A company which helps teach youngsters to swim could have to axe jobs – leaving some children without lessons – after its hours at West Bridgford School were slashed due to bureaucracy.
Parents at East Midlands Swimming Academy were told last week that as of Monday, October 10, its hours at the school’s pool would be cut from 10-and-a-half hours to three-and-a-half hours.
Principal Rob McDonough said new national health and safety guidelines that were introduced this month has led to the move, which means none of the school’s facilities can be let out to the public before 6pm.
It means hundreds of children could be without a swimming school, and up to nine people could lose their jobs at the firm.
Parents have said they have been appalled at the abruptness of the news.
Kirsten Wood, whose four-year-old daughter Martha has attended the academy for the last six months, said she was shocked to hear of the development.
“The club has been using the venue for 11 years, so you’d expect the school could give them more than one weeks’ notice,” the 36-year-old, of West Bridgford, said.
“They could have been a bit more compassionate than just sending an email to the company. Some people are going to lose their jobs because of this. The teachers at EMSA are fantastic and very maternal and Martha has come a long way since she started.”
Laurel Armstrong, who has two children aged six and nine who attend the academy, said she was “devastated and angry” when she was told of the new plans.
“We’ve been using the academy for five years now and had previously had swimming provision elsewhere but it was nowhere near as good,” she said.
“I found out with an email from EMSA and I was devastated. I could see on the email what the school had sent to them, and I think it has been handled very badly.
“There are going to be job losses and a large number of children in the area will now be without swimming provision.”
Mr McDonough said the school had enlisted an external expert on health and safety to carry out checks at the school to make sure it abides by the new guidelines.
“They went through everything with a fine-tooth comb,” he said. “Our school days end at 2.45pm, but the number of children who stay behind for extra-curricular activities is extremely extensive. The school is busy until perhaps 5pm.”
He said the expert had advised to close all public lettings until after 6pm, by when most schoolchildren will have left the site.
“They told us to do it the following day, but we waited a week,” he added. “Unfortunately, we had no option other than to close all lettings until after 6pm.
“We have acted in the best interests of the children. If we are advised to do something and then it can be proved that we ignored that advice and something was to happen, we would be open to criticism.”
East Midlands Swimming Academy said it did not want to comment, to protect its current hours at the school.