12th October 23
Twickenham MP Munira Wilson visited The Mall School in Twickenham this week to meet Headmaster David Price and have a tour of the prep school, which has recently become co-educational.
As the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education, Munira was particularly interested to learn about how the school shares its 20-metre indoor swimming pool with local state schools and swimming schools. In Parliament, Munira has been a strong voice for the mental and physical benefits that sport brings – campaigning to ensure that every child has access to two hours of PE at school, and working to expand girls’ access to sport in particular.
Over 800 children use The Mall’s swimming pool each week, and 81% of these are not pupils at the school. Two local primary schools bring pupils for weekly swimming lessons at The Mall, with significant results in terms of the number of children meeting the minimum standards required under the national curriculum.
In 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Swimming and recognised national governing body Swim England published research suggesting that, between 2022 and 2026, more than one million children could leave primary school unable to swim the minimum standards required under the national curriculum.
Pre-pandemic, 75% of children could swim 25 metres by the time they left primary school – but this could drop to 40% by 2026. One of the schools that uses The Mall’s pool recorded an impressive 87% of pupils meeting this key target earlier in 2023.
Munira was very supportive of the work we are doing with local schools and said that Liberal Democrats would be looking to ensure all independent schools follow great examples like this, and build meaningful partnerships with local state schools and their communities in order to retain their charitable status.
Mr Price said: “As a small school we are proud of the numbers of local children that have learnt to swim in our pool. Swimming is a vital life skill and at The Mall we are committed to continuing to support local state schools in achieving the minimum swimming standards for their pupils.”