Swim England clarifies its position on the use of pop-up pools

Swim England has clarified its position on pop-up pools following a rise in the popularity of their use.

Temporary pools are being used at dozens of sites across the country to help deliver school swimming lessons and water safety sessions. That has prompted the national governing body to highlight key health and safety aspects which must be fully considered before a pop-up pool is used – in a bid to ‘foster a secure and enjoyable environment for individuals of all ages engaging in swimming activities’.

School swimming and water safety lessons are part of the national curriculum and and play an important role in helping children become water competent. In specific circumstances, where access to pre-existing water space is not available, then temporary pools can offer a route to expanding opportunities for aquatic engagement – which Swim England supports.

However, when using a temporary pool the safety and wellbeing of pool users must remain the primary importance. Consideration should be given to whether a temporary pool can facilitate the development of all the necessary skills to meet the curriculum requirement for safe self-rescue before commissioning such a pool.

Jon Glenn, Swim England learn to swim and workforce director, said: “The rise of temporary pools is in part a reaction to the shortage of publicly available water space in areas of the country.”

“However, they are no substitute for genuine community pools which is why we will continue to advocate for the required investment into public swimming pools to ensure there is a network of sustainable facilities that can accommodate all user groups.”

“Temporary pools need to be meticulously designed and adequately equipped to handle the specific challenges presented by varying bather loads and environmental conditions.”

Upholding highest standards

“Many temporary pools are designed for use by a family in a domestic setting. With more bathers and increased usage, the pool’s circulation and filtration system may not be able to cope with the increased demand, causing water quality problems that could be harmful to users.”

“As part of our commitment to safety, we insist that operators of temporary pools also adhere to other health and safety guidance applicable to aquatic facilities. We believe that strict adherence to industry standards and best practices is imperative to foster a safe and enjoyable environment for individuals of all ages engaging in swimming activities.”

“Everyone at Swim England remains steadfast in our dedication to promoting water safety and facilitating positive aquatic experiences. We urge all stakeholders, including local authorities, schools and providers, to collaborate in upholding the highest standards of safety when utilising temporary pools for swimming lessons or other aquatic activities for children.”

Swim England endorses guidance provided by the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG), specifically Technical Note 65 (TN65), which offers comprehensive information and recommendations on the proper utilisation of temporary pools for commercial purposes. It encourages all stakeholders involved in the implementation of such facilities to familiarise themselves with, and adhere to the guidelines, laid out in TN65 to guarantee the optimal functioning of these temporary pools.

Furthermore, Swim England underscores the significance of compliance with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance, particularly HSG 179, which specifically pertains to the operation of swimming pools.

Jon added: “Adhering to this guidance is crucial for maintaining a safe environment for users.”

If you have any questions on the use of temporary pop-up pools, please email [email protected].

  • Original Article: Swim England
  • Date: December 2023