A HOYLAND secondary school celebrated being able to host free swimming lessons at a local sports centre to make up for lost time during the pandemic.

Leaders at Kirk Balk Academy, on West Street, said they recognised the impact social restrictions had on kids’ swimming abilities, leading them to offer the lessons.

Free lessons often given in primary school are the only opportunity for some children to learn to swim, but many didn’t have access to these throughout the pandemic – leading the school to come up with the new scheme.

Assistant principal James Dransfield said: “We are proud to have offered free swimming lessons for those of our students who have missed out on the opportunity to learn to swim.

“Our aim is to ensure all students are able to achieve the statutory 25-metre swim as part of our moral purpose to provide them with the best possible experiences and to help prepare them for adult life.

“As we look to support our young people and our community to return to normal after the disruption of Covid, these free swimming lessons will go a long way to help families with an essential life skill.”

The sessions run after school on Fridays as an eight-week programme, and are held at Hoyland Sports Centre.

Dean Buckley, executive principal at Kirk Balk Academy, added: “We are extremely passionate about ensuring that no student feels disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.

“We feel strongly that students should leave school not only with good exam results, but also prepared for later life and with the skills required to adapt and thrive in the modern world.”