Our Puddle Ducks Teachers are as highly trained as they can be, giving you the peace of mind that your little ones are being taught by the best.
An STA World Partner, Puddle Ducks is recognised as a shining example of teaching standards by the world’s largest independent swimming teaching and lifesaving organisation.
Our Technical Director, Ali Beckman, is supported by an amazing team of Super Teachers (yes, that is a real job title!).
Our Technical Team
Technical Director and Head Teacher
Ali is Puddle Ducks' Technical Director and Head Teacher. Ali is a UK leading expert in swimming teaching, highly regarded within the industry. She heads a team of tutors, programme assessors and 'Super Teachers' who train and support the wonderful network of teachers at Puddle Ducks. Ali works closely with the Swimming Teachers' Association (STA) which is the largest swimming and lifesaving teacher training company in the world.
Ali was a competitive swimmer for Swinton ASC and Salford Triple S until an injury forced her to quit at the age of 15. This is when a love of teaching swimming was born as Ali still wanted to have some involvement in the sport. In 2001, Ali moved from Salford to Northwich and set up home with her husband Simon. In 2004 their first child was born and when he was just eight weeks old Ali had him in the pool. She found Puddle Ducks soon after and fell in love with it. A short time later Ali was to become the first employee of the company.
Ali is a qualified ASA, STA and Birthlight teacher as well as being an STA swimming, aquacise and lifesaving tutor and examiner. She loves all areas of her work especially developing the baby programmes and also the aquanatal and pregnancy swimming programme.
Ali is the pregnancy swimming coach for Active for 2 which is run by Aptaclub.
Ali still teaches and has no intention of giving up! She loves being in the water with all ages but admits her favourite lessons are with babies under six months of age. She says, "I love that I am the first teacher they have on the start of their swimming journey. To know that you introduced someone to the world of swimming and have helped them love the water is a magical feeling. It is even more special when that tiny baby turns into an independent happy swimmer a couple of years later. That's when you can say "I helped them do that". No-one understands that feeling unless they have been there."
In her spare time Ali still swims, competing in long distance open water events and loves watching her two children train and compete for Northwich Centurions (swimming club).Learn more
Technical Development Manager, Super Teacher, Regional Technical Manager (South West), Programme Assessor
Tina works with Ali, and the rest of the Technical Team, in her role as Technical Development Manager, working on all aspects of the Puddle Ducks programmes. She has a great deal of experience in swimming teaching having taught babies through to adults and everything in between. Tina is our swimming pool nerd (her words!) - she is pool plant qualified, as well as being Health & Safety Advisor for the Puddle Ducks network of franchises. As a member of the Puddle Ducks Technical Team Tina is also a Super Teacher, which involves a programme assessor role, undertaking technical visits across the Puddle Ducks network providing technical support to the rest of the business, as well as helping to develop the swimming programmes at all levels.
Tina has been a swimmer all her life, dabbling a little with competitive swimming in her youth and first becoming a qualified swimming instructor when she was 16. After time away from the sport and having started a family Tina refreshed her swimming qualifications gaining valuable experience teaching learn to swim classes at the local leisure centre and volunteering for the local swimming club, which resulted in her running their not inconsiderable learn to swim programme that fed into the club for several years. Through her volunteer work at the swim club she met someone who worked for Puddle Ducks Bristol & Bath and the rest is history.
Tina is an ASA/Swim England and STA qualified swimming instructor as well as being an Aquacise, Aquatanal and Ante-natal swimming teacher. In addition to this Tina is an STA tutor and examiner and Puddle Ducks tutor for Baby & Pre-school, Swim Academy & Elite Swim Academy, as well as a life saving award tutor. She is an STA tutor for both the Level 2 and the Level 3 STA Diplomas in Aquatic Teaching - Baby & Pre-school - and if that isn't enough she is also a qualified ASA Level 2 Swim Coach!
One of the best parts of the job is being in the water teaching - Tina has been teaching for Puddle Ducks Bristol & Bath for nearly 10 years!. It is the most rewarding job Tina has ever had the pleasure to enjoy and she cannot imagine not ever doing it. Being able to bring to bear a positive influence on people with regards to their reaction to being in the water is just an amazing thing to do. Seeing customers, be it babies, toddlers, children or their parents/carers, blossom in new found water confidence/water & swimming skills is just a fantastic thing to be part of.
Facilitating this journey that starts with water confidence and leads to fabulous swimming skills is just immensely rewarding.
Tina tries to fit in swims for herself whenever possible - hard to do when family and work take up a lot of time! River and lake swimming are where it's at, but the best thing is being able to start the day with a great swim when the opportunity allows. Tina's kids are growing up with swimming as a central part of their lives, not to be the next Olympic champions, but so that they can get involved with all sort of exciting aquatic based sports in their future should they choose to and because swimming is such a great way to keep fit no matter how old you are!
Super Teacher, Programme Assessor
Susan is a swimming teacher and tutor for Puddle Ducks as well as being an STA Tutor, Super Teacher and Programme Assessor.
