SwimWay https://www.swimway.co.uk Tue, 25 Jun 2019 09:02:15 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 https://www.swimway.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/cropped-sw-icon-32x32.png SwimWay https://www.swimway.co.uk 32 32 New SwimWay Website Is Just The Beginning https://www.swimway.co.uk/blog/new-swimway-website/ https://www.swimway.co.uk/blog/new-swimway-website/#respond Sat, 01 Jun 2019 16:33:22 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=11036 Two weeks ago we released our brand new website and we immediately felt the impact. Our online presence and services have been significantly improved.

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Two weeks ago we released the brand new SwimWay website! We immediately felt the impact that it had on our business. Clients have been finding the contact form and availability pages far more user-friendly. Potential partners have located our services with ease. Our online presence and services have been significantly improved.

exploring the new swimway website
Our Finance Manager, Cheryl, taking a look at our handy “Venues & Availability” page

Web Design Company

The planning of the new site began way back in September 2018. We spoke to several different web design companies, receiving different quotes and proposals. After much back and forth, we decided to go with a company called Digital Arm to handle the redesign.

Like SwimWay, Digital Arm puts a huge emphasis on personal service. They take immense pride in working with their clients from start to finish to ensure needs are met and a creative vision is brought to life. We could not be happier with what they have done, and are excited to continue working with them over the course of the next year.

Planning & Execution

Once we made the decision to work with Digital Arm, we put plans on hold for a few months to focus on finishing the year and scheduling in the work to start in 2019. Our (highly pedantic) Operations Manager, Will McCabe, took the reins of the project and worked closely with Digital Arm to ensure our expectations were realised.


The extremely helpful blog redesign, FAQ page, and general speed and accessibility improvements were just a start. The main focus was to create a more user-friendly interface for our clients. The 3-step booking request system was a massive improvement on our previous setup. This includes:

Our updated Find Your Stage questionnaire ensures you are looking for the correct age and stage for your child. Our new venue pages provide you with all the information you need to decide which of the locations is most suitable for your needs. The booking request form is simple to use and provides us with instant access to vital information.

swimway staff here to help
Get in touch to find out more about SwimWay!

The Future

Of course, there are improvements to be made. We know that presenting our availability in PDF form is not adequate. Over the coming months, we will be working hard to cut the PDF availability sheets out completely, and introduce a single-page booking request form that presents our clients with all the available spaces suitable for their child. All that you will need to do is select your preferred spaces, input your information, and submit. We will do the rest.

Beyond that, we hope to develop this further into a custom-built online booking system. No more “requesting a booking”! We want to be able to offer you the ability to simply book online. One step at a time though. We are taking things slowly to ensure we can continue to correctly match 1:2 lessons, as well as provide our expected high level of customer service.

Watch this space, there are exciting things to come…

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FAQ: Parking Restrictions During Wimbledon Tennis Tournament https://www.swimway.co.uk/faqs/faq-parking-restrictions-wimbledon/ https://www.swimway.co.uk/faqs/faq-parking-restrictions-wimbledon/#respond Sat, 01 Jun 2019 15:13:48 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=11026 During the Wimbledon Tournament, parking is not permitted close to our Wimbledon/Southfields venue. Lessons will continue as normal during this time.

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For two weeks every July, a large portion of the London populace heads to Wimbledon for one of the world’s most celebrated Tennis Tournaments. It is an amazing, vibrant time throughout the area. Spirits are high and it is a perfect example of how beautiful this city can be during the summer months.

Of course, the tournament does bring with it some logistical difficulties. One being major parking restrictions that come into play in Wimbledon and it’s surrounding areas. These restrictions do have an effect on our venue in Wimbledon/Southfields (SW19 6HW).

For clients who have booked for the Summer Term at this pool: Please be aware that during the two weeks that the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament takes place, parking is not permitted on the roads close to the venue.

It is also important to note that the parking restriction signs are posted before the tournament starts. However, the actual restrictions are only enforced during the tournament dates.

Our lessons will continue as normal for the two weeks during the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament.

