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Surf lifesaving on the curriculum for school students

Students at ACG Tauranga are learning surf education as part of a new initiative to promote confidence in the ocean.

Once a week Year 9 and 10 students hit the beach alongside lifeguards from Mount Maunganui Surf Lifesaving Club. The experience builds on the skills gained through the school’s partnership with Liz van Welie Swim School, which sees students in Years 1-8 participate in swimming lessons.

Students are learning to use floats, conduct beach first aid, identify rips, troughs and holes and make the right decisions if they get into difficulty in the sea.

“The surf education classes give a real balance of theory and practical beach skills,” said PE teacher Ben Howell. “Students are loving being challenged in the waves and learning from the club’s incredibly enthusiastic instructors.”

The initiative came about in part due to ACG Tauranga’s sponsorship of Mount Maunganui Surf Lifesaving Club’s Nippers programme and builds on the school’s annual Mount surf day.

Principal Shawn Hutchinson said the school was blessed to be in the Bay of Plenty where the curriculum could be enhanced with real-world experiences outside the classroom.

“We are also fortunate to build partnerships with local community organisations such as the Mount Maunganui Surf Lifesaving Club,” he said.

“Access to a world-class surf club that provides high-quality surf education and important life skills ensures our students are developing the necessary skills to succeed.”

Eventually the programme will be rolled out across further year levels and hopefully become a permanent fixture of the timetable.