handed way it has been done.”
Mr Macpherson added: “The convener did give a commitment to discuss the matter further with me and this has simply not happened. It appears the administration has simply gone to ground on the issue and it would be wholly unacceptable if there is no swimming provision in place for our primary school pupils when they return to school next month.”
“The handling of this issue by the council can only be described as depressingly poor.”
Conservative North East MSP Bill Bowman said statements from the SNP administration had been “contradictory and misleading”.
He said: “Scottish Government ministers, the leader of the council and the education convener have all said that there are no cuts; and that we politicians, parents and teachers have all got it wrong.
“But as far as parents and schools are concerned, the children aren’t going to get their feet wet till October.
“And even then, there’s no guarantee lessons will be in place.”
He added: “I agree headteachers should have more of a say in how swimming lessons are delivered.
“But getting rid of the only access a child may have to a pool doesn’t seem positive.”
Dundee City Council has said a review of how it provides swimming lessons will take place in August and September and a report will go before committee in due course.