What age can children start lessons with Minnows?

We teach children from four and a half to 16 years. For children not quite old enough but older than 3, we run a waiting list. Please contact me to join this.

Do you have any vacancies?

We currently have limited vacancies for most levels, other than level.1 classes which are full.  Should you want to join the waiting list here, normal waiting times are 6-12 months. For all higher levels, many spaces are available immediately or for the following term. Please contact me for more details.

What level class would my child be?

We run a 10 level structure, detailed below. If in doubt, we can often offer a no obligation ‘trial class’ prior to joining us. Please note our class levels don’t equate to those of the ASA plan used in many leisure centres.

Level 1- (Maximum or 6 swimmers, Teachers on water) Suitable for complete beginners to those able to swim a few metres front and back independently. Unless children can happily keep their face in the water, and swim with straight(ish) legs, they should start in this class. It’s normal to spend 2-3 terms at this level.

Level 2 - (Maximum or 6 swimmers, Teachers in Water) For those already able to swim 4-5m+ with their face in the water, kicking with long straight legs and arms coming out over the water, and kick on their back independently. It’s normal to spend 2-4 terms at this level.

Level 3 – (Maximum or 8 swimmers, Teacher in Water) For those already able to swim 10m+ on front and back, with good kick and arm actions and beginning to breath to the side on front, and some breast stroke. It’s normal to spend 2-4 terms at this level.

Level 4 – (Maximum or 8 swimmers, Teacher on Poolside) For those swimming 20m+ front-crawl (breathing to side), back-crawl, and breast stroke. Children need to be confident out of their depth at this level. It’s normal to spend 2-3 terms at this level.

Level 5 - For swimmers able to swim 25-50m+ front/back and breast all with correct breathing, and 10m fly kick. This level corrects faults and consolidates strokes before moving up to the 25m lengths classes.

Level 6 - For swimmers competent with all main strokes and beginning to developing stamina, working to a higher level of stroke efficiency. These lessons are swimming lengths of 25m.

Level 7-10 These classes expect sound strokes in front/back/breast and some butterfly. They go on to develop a very high level of stroke awareness and excellence on all strokes, building stamina and a transferable broad range of water related skills.

Please note our Warren Road venue only accommodates levels 1 – 5.

Can I come and watch a lesson?

Yes, we welcome you to come along and watch any of our sessions without notice at either venue. Please note however viewing space is limited, and we may not be available to answer queries on poolside – though will do our best too. To avoid half terms or holiday, check our term dates here first.

How do I book up for lessons or join the waiting list?

Get in touch with Justine today

When and how will my child have the chance to move up a class?

All teachers continually assess swimmers. Towards the end of the term teachers finally assess both for badges and who will move up a class next term. Any badge gained, along with next terms class and time are then posted on the poolside in the last weeks of term. It is your responsibility to check this information and know if your swimmer will change class or/and time in the following term.

How do I re-book and keep my child's place for next term?

Forms for the next term are emailed out to all parents shortly after the half term break. Forms will also be available on the poolside towards the end of term for those unable to print them out. Please also read the adjoining terms that apply for lessons with us. Please note • You must return booking forms with your payment before the date given to ensure your place is held. After this date, places will be re-allocated to new swimmers or those requesting a time change. • You do not need to know what class your swimmer will be in next term to re book. If in doubt, just tick their current class. • Next terms’ classes are posted on the poolside in the last two weeks of term. Please remember to check this information carefully.

How do badges and certificates work?

Throughout each term, classes work towards badges in the STA (Swimming Teachers Association) award scheme. Towards the end of the Summer and Autumn terms, teachers assess classes on these, and for those that achieve a badge, they are available during the last two weeks of term - cost of £2.50. For information on the skill badges we work towards see the links below: Stanley Awards Octopus Goldfish Angelfish Shark Advanced Challenge

Why did my child not get a badge this term?

Although all swimmer work towards awards, many badges take more than a single term to achieve, so there will be times all swimmers don’t get a badge at the end of term. This is not a reflection on them, but how challenging the badge is! Swimmers also progress at different rates, and although we will often give an alternative badge where we can, we don’t believe in giving badges out that show no improvement on the last, or that are not actually earned. If not getting a badge may be a problem for your swimmer though, do let me know – as we can always sort something out.

I forgot my child’s swim costume / goggles!

We keep a few spare costumes and trunks, as well as hats, goggles and hairbands on the poolside. If you forget something, just ask.

Help! I’ve left/lost something at the pool

Left hats and goggles often find there way into our ‘spares’ bag. Feel free to check this. Other items left on the poolside will be collected and kept by ourselves for one week. Please note, we are not allowed to take anything from the changing rooms. If you have lost something of value or concern, do get in touch.

What else might I need to know about?

Changing rooms - There are male and female changing rooms at each venue. Parents and children over 8 years must use their own gender changing rooms, i.e. no dads in the girls, no mums in the boys.

Swimwear - Boys are requested to wear close fitting shorts that finish above the knee. It’s harder and more tiring to swim in long, loose clothing and also difficult for teachers to observe leg actions. Girls are requested to wear costumes or two piece swimwear. All jewellery must be removed.

Hats - All swimmers must wear a swimming hat, they’re available to buy poolside for £2.50 at the beginning of term. At Bromley High School, swimmers must wear the colour assigned to the class level they’re in (see the class levels above). If you forget your hat you can borrow one. Please ensure it is on before your lesson!

Goggles - Most swimmers benefit from a good quality pair of goggles. However, a lot of teaching time is wasted attempting to correct ill-fitting goggles, so please help us out. Look particularly at the way goggles fit to the nose, encourage children to wear straps high on their heads (not around the back of the neck), ensure goggles don't overlap any part of the swimming hat and remember an overly tight fit is as bad as a loose one, it can lead to both discomfort and leaking.

Tip! To ensure goggles don’t fog up, before putting them on lick the inside of the goggles then rinse them. It really works!

Punctuality and attendance - Please make every effort to arrive at your lesson on time. The first five minutes are often key to the progress made during the lesson. Arriving late holds up and disrupts the lesson for others. We know it can be difficult to always make your lesson, particularly at the weekend, but poor attendance slows progress down.