A competitive swimmer, Susan swam with her local club until she was 17 before deciding to take her first swimming teaching qualification. Her life soon changed direction when she started a career in Countryside Management which included managing an area of water for activities such as windsurfing, sailing and canoeing. Susan's swimming skills came in useful as she had to hold the RLSS Silver Cross award and her teaching skills were also used when she became an instructor in water sports.
When Susan relocated to Cheshire she decided on a career change and became a Tumble Tots leader, learning about child development and gaining a deep insight into how little ones think and very importantly how they feel and learn enabling her to help them achieve new skills. Through Tumble Tots Susan learned of Puddle Ducks and after observing one lesson she was hooked and decided to return to teaching.
Technical Services Manager, Super Teacher, Regional Technical Manager (North West), Programme Assessor
Nici is Puddle Ducks' in-house lifesaving and personal survival expert, and she ensures that our programmes have a balance of these two areas within them. Nici is also a Super Teacher, Programme Assessor, Puddle Ducks Tutor and STA Tutor.
Nici's relationship with the RLSS started when she was a youngster, taking part in her local lifesaving club and becoming a Rookie lifesaver completing her Bronze, Silver and Gold awards as well as taking part in Swimming Galas for her High School. After taking a break, she returned to this, qualified as a RLSS Trainer Assessor and becoming Puddle Ducks' in-house lifesaving expert. Nici has also taken part in the Tesco Babysafe Roadshow with the RLSS - training parents in baby CPR.
Nici has a keen interest in open water swimming/activities, gaining her open water Silver Cross. She regularly takes part in canoeing/kayaking (owning both types of boats) so being able to give her own children open water experience too.
Nici has three children that all enjoy swimming and lifesaving with her eldest daughter having achieved the St Johns Ambulance award in Junior Lifesaving. Having started her youngest daughter in the pool at just 3 weeks old Nici can see for herself that teaching children not just how to swim but also how to save their own life is massively beneficial. Her youngest was demonstrating a knowledge of water safety when she was out on the canoe from just two years old.
Nici has also a personal experience and interest in children with behavioural difficulties and her knowledge has supported many parents and teachers who have children in their classes who are struggling with these issues.
Nici says "Being a swimming teacher/tutor gives me the greatest satisfaction and knowing that I have played a part in allowing children of all ages to be confident and safe in and around the water means that every day I go home from work with a smile on my face."
Regional Technical Manager (North East), Programme Assessor
Julie joined the Puddle Ducks North East franchise as a teacher in 2011 and was appointed to the role of Senior Teacher in 2013. Julie is qualified to teach all levels for Puddle Ducks which includes Aquanatal, Baby & Pre-School, Swim Academy and Elite Swim Academy. In addition to this, she achieved her STA Level 3 Diploma in Aquatic Teaching - Baby & Pre-school in 2017 and became an STA Tutor in 2018. She is also the franchise Marketing Manager for the North East.
Prior to Puddle Ducks Julie completed a degree and a Master’s in Business and worked in Human Resource Management for ten years. After having her first child she decided on a career change and has never looked back!
As Julie teaches all the Puddle Ducks programmes she is able to see the bigger picture including how Aquanatal to help new mums in baby swimming classes and how baby swimming can lead to amazing Swim Academy classes. Julie is also a patient and supportive mentor to new teachers.
Regional Technical Manager (South East), Programme Assessor
Rebecca started her Puddle Ducks journey as a poolside assistant as the first employee of West Kent & East Sussex franchise in January 2013, qualified as a teacher in March 2013 and was appointed Senior Teacher the following year.
Rebecca teaches Baby & Pre-school and joined the Puddle Ducks Head Office Technical Team in 2015 as a co-tutor, assisting on the Puddle Ducks Baby & Pre-school course. Since then she has qualified as a Programme Assessor.
Prior to working for Puddle Ducks, Rebecca worked in the advertising industry, after having her first baby in 2012, she realised her work life balance was not what she wanted and revisited her love of swimming as a new career path. As a child and teenager Rebecca had represented her club and school. She also competed in both pool and open water lifesaving competitions.
Rebecca loves teaching Baby & Pre-school swimming as it never feels like work, 'Teaching a life skill, while watching parents bond with their children, be it at four months or four years, is a privilege'.
Regional Technical Manager (Midlands), Programme Assessor
Heather began her Puddle Ducks life as a Poolside Assistant and very quickly realising that she wanted more, she started training to become a teacher. After a couple of years in the teaching role, Heather was promoted to Senior Teacher, and now holds the title of Head of Teaching within the Lincolnshire franchise. Heather joined the Technical Team in December 2017 after being appointed to the role of Programme Assessor for the East Midlands area. In February 2020, Heather was promoted to the role of Regional Technical Manager supporting the Midlands area. She particularly enjoys the in-water teaching, loving each of the programmes within Baby & Pre-school and Swim Academy for different reasons. Heather says “I can’t think of a better reason to get up every morning than to see my customers and watch them progress in to beautiful swimmers”. In her spare time she enjoys swimming and running, and confesses to having a secret Lego habit!