We are unable to offer any make-ups/refunds/credits for any missed lessons.  Only Wimbledon residents with assigned parking permits are able to park in the area during the tournament. For more information about the parking restrictions in Wimbledon, and to see if you qualify, please click here.

Many of our clients are unaffected as they live in the area and walk to the venue anyway. Those who drive usually choose to take public transport. Bus 39 will drop you off at Smithwood Close – a stone’s throw from the location. Another option would be JustPark – a handy service for local residents who rent out their parking spaces.

child learning to swim with swimway

We do hope this information helps! For those booked into our lessons during the summer, we wish you wonderful sunny months ahead! Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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SwimWay Summer Term 2019 Team Training https://www.swimway.co.uk/team-training/swimway-summer-term-2019-team-training/ Fri, 03 May 2019 13:31:50 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=10843 On 28 April, the team was again together for the termly team training to swap ideas, resolve issues, and undergo the health & safety course.

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On Sunday 28th April, the entire SwimWay team was once again brought together for the termly team training session. This is an excellent opportunity for the team to meet, exchange ideas, resolve issues, and undergo the health and safety refresher course.

Specialist SwimWay health and safety consultant David Perry took one half of the group through the refresher course and SwimWay Health & Safety policies and procedures. Meanwhile, SwimWay MD Dan Pastor and Head of Swimming Tamsin Watt took the staff through operational matters.

Health & Safety Training

Dave split his group into two teams and ran a competitive question-and-answer session based around the SwimWay NOP and EOP. With the prize of chocolates going to the winning team, stakes were high! Topics included:

  • Emergency Calls – number to ring, things to say
  • Severe bleed to foot (MAJOR EMERGENCY) – procedures
  • Nosebleed (MINOR EMERGENCY) – procedure
  • Vomit or faeces in the pool
  • Diarrhoea in the pool (MAJOR/ADDITIONAL EMERGENCY) – procedure

Following this, Dave took the team through the practical CPR refresher course on the following categories of manikin:

  • Adult Sudden Collapse
  • Child
  • Infant

Operational Meeting

Dan opened by taking the team through his vision for the summer term and beyond. He broke some great news about new SwimWay venues that we hope to open next year, so watch this space! Then he explained the positive impact this would have on the operation and team, and how it would affect the current business model.

He went on to discuss each instructor’s obligations when in the employ of SwimWay. Touching upon emergency and ordinary procedures that would be covered in more detail with Dave Perry. He also reminded them about how important it is to work closely with the booking team, and creating a routine when it comes to the admin aspect of their work.

He then introduced the two new team members Sara Lagana and Kasia Janicka. While SwimWay has a very low turnover, we do see new blood enter the team from time to time. Thus, this term we have these two amazing new talents who will be the backbone behind our new Clapham Common Pool!

Tamsin started her part of the meeting by reminding the team about the SwimWay Child Protection Policy. The child protection course is mandatory for every instructor to complete. SwimWay keeps records of these certificates, ensuring everyone is always up-to-date.

She highlighted the importance of being a team player, and going above and beyond to ensure we are the best team we can be. She used The Kensington Head Coach and Site Manager David Ashton as a good example. Last term we lost our cleaner at this venue just before the Easter Courses began. It took us two weeks to find a suitable replacement, and during this time, David took on cleaning duties at Kensington with no hesitation whatsoever. It is this type of commitment and care that we value in our team. Way to go Davo!

Tamsin took the team through various ideas of how we can continue to grow as a team:

  • Be prepared for any situation
  • Take responsibility
  • Create a warm and healthy environment
  • Work on lesson planning, and remember to be adaptable
  • Communication is key!

Once the meeting reached its end, a few team pictures were snapped before everyone headed to the local for a quick drink and a friendly catch up. It is so important for us to take advantage of these meetings where everyone is together. As a result, a friendly atmosphere between staff members always influences the environment at our venues!


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SwimWay’s Alexander King – Charity Swimathon https://www.swimway.co.uk/general-swimming-information/swimways-alexander-king-charity-swimathon/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 10:45:55 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=10677 On the 30th March Alexander King, one of SwimWay's Wandsworth Common instructors and friendly Booking Managers competed in a charity Swimathon.

