Sunderland schoolchildren will be heading to the beach for lifesaving water safety lessons.
Hundreds of 8-11-year-olds will be off to Seaburn beach for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Hit the Surf sessions over the next few weeks.
The classes teach youngsters how to stay safe on beaches as well showing them the vital role played by lifeguards.
Among the schools taking part in the classes is St Benet’s Primary.
Headteacher Ann Blakey said: “I am delighted that our pupils and others across the city are taking part in the RNLI ‘Hit the Surf’ sessions. Many of our children live near the sea so
sessions like these are invaluable in teaching them very important skills for life.”
RNLI Lifeguard supervisor Nick Campbell said: “We talk about things like the importance of always swimming between the red and yellow flags, and what to do if you get into trouble.
“This is followed with a lifesaving lesson and the chance to learn surf based skills which help build the children’s confidence in the sea. Our charity’s lifeguards also teach them what
hazards they need to watch out for at the beach. The idea is that they then take that advice home and share it with family and friends.”
Other Sunderland schools taking part in the sessions are: South Hylton Primary School, Redby Academy, Grangetown Primary School, St Leonard’s Primary School, Willowfields
Community Primary School, New Silksworth Academy, Valley Road Primary School, Hudson Road Primary School, St John Bosco RC Primary, Hetton Lyons, Lambton Primary School,
English Martyrs RC Primary, Wessington Primary School, Broadway Junior School, Argyle House School, Barnwell Academy, Hill View Junior School, Hylton Castle Primary School,
Newbottle Academy and Farringdon Academy.
The Hit the Surf sessions are part of Sunderland’s annual water safety programme which sees the RNLI work alongside the council. More than 150,000 city pupils have received water
safety lessons since 1994. Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for City Services, Coun Michael Mordey, said: “Sessions like these are a really good way of helping children to get a
better understanding of how to stay safe around water.”