PUPILS at a Netherton school were able to make a splash in the playground thanks to a pop-up swimming pool initiative which aims to develop the swimming skills of children across the Black Country.

As part of the programme run by Active Black Country, a lifeguard and fully qualified swimming teacher led 45-minute sessions at the pool each day for five weeks with children in years five and six at Netherton CofE Primary School to help them confidently swim 25m.

The school, which submitted a bid to Active Black Country to take part in the pilot scheme, said the programme proved thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial for the children - with many of the non-swimmers now able to swim at least 5m.

The children were also provided with equipment as part of the programme – including towels, goggles and swimming costumes.

Headteacher Kathryn Harvey said: ''Our pop-up pool has been a fabulous addition to our school and our children in years five/six have reaped the benefits.

“Swimming is an important life skill as well as a health benefit to all - the pupils have had so much fun but most importantly learnt to swim and feel confident in the water. I would not hesitate to recommend this opportunity to other schools.”

The initiative has been created through a partnership between Active Black Country and Speedo Swim United after research last year found one in four children across the UK are leaving primary school unable to swim.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood, who dropped by to see the pool in action, said: “This initiative has been a great opportunity for the children of Netherton Church of England Primary School, and I am so pleased to see how well this pop-up pool has benefited the students.

“The skills they have learnt through this initiative will be with them throughout their lives.

“And with under 16s able to swim for free at Dudley borough leisure centres during school holidays, I really do hope this initiative has helped spark a passion which the children will be able to continue making progress with.”