Wendy joined the Puddle Ducks team in July 2014, after her son's teacher suggested that it might be something she would enjoy. After teaching Baby & Pre-school classes for a couple of years, Wendy became a senior teacher and trained to teach Swim Academy classes as well. Working within the Bristol & Bath franchise, Wendy joined the technical team in July 2018 as a Programme Assessor for her region. Although teaching children to swim was a complete change from her previous career as a Financial Services Project Manager, Wendy now couldn't imagine doing anything else. She particularly enjoys mentoring new teachers and has been with Puddle Ducks long enough to see children she first taught as babies now achieving beautiful distance swims in her Swim Academy classes - something that brings a satisfaction it's hard to imagine experiencing in any other job. When she has any spare time, Wendy likes to travel and get out and about with her two crazy dogs - preferably in the sunshine!
Rebecca joined Puddle Ducks as a customer when her son was 7 weeks old in 2011. The teacher at the time suggested that Rebecca would make a good swimming teacher, Rebecca thought she was crazy! Fast forward two years later when her second son was born and the idea of becoming a swimming teacher started to sound like a great idea.
Rebecca became a Baby & Pre-school teacher in November 2013. In 2016, after settling into the role for a couple of years, Rebecca trained as a Swim Academy teacher. In the same year Rebecca was also made senior teacher. In 2017 Rebecca did the STA Level 3 Diploma in Aquatic Teaching in Baby & Pre-school and became joint Head of Teaching in the Nottingham franchise where she teaches. In 2019 Rebecca trained to teach Elite Swim Academy and became a Programme Assessor.
As if that wasn’t enough Rebecca also sometimes helps out in the Nottingham and North Leicestershire Franchise office.
Before working for Puddle Ducks Rebecca worked as a manager in communications at the Boots head office in Nottingham for 18 years.
Rebecca absolutely loves her job working for Puddle Ducks and says it was one of the best decisions she ever made – cliché but true!
In Rebecca’s spare time (not that she gets much!) she likes to read and have fun days out with her family.
In 2010 Nikola was introduced to Puddle Ducks when she took her eldest son at 10 weeks old, and they both loved it! So much so that she thought “I’d love to do that job!”
Nikola first trained with Puddle Ducks in 2011 as a Baby & Pre-School Teacher, and then went on to train as a Swim Academy Teacher in 2012.
In 2013 she took just a term off teaching to have her second son and the following year was appointed the role of Senior Teacher.
Nikola was made Joint Head of Teaching for the Nottinghamshire franchise in 2017 and wanting to continue furthering her knowledge went on to complete the STA Level 3 Diploma in Baby & Pre-School Aquatics in 2018.
Nikola joined the technical team as a Programme Assessor in 2019.
Nikola loves teaching children, playing an important role in their life and their love for the water, and says "I go to work with a smile and go home with an even bigger one!"
Outside of work when not being 'Mummy Taxi' to various activities she enjoys spending time with her 2 boys, family and friends, exploring new places, cycling and travelling.
Verity brought both her children to Puddle Ducks in 2010 and loved every minute. She was due to return to work in 2011 when she made the decision to have a career change and became a Poolside Assistant for Puddle Ducks Wakefield before the beginning her training journey to become a teacher. Training to be both a Baby & Pre-school teacher and a Swim Academy teacher in 2012, Verity was keen to train further and became an Elite Swim Academy teacher a year later. In 2015, Verity was appointed to the role of Senior Teacher within the Wakefield franchise and in 2017 she completed her STA Level 3 Diploma and then joined the Puddle Ducks Head Office Technical Team as a Programme Assessor in 2019. Verity loves spending her mornings with little ones, seeing them splashing, kicking and blowing bubbles in the water without a care in the world, just perfectly relaxed and happy to be there and her evenings with school age children building confidence and learning strokes that quickly turn into effortless, graceful swimming. She feels it is a privilege to be part of all these swimming journeys and is amazed to see them progress through the Puddle Ducks programmes, to become fabulous swimmers that she’s helped and guided along the way. What spare time Verity has is spent with family, enjoying long walks and adventures, she also loves to upcycle old furniture and create handmade items.
Hannah has always had a passion for being in the water and this was passed on to her eldest son, who became a competitive swimmer himself. When she returned to work after having her second son, she decided to retrain and become a teacher to make a career out of something that she loves so much. She completed training and joined the Puddle Ducks family in 2015 as a Baby & Pre-school teacher. Within 18 months she also became qualified in Swim Academy and Aquanatal and found a love for all things Puddle Ducks. She was then appointed the role of Senior Teacher in March 2017.
Since then, an Elite Swim Academy programme launched in her home Franchise, Cherwell and Aylesbury Vale. She trained to teach our Elite Swim Academy kids so they can continue with their own journeys.
Hannah joined the Head Office Technical Team as a Programme Assessor in 2019 and feels proud to be assisting, supporting and nurturing our amazing new teachers in their new ventures.
Hannah loves every role that she takes on but teaching is where she started and where she will always be drawn to.
"To teach a child a valuable life saving skill, influences their whole family in such a positive way. I can give a child all the tools (and fun!) they need to swim safely and accurately, but it is their hard work and love for the water that brings the results and the smiles. That is priceless.