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On the 30th March 2019 Alexander King, one of our Wandsworth Common SwimWay instructors and friendly Booking Managers competed in a charity Swimathon.

He completed the 2.5km swim in a time of 57 minutes and 36 seconds. Although an excellent time, it was still down on his personal best of 53 minutes and 15 seconds. However, with less training this time around, he was still happy with being under an hour!

This yearly event helps raise funds for Marie Curie – a charity that provides support for families who have a loved one with a terminal illness. A wonderful cause that Alexander is truly proud to be a part of!


Congratulations to Alexander, and all the other participants!

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Brand New SwimWay Venue in Clapham Common West Side https://www.swimway.co.uk/venues/new-swimway-venue-clapham-common/ Mon, 11 Feb 2019 10:22:09 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=10208 This is a spectacular, modern 10m pool, perfect for our specialised 1:1 Lessons for children aged 2 - 9 years old. Located in Clapham Common West Side.

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It gives us great pleasure to announce a brand new SwimWay Venue opening in Clapham Common this Summer Term, April 2019!

We expect spaces to disappear quickly, as bookings are already open! To avoid missing out, get in touch ASAP!

Clapham Common West Side (SW4 9AY)

SwimWay has been operating near the Clapham area for a number of years at our pools in Balham/Tooting Bec and Wandsworth Common.  We are so excited to now be offering our lessons in the heart of Clapham Common, where many of our clients reside!

  • DAYS: Thursday and Friday afternoons, 2:00pm – 6:30pm
  • INSTRUCTORS: Instructors Sara Lagana and Kasia Janicka
  • LESSON TYPE: 1:1 Lessons only
  • PRICE: 1:1 lessons at £49.00 per half hour class (VAT incl.)
  • AGES: Children aged 2 – 9 years
  • DATES: Summer Term starting w/c 22nd April (full term dates here)

This is a spectacular, modern 10m pool, located at the back of an amazing house with a truly unique build. Our specialised 1:1 lessons will be perfect for this venue. Featuring a skylight and glass doors, this pool will be beautiful to swim in during the summer months. The light will shine wonderfully as the children enjoy their lessons!  Pay and display parking available on surrounding roads, and the venue is a 10 minute walk from Clapham South Station and a 20 minute walk from Clapham Common Station.  More information on parking in the Borough here.


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FAQ: Booking Restrictions For Low-Demand Ages & Abilities https://www.swimway.co.uk/faqs/faq-booking-restrictions-for-low-demand-ages-abilities/ Thu, 31 Jan 2019 10:03:56 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=10155 Due to the sizes of the majority of our pools (12m), SwimWay Swimming School specialises in lessons for younger, beginner/developing swimmers.

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We are always looking to expand and grow the business to cater for all ages and abilities.  However, due to the sizes of most of our pools (12m), SwimWay specialises in lessons for younger, beginner/developing swimmers. Children aged 3 months – 6 years, up to stage 3 or 4 forms our demand. This means we have to enforce some booking restrictions for our lessons.

Older Children

We do teach some older, more advanced swimmers, usually up to around 8 or 9 years, working towards stages 5-7.  While diving/distance/endurance training is limited, these students can still work on technique development and stroke correction.  However, we will always keep our clients aware of any restrictions we have when it comes to the children’s progression.

Procedures & Communication

We specify multiple times on the SwimWay website the sizes of each pool, and what kind of booking restrictions apply.  In addition to this, we highlight these restrictions on all email communication. We will also contact any clients who may have restrictions applied before they rebook for the following term. At this point, we provide the information they need to make an informed decision on their future bookings with us. Students who fall under any booking restrictions will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Their child continues in the lessons with their current partner
  • The client sources a child of the same age/stage to swim with their child
  • The client books private lessons

If their existing partner doesn’t rebook, we honour their 1:2 booking until the end of the 2nd scheduled lesson.  Still no partner by then? We will once again offer one of the above options. If still unsuitable, we will provide a refund for the remaining lessons.

We continue to keep up communication with any affected clients to ensure they are fully informed of the procedures. It is important for us to continue to keep our clients updated, offering as many solutions as possible.

