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Puddle Ducks and the National Deaf Children’s Society

Puddle Ducks and the NDCS have been working closely together.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for the 45,000 deaf young people in the UK. They believe that with the right support, deaf children can do anything other children can do, a belief that is shared by Puddle Ducks.

Swimming is a life-saving skill but having the ability to save yourself or others doesn’t come instinctively; it has to be taught. Sadly, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children so it is vital that all young people learn this life-saving for their own safety. This is especially important for deaf young people.

Research conducted by the NDCS reveals that 40% of deaf children have had difficulties accessing swimming opportunities, meaning that they lack confidence and fall behind their hearing peers. Worryingly, a third of deaf young people aged 12+ say they can’t swim as far as 10 metres.

Puddle Ducks have made a fantastic commitment to make all of their swimming lessons across the UK fully inclusive for deaf children. All 300 Puddle Ducks teachers have attended deaf-awareness training and many have learnt basic sign language in order to communicate more effectively with deaf swimmers.

Swimming is one of the sports deaf young people most want to take part in, however the natural distance between a swimmer and a teacher, the acoustics of a swimming pool, the reliance on verbal information and deaf young people being required to remove hearing aids before entering a pool mean swimming can pose a number of challenges and additional barriers for deaf young people. However, these barriers can be easily overcome if swimming teachers take small and simple steps to include deaf young people.

NDCS’ Swimming Development Officer, Ashleigh Scott commented, “Unfortunately, too many deaf children are currently being denied the opportunity to learn to swim as swimming providers don’t understand their needs. We know that these barriers can be overcome; by making small changes to swimming lessons, teachers and coaches can ensure that deaf young people are fully included. Puddle Ducks’ positive approach to inclusion for deaf young people is an excellent example for other swimming providers.”

“It’s been an exciting 18 months working with the NDCS and I am thrilled with the results.” says Puddle Ducks’ Technical Director Ali Beckman. “Ashleigh introduced deaf awareness training at our teacher conference in September 2015 and since then we’ve worked hard to ensure that all our teachers are trained in this area and we do not permit new teachers to teach until they’ve received this training. It is important to both Puddle Ducks and the NDCS that children with hearing difficulties are welcomed into mainstream swimming lessons as much as possible and this was always our goal. We're thankful to Ashleigh for signing the Puddle Ducks Welcome Song for us [below], and we hope that we continue with our relationship in the future."


  • To find out more about the NDCS’ Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project, please visit www.ndcs.org.uk/swimming. To contact NDCS’ Swimming Development Officers email swimming@ndcs.org.uk.

  • If you would like to become a Puddle Ducks Teacher, have a read of our Teacher’s Prospectus, and if you think you have what it takes, take a look at our Vacancies page to see if we’re recruiting in your area.

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