The community swimming pool at Upton Junior School in Broadstairs has a secure future at a time when others around the UK are closing.
The pool reopened 18 months ago after a massive school and public community effort raised funds for urgent repairs to ensure the much-needed in-demand facility would stay open for pupils and community groups.
To ensure the continued daily smooth-running of the amenity, the pool will be under new management from 1st September 2018, with ‘pool professionals’ Stacy and Ross Simpson from Thanet at the helm.
Michaela Lewis, Executive Head Teacher of the Viking Academy Trust that runs Upton, together with Chilton Primary and Ramsgate Arts Primary, explained:
“Our continued progression of the pool at a time where school pools across the country are closing is part of our ongoing commitment to remaining at the forefront of school sport both within Kent and beyond.”
As a result of the refurbishment, the Upton pool is much more popular than before and is used extensively both by local community groups and schools.
Mrs Lewis said:
“It is clearly an excellent community asset. However, such increased usage does mean that it is time for the next step in terms of its operation.
We are now at the stage where expert pool management is required for the pool to continue to operate effectively. Across this year the pool has closed for periods. This is simply because while our school staff work exceptionally hard, there is a level of mechanical expertise now required to maintain such a well-used pool.
We want the pool to be open all the time, without issue so that no-one ever misses a moment of possible swimming.
To this end, and after extensive research, the school has decided to enter into partnership with professionals who will be able to ensure it is run without interruption.”
Mrs Simpson runs Stacy’s School of Swimming, which has operated successfully from the Upton pool for many years. Mr Simpson is highly experienced in the area of pool maintenance and responsible for maintaining DW Sports pools across the country.
“The pool is a fabulous facility and is much-needed and well-used by so many people of all ages. We are happy to be working with Upton School on this new venture and we are pleased that we are helping ensure that the pool has a bright future.”
Pupils will continue to have the same amount of free swimming, and community hirers will also be unaffected. The school will continue to own the pool and are simply passing over its management to pool professionals.
Mrs Lewis has already informed parents, pupils, hirers and other schools.
She said that swimming is an important part of Upton’s sports programme and added:
“Recently Upton School was awarded the inaugural Thanet ‘Sustained Excellence in Sport Award’ for consistent excellence in school sport across the last decade, a period that included Upton becoming the ‘National School for Sport’.
“When it seemed like all hope for the pool was lost 18 months ago, overwhelming support, determination and enthusiasm enabled its repair and reopening. This was a massive boost for the school and all its community users.
“Now we can look forward to another exciting chapter in the history of the Upton pool for our children, other pupils and the community.”
More than 1000 people use the pool in Edge End Road every week and generations of children have learned to swim there since it opened 20 years ago.
Local schools swim there each week, including The Foreland School for pupils with profound, severe and complex needs (PCSN) and Stone Bay School for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder and communication needs.
It provides a safe, non-public environment that caters to the specific needs of individual groups, many of whom are unable to use other public pools in Thanet. The pool was also used weekly by local swim schools, lifeguards associations and OAP groups.
Upton Junior School is part of the Viking Academy Trust with Chilton Primary School and Ramsgate Free School.
Thank you, Upton Junior School for your press release and for your community support. It is lovely to hear that the pool will be under new management on 1st September 2018 thus ensuring that it will remain accessible to all. The services available are incredibly beneficial to everyone and it is lovely to read that those with special needs are benefiting from the pool too.