Client Frustration

These procedures can be frustrating for clients who have swum with us for years and wish to continue.  This is why we try to be transparent and upfront about limitations that come with learning in a smaller environment.  Due to this communication and clarity, we encounter very few problems. Many clients simply join a different class time with a student in a similar scenario. Many thank us for putting their child’s progress first and move to a larger pool.

Future Possibilities

We are working towards being able to offer a larger facility that can cater to our older/more advanced students!  These children would then be able to simply move to a larger SwimWay pool to continue their progression with us.

Ultimately, we do not wish to lose any students.  We would love to continue to see our children progress towards our higher stages, and onto swimming club level.  We value this progression above all else. If we feel that we cannot fuel your child’s development any longer, we will ensure you are informed.

That’s it!  We hope this helps to explain our booking procedures and restrictions a little more.  For more information…


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SwimWay Spring Term 2019 Team H&S Training https://www.swimway.co.uk/team-training/swimway-spring-term-2019-team-training/ Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:33:54 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=10085 At the start of every term, the entire SwimWay team meets for the team meeting and health and safety training for best operational and safety practices.

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At the start of every term, the entire SwimWay team meets for the meeting and health and safety training.  As a result, we have an opportunity for the team to meet to discuss ideas and resolve any potential issues. Above all, the gathering includes our health and safety refresher course.

SwimWay MD Dan Pastor and Head of Swimming Tamsin Watt took the staff through operational matters. Meanwhile, in a second group our Consultant Dave Perry ran through the company Health and Safety practices.

Health and Safety Training

Dave split his groups into teams for interactive and practical training sessions. It was a very competitive process, with scores ranging between 70% – 90%.  During these sessions, the instructors had to work together to provide the correct procedures with precise techniques.  Topics included:

  • Diarrhoea in the pool
  • Emergency Calls – what number to ring, what things to say
  • Head injury with bleeding
  • Nosebleed
  • Dizziness
  • Child “not feeling good”
  • Broken Arm
  • Seizure in the water
  • Applying wound dressings for bleeds
  • Applying slings for fractures/dislocations

There was a positive energy in the room throughout these sessions.  Our instructors recognise the importance of these team health and safety training sessions. There can certainly never be too many first aid reminder courses!

Operational Procedures and Teaching Practices

New Developments: Dan kicked things off by announcing the opening of a brand new SwimWay Venue. Starting Summer Term 2019 we will be operating in Clapham Common West Side! For more information, contact us at clapham@swimway.co.uk, or read more here.

Standard operational responsibilities: Dan ran through each instructor’s duties and day to day tasks. This tied in many of the health and safety points that Dave dealt with in his meeting.

Assessments and SwimWay methodology: It is important that we ensure our students are correctly assessed.  Our booking system allows our instructors to continuously assess the children throughout the term. The result of this is the “assessment week” at the end of the term. These assessments reward the children for their hard work with certificates and badges.  Therefore, our instructors have to assess the children conservatively, and correctly.  Any over or under-estimation of a child’s level can result in mismatches in 1:2 lessons.  This is something we work very hard to avoid.

SwimWay Child Protection: Tamsin’s presentation promoted the welfare of children. She focussed on SwimWay’s policies for safeguarding and child protection.  As a result, by the end of this term, SwimWay will have it’s safeguarding policies available to view on our website. Our instructors consistently update their Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults course.  Tamsin went through SwimWay’s best practices to ensure a safe and protected environment for any person in the water.  This kind of focus assures our clients we understand our responsibilities as a lesson provider for children.  In short, the first priority for us is to ensure the health and safety of each and every one of our students.

A Welcome Reward

To finish the long Sunday, Dan treated the team to a drink at the local.  At SwimWay, we try to create a friendly and sociable environment for everyone. Therefore, these staff meetings allow for everyone to touch base and maintain relationships.

Click here to learn more about SwimWay’s commitment to Health And Safety.

To conclude, we would like to wish all our lovely students and parents a happy and productive term ahead!

