FAQs

Where can I have lessons?

We teach at two pools in North Dorset – a lovely small, shallow leisure pool at Dairy House Farm in Woolland and a larger, deeper 25m pool at Milton Abbey School in Milton Abbas.

Can little beginners learn to swim at Milton Abbey then?

Absolutely!  The water is deeper here (1.4m at the shallow end and 3m at the deep end) and this provides an ideal pool for all stages of learning to swim.  It is especially recommended for any young swimmers who find putting their feet down and hopping across the pool too tempting.  For our youngest beginners we always have teachers in the water for safety and added swimmer confidence.

What happens when I outgrow the smaller pool at Woolland?

Our policy is to teach those swimmers who start at Woolland until they have achieved their STAnley STAR award; or they are able to (and do) put their feet down at the deep end.  The ideal swimmer progression pathway is to then transfer to the larger pool at Milton Abbas which offers increased depth and distance.    This is important for continued development of stroke skills and swim stamina.

What badge scheme do you follow?

Just Add Water follows the STA International Learn to Swim programme; a progressive and fun scheme that rewards swimmers for both development of swimming technique and water safety knowledge and skills.  We also introduce awards from the STA Junior Lifeguard programme as well as the RLSS lifesaving programme.  A new motivational reward programme based on the TV programme Octonauts is also used to recognise and reward your child for specific achievements and milestones

I am an adult beginner.  Can I still learn to swim?

Most definitely.  Everyone can learn to swim and we would be delighted to talk with you about your specific circumstances and goals.  Just call the office and talk with Maria.

I am already a swimmer but want to improve my stroke and am looking for coaching. Do you do sessions for this?

Yes we do.  Usually 1:1 lessons at Milton Abbey.  We will be able to undertake a stroke analysis first, assess what your objectives are and agree a plan of action.

My child has lessons at The Abbey.  Do you provide any facility for parents to swim at the same time?

Yes we do.  For all lessons at Milton Abbey we aim to reserve pool space for parents to swim too whilst their child is having their lesson if space allows.  We believe that it is good for the child to see their parents enjoying the benefits and pleasure of swimming too.

How do I book and pay for a course?

We do like to talk with all of our prospective swimmers prior to booking to make sure that we are the right swim school for you.  However you can download a registration form or alternatively you can phone or email our office. Once we receive your registration form we will then either book you in for the next available course or put you on a waiting list for an appropriate lesson location, day and time.  Payment for all lessons is to be made in advance when sending the registration form into our office direct to our bank please or by cheque.  If you would prefer a direct debit option – please ask.

What happens if I cancel my course or remove myself from the waiting list?

Once a place has been booked on a course, there will be no refund given if cancelled less than 14 days prior to the start date. Courses cancelled with more than 14 days’ notice will be entitled to a refund of monies paid, but there will be a £15.00 administration fee.

Can I do a catch up lesson as my child has been ill?

Catch up lessons may be available if you have missed three or more consecutive lessons due to the same illness but this is only at the discretion of your teacher and availability.

I’m going on holiday; can I pay only for the lessons we will be attending?

Unfortunately you will have to pay for the whole course to guarantee your place. Although if you miss 3 or more lessons in a row due to a ‘special’ holiday then the above rule for catch ups may apply.

How do I re-enrol for the next course?

Near the end of each course of lessons, you will be given notice for re-enrolment to enable you to continue. Priority is given to those that are already in our swim school and who are not changing class, day or time.  2nd priority is then given to those that are already in our swim school but wish to change day or time. This priority is only given if the re-enrolment and payment is received before the cut-off date, which is usually the last week of a course. Once this date has been reached places will then be allocated to our waiting lists.

Can I and my family watch my child swim?

Yes you can watch your child swim at both pools but outdoor shoes are not allowed onto poolside areas. Please take shoes off.  Do note that whilst we are pleased to be able to welcome you to watch from poolside this is on the understanding that you do not distract your child or their teacher in any way.  Although it can be very tempting to make encouraging signals or try to help, the teachers find that this can be very disruptive to the lesson and can actually inhibit swimmer progress.

Does my child need to bring their armbands or other swimming aids?

Each of our pools has all the equipment necessary for your child’s lesson.  If the teacher feels that your child needs extra buoyancy aids they will supply them.

Can my child wear goggles in their lesson?

We discourage use of goggles in the very early stages of learning to swim in line with the STA / ASA Swimming Forum guidelines.  See document here.  In essence we want to make sure that your child is confident and happy when getting their faces splashed and be able to put their face under water calmly and confidently before the introduction of goggles.  This is to make sure that they will not have unnecessary need to panic should they find themselves without them.  Also wearing goggles can be dangerous especially if not put on correctly.    Swimmers should only be allowed to wear goggles when they are able to put them on and adjust them themselves.    Teachers will not be responsible for putting on goggles.

