The ASA | PR & Communications Research


The ASA wanted to map – on an unprecedented scale – the reality of school swimming as it stood at the time and use the insight garnered to learn lessons and help to safeguard its future. The ASA sought to deliver a PR campaign to reveal the results of their school census in order to instigate change, raise awareness of the ASA and discover parents’ attitudes towards childrens swimming education.


By showcasing the standard of swimming in the UK via broadcast and a PR campaign the ASA sought to reach 3 target audiences with separate calls to action:

  • The Government to have school swimming included in the curriculum and Ofsted to inspect standards in teaching
  • Parents to support childrens’ swimming education
  • Schools to make swimming a priority in their PE programmes

In order to achieve this the ASA undertook the largest ever school Census, speaking to over 3,500 schools in England to find out the standard of school swimming from the schools’ perspective, with Opinion Matters devising and implementing the additional research to contribute further insight to the results targeting the parents. Opinion Matters then worked with the ASA to draw out the key themes from the research, develop the content which formed the basis of the communication campaign and help drive messaging to the government, parents and teachers.


The research was collated into a report which received cross-party support at a Westminster reception with Shadow Health Secretary and the Department for Education calling on schools to fulfil their duty of teaching children to swim. One example of positive change was Hertfordshire County Council who overhauled their school swimming programme in response to the findings and campaign. Pool operators reported uplift in the number of swimming lesson enquiries for both adults and children.

Media pick up was extensive including BBC Breakfast, Sky News, ITV News, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 6 o’clock news, Mail Online, Independent with 69 different items of coverage on the day of the report’s release. An overall coverage total of 191 items of radio, 11 items of TV and 16 items of online. 1,229 unique visitors accessed ASA school swimming pages on the day the PR campaign was launched (previous day was 73) and the video, which revealed the results of the research, had 9,609 views online across 9 days.