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SwimWay Swimming School Pool Focus: Balham / Tooting Bec https://www.swimway.co.uk/venues/swimway-swimming-school-pool-focus-balham-tooting-bec/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 14:22:39 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=9990 Lessons run Mondays to Fridays, 3pm-6.30pm. We run 1:1 lessons only for children aged 2 – 9 years old. Older children can book dependent on demand.

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Our pool focus blog has taken us to three of our longest-running locations: East SheenPutney and Wimbledon.  This week we bring you a venue that we have worked extremely hard to provide exclusive service at over the past few years.  We are delighted to offer our swimming lessons in Balham / Tooting Bec!


Since opening in 2016, the Balham / Tooting Bec pool swiftly became one of our most popular venues. We offered a wide range of lessons for all ages 3 months to 9 years.  Within a year we were fully booked with a long list of local residents eager to book with us.

Following some conversations with the council, the venue underwent some necessary restructuring to the operation.  We started limiting the lessons to Mondays – Fridays, afternoons offering 1:1 lessons only.  Nevertheless, our unique methodology was as popular as ever, and we are happy to still be providing our lessons at this venue to this day.


Lessons run Mondays to Fridays from 3pm-6.30pm. We run 1:1 lessons only at this venue for children aged 2 – 9 years old.  We advise only booking children who are swimming up to SwimWay Stage 6. However, higher stages and older children can book dependent on various factors – please contact us to inquire.

You can join us for term time and holiday lessons at this beautiful venue – an excellent location with warm, hospitable environments, perfect for the children to learn and thrive in!


Pay and display parking available on Elmbourne Road and surrounding roads between 9:30am and 4:30pm.  The pool is a 15 minute walk from both the Balham and Tooting Bec Stations.  For more information on parking in the Borough, click here.


The Balham / Tooting Bec location is fitted with the necessary facilities including a waiting area, toilet, 2 private changing areas, 2 showers, and a poolside viewing area for parents to watch the lessons.


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FAQ: Potential Mismatches In 1:2 Lessons https://www.swimway.co.uk/faqs/faq-mismatches-in-1-to-2-lessons/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 09:24:14 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=9882 In some cases, a pairing that looks good during the booking process may not work in practice because of abilities being over/understated, or a nervous child

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As previously mentioned in our FAQ blog SWIMWAY BOOKING PROCEDURES, we do not offer online bookings for our lessons.  We do have plans to introduce this service for 1:1 lessons in the future. However, our 1:2 lessons are a more complex situation. This requires a lot of guidance from our friendly office team before proceeding with any booking.  Our investigations into potential online booking systems for 1:2 lessons have always led to a higher potential of mismatched lessons. This is something we work extremely hard to avoid.

Online Information

We give as much information as possible online, including the FIND YOUR STAGE questionnaire, to source a suitable 1:2 lesson. You can also read more about this in our previous FAQ blog HOW DO THE AVAILABILITY PAGES WORK. Once you have that information you need to request the booking.  We will take the details you provide and double check that the pairing works before booking you in.  Sometimes we will ask for more information just to be certain.  The care and time that goes into pairing the children is extremely important to us. We hope to see them swimming, growing, developing together for a few terms if possible!

Friends & Siblings

Nevertheless, there can be mismatches that need to be dealt with.  Sometimes a client will contact us with siblings or friends that desperately want to swim together. But the information we receive indicates that there is a potential mismatch.  We want to not only provide the best lessons but also have the children enjoy them and have fun!

If we spot a potential mismatch before booking, we may come back with a warning. Due to the age gap and/or difference in abilities, the children may not be suited to swim together. If the mismatch isn’t too extreme, we may be willing to give it a go. However, the client must understand that the difference may hold the older/more advanced child’s progress back a little. In these cases, the instructor may have to structure the lessons with this in mind. As long as everyone is aware of the situation, sometimes these pairings can grow into wonderful matches! It just takes a little time for one of the children to catch up a bit!

How Mismatches Occur

In some cases, a pairing that looks good during the booking process may not work in practice. When booking, the child’s abilities may have been over/understated by the parent/guardian. Maybe the child is having difficulties feeling comfortable in a new swimming environment.  There are so many factors at play, and we try to be ready to solve any issues that may arise.