Swimmers who constantly take goggles off and on again during a lesson cause unnecessary disruption and will be asked to remove them altogether.

However goggles are positively encouraged for improver swimmers to enable focussed work on stroke development.

What happens in the event of pool closures due to bad weather like snow?

In the event of pool closures that are beyond our or the pool’s control, refunds will not be given. An example of this may be bad weather which may mean the roads are closed or are unsafe. We will announce pool closures on our website and on all our answerphone machines.

What is your policy on photographing my child?

In accordance with our child protection policy photographing or videoing is not allowed by any unauthorised persons at any of our pools.  From time to time we will ask your permission for some photographs to be taken to capture an event or an achievement – fun sessions or award sessions for example.  These photographs may then be used for publicity purposes in print or online.  If you have an objection to your child being sensitively photographed please make this known to us.  Mobile phones are not allowed to be used at any of pools and should always be switched off.

My child uses an inhaler.  Do I need to always have it on poolside?

Yes please.  If your child has asthma and uses an inhaler to prevent or relieve please make sure it is available on poolside and not left in the changing room.  You will need to let the teacher or lifeguard know where it has been placed during the lesson just in case of an emergency.

What if my child has a cold or is unwell?

It is not wise to bring your child swimming with anything more than a very mild cold. Please consider the other children in your group as your child will spread infection and is unlikely to enjoy swimming at that time.

If your child has an ear infection, please do not swim until it has cleared up. It is not likely to have been caused by swimming, however it will be uncomfortable and your child’s ear should be kept dry until it is clear. If your child has repetitive ear infections you can purchase ‘Ear Band’ for swimming, and seek advice from your GP or consultant.

My child has been ill with diarrhoea, when can they return to swimming?

Anyone who has had a bout of diarrhoea should not swim for at least 7-14 days. This is due to possible anal seepage which could carry the cryptospiridia and Giardia infectious cysts which are immune to chlorine.

At what age can I start swimming with my baby?

The optimum age for a baby is between 6 weeks and 6 months of age. However, as our teachers are qualified to teach all ages, you can start your baby/child at any age. Very young babies should only stay in the water for 10/15 minutes on their first few visits.   The water at Milton Abbey is too cool for small babies and only children aged 2 plus should really be enrolled for lessons there.  We would recommend lessons at Woolland initially where the water is generally warmer by a degree or so.  We also have Aqua Sensory classes available at Woolland for small babies from birth.

What does my baby need to wear in the water?

It is compulsory for all non potty trained children to wear a double swim nappy system. This consists of a disposable or a washable swim nappy, which is widely available from supermarkets and baby shops, with a ‘Happy Nappy’ or ‘Nappicova’ over the top.  The nappy cover must provide a snug fit. You will not be allowed into the water without both correct nappies as nappy leaks into the water will result in cancelling classes for 24 hours to clean the pool.

Does my baby need immunisations before swimming?

Babies can go swimming at any age; they do not have had to complete their course of immunisation. Care should always be taken when disposing of nappies and these should never be left at any of our pools, but taken home and disposed of. Further research on this can be seen on the NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations

At what age can children have lessons without a parent in the water?

Usually a child will have solo lessons at around 3 years of age, although this is dependent on the child, parent and teacher who will decide this together. We will aim to make this transition as smooth as possible and will happily ‘wean’ the parent away over a number of lessons from aged 2 onwards.

What changing facilities are available?

Changing facilities vary at each pool. The pool at Woolland provides a small individual changing area and a single shower.  Milton Abbey provides a large male open changing rooms with two showers and ladies open changing room with a single shower.   Plug sockets are provided in the ladies for hairdryers etc.

All our changing rooms are shoe-free zones please remove any outdoor shoes (including toddlers) before entering.

Can I practice with my baby outside of classes and on holiday?

Yes please.  Babies are more comfortable in water the more they swim. Be aware that other pools may be cooler. Never swim your baby for more time than you do in class and if your baby becomes cold shorten your swim time to 15 minutes.

To attend a baby class do I need to be able to swim or go underwater myself?

No, you can learn our techniques without being able to swim yourself or putting your own head under the water, though it is lovely to meet your baby underwater and share the experience. We will guide you as much as you need; we want this to be special bonding experience for both you and baby.   We would encourage any non-swimming parents to have a few lessons to develop their own confidence in the water.  Your fear can easily be transferred to baby/ child.

Can I feed my baby at the pools?

You are more than welcome to breast or bottle feed your baby at any of our pools. Unfortunately other types of food are not allowed at our pools, i.e. fruit, crisps, raisins etc.

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