An ingenious plan to put a pop-up pool to their doorstep ensured Delamere Academy pupils were able to continue swimming lessons despite Covid restrictions.

The school decided not to take children to their usual venue because of the extra cost and time that would be involved to properly protect class bubbles and keep everyone safe.

But they would not be deterred from their commitment to make sure every child received lessons in a healthy activity which boosts confidence, fitness and water safety for all.

So Delamere hired a pool and enlisted the help of Ryan Cartwright, a director at nearby Delamere Events, who supplied the venue, power generator and shower facilities. 

PE Teacher Tom Freeman says the school will never treat swimming as a second-class subject, particularly in the light of recent research conducted by Swim England and a group of MPs which has warned that the majority of primary school children will be unable to swim a length of a pool by 2025. 

 Tom Freeman, PE teacher said: “We certainly don’t follow this downward trend. Going from last year’s data we had 100% of children in Years 4-6 who could swim a length of the pool.
“The cost of swimming at our usual venues, and the transport to get there, is prohibitive at the moment due to the need to protect Covid bubbles within the school, so we organised a portable heated pool to be set up outside so all our children can take part in lessons, and they absolutely loved it.”  

Headteacher Julie Clayton added: “It was a challenge but the rewards are huge in terms of pupils’ confidence, ability and health. 

“For some in our reception class it was their first time in a swimming pool. We are coming across many obstacles, due to the pandemic, but we are determined to give them all the opportunities they’ve missed out on, and more.” 

Mr Cartwright added: “I was first asked by Tom about the possibility of my events company lending the school a marquee or similar to be used as changing rooms, and it sounded a very exciting ‘pool-to-school’ project.  

“Both my children attend the school and, as I’ve lived locally all my life, I’m always happy to help with anything in our community especially as the children have missed so much due to Covid

“Due to some logistical problems the pool couldn’t be installed in the school’s grounds so I offered our venue free of charge, and it is only a short ride on the school mini bus – the ride actually added to the children’s excitement!

“It was fantastic to hear and see so many happy children enjoying the facility, they were all impeccably behaved and would be welcomed back anytime, they were an absolute credit to the school and a joy to have on site.   

“It was astonishing to see how much time they all got in the pool over the two weeks, with a constant stream of children being dropped and collected by the mini bus. It ran like a military operation to prevent any cross over between year group bubbles.  

“Apparently, the school itself was a hub excitement so it made everyone’s efforts truly worthwhile!”  

Delamere Events is a wedding and events venue based on a private lake off Abbey Lane. For more information email: delamereevents@gmail.com or tel: 07868 514803. 

For more information about Delamere Academy email: admin@delamere.cheshire.sch.uk or tel: 01829 707 979. 

Talented children did not crumble in the face of a challenge to plate up their homegrown produce for classmates at Weaverham Primary Academy.

The Northwich Road school’s Gardening Club members harvested the rhubarb they had grown before donning chef whites to make an apple and rhubarb crumble for the whole school. 

It is the first of their crop to be served this year for lunches on a menu devised by Harry Marquart, a former winner of Irish culinary TV show Head Chef. 

Harry, Head Chef for several schools run by North West Academies Trust (NWAT), said: “We got some cooking kits for the children and made the crumble with apples and rhubarb from the school gardens.  

“Our goal is to build the cooking skills of the children way above and beyond the curriculum guidelines.  

“We are developing the children’s skills via chopping, slicing, dicing, peeling, grating, mixing, kneading, whisking and beating.  

“They are also learning to work together in the classes and help each other out. Cleaning up is still a skill they need to learn, but we’re getting there!” 

Head of School Jo Price said: “The children from Gardening Club in Year 5 and 6 picked the rhubarb and cooked it with apples to make a crumble.  It was then served to the whole school, with lunch on Thursday. They were so excited that they got to wear the chef hats and jackets too. 

“Each Tuesday the children look after the school garden in Gardening Club. They have planted a wildflower area for bees, they have planted strawberries and herbs are next. 

“Each week they try something that has been grown in the garden. They are keen to cook with chives next and they also have potatoes and raspberries growing as well as peas and tomatoes in the greenhouse. 

“A whole-school tallest sunflower competition is also taking place and once a winner has been decided the children will make a dish using sunflower seeds. 

 “The aim is to get the children to know where their food comes from and also to try new foods too. We want to encourage children to grow their own food at home too.”