Procedures & Communication

If there is a mismatch, the instructor will contact the office to discuss.  One child may be slightly stronger. So for now, the pairing is suitable. However, at the end of a term they will need to be split up. Clients will receive advance warning for any future changes that need to be made.  On other occasions, the mismatch is too great, bringing in a health and safety concern which cannot be ignored.  This is when an immediate change needs to be made. The instructor’s decision will always be the final word.  We can all agree that the instructor will always have the best insight into the class.

The child first booked into a class will always have priority over the space. Nevertheless, we do offer alternatives for both children in case that child is able to move and the other isn’t.  Usually, this solves the problem, and we simply move one of the children into a more appropriate lesson. However, sometimes there simply isn’t any alternative availability. In these cases, we will refund one of the children for the remainder of the term.  On these rare occasions, if possible we offer that client priority booking for the following term. This way we ensure they are able to book with us again.


Mismatches are rare.  We work incredibly hard to avoid them at all costs.  But they do happen, and we work just as hard to try to find a suitable solution for everyone involved.  Should you have experienced a mismatch for any of our lessons, we do hope the outcome was ultimately positive. We can only offer our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

That’s it!  We hope this guide helps you, and the next step is to…


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FAQ: Why Are There Restrictions On Booking Some Available Spaces? https://www.swimway.co.uk/faqs/faq-restrictions-on-booking-some-available-spaces/ Wed, 21 Nov 2018 10:43:50 +0000 https://www.swimway.co.uk/?p=9814 We have to be careful when booking, as if we don't meet some minimum requirements, we may find ourselves running a lesson at a loss.

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We have recently covered how our availability pages work for children’s and parent/baby lessons. We thought it would be helpful to delve into the restrictions you may encounter when trying to book with SwimWay…

child learning to swim with swimway

Low Demand Lesson Times

Our prime-time children’s lessons run between 15:30 – 19:00 on weekdays and any time on weekends.  These spaces are notoriously difficult to book into due to the huge amount of demand we have.  Anything we offer before 15:30 on weekdays may come with restrictions attached.

We have to be careful when booking children into these times. We may find ourselves running the lesson at a loss.  Most of our venues offer two lessons running at the same time with different instructors.  To generate profit, we must secure one 1:1 lesson, or a minimum of two children booked into separate 1:2 lessons.  Booking one child into a 1:2 lesson with no child swimming in the other class, means running at a loss.

Advance Booking

When we open the bookings, there are fewer restrictions as there is still time before the new term starts. We will work to secure more bookings to ensure not only profit but a sociable, fun environment for the children.  However, sometimes the demand simply isn’t there, and we do not fill those spaces. We usually contact the client to ask if they are able to move to another time/day. But if they are unable to do so, we will honour the booking for one term. Should the same issue occur again the following term, we give notice of any changes that need to be made.  We usually ask the client to another time/day, source their own partner, or change the booking to a 1:1 lesson.

Parent & Baby Lessons

Another example of a booking restriction would be for parent and baby lessons.  Sometimes we will have a large number of spaces available for a certain age group. Until those spaces are filled, we cannot open a new class for that age group. You can book an open space if you secure a minimum of 2 other children to join you. That way we can ensure that the class isn’t running at a loss. Additionally, there would be a sufficient number of children in the lesson to ensure a progressive class for all.

New Bookings Only

It can be frustrating for current clients to be unable to book a space listed as “new bookings only”.  We list spaces like this when the current client is no longer able to swim at that time. The only way we can refund that client is if we can sell their space to a new booking.  This is why we list it for “new bookings only” and current clients are generally unable to move there.  If a current client wants the space, and is swimming in an equally/more sellable slot, we can make an exception. As long as the client looking to sell their space agrees.

Wording Used For Booking Restrictions

1:1 or 1:2 lesson if you have a partner

Children’s lessons: You can book this space as a 1:1 only, unless you can arrange your own partner

Minimum 2 or 3 children required

Parent & Baby lessons: You can book this space if you can ensure a minimum capacity of 2 or 3 students in the lesson

New bookings only

This space can only be offered to a new booking, as it is being sold by the client currently booked into the lesson

That’s it!  We hope this guide helps you, and the next step is to…


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