Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides information about teaching Aquatics in primary and second-level schools in Ireland. Aquatics is now a strand of the Physical Education programme in all schools. Irish Water Safety is working to provide resources and training for teachers involved in delivering the Aquatics curriculum.

What is the difference between Land PAWS and PAWS?
Land PAWS is land-based and focuses on water safety theory and land-based skills. PAWS introduces aquatics – water safety and swimming to children. Land PAWS can be taught in the classroom whereas PAWS is taught in water.

Can Swim Ireland / STA swim teachers teach PAWS?
Yes. Preferably, they will have completed an assimilation course.

Where can I do a PAWS assimilation course?
Contact the Education Development Officer [email protected] to find out if there is a course running in your area. Or fill out the PAWS Provider Award Application Form.

Who can examine PAWS?
Land PAWS can be examined by; Primary School Teachers (or Trainees), IWS Instructors and Examiners and Swim Ireland/STA Swim Teachers once they have completed the PAWS Provider Award.
PAWS can be examined by IWS instructors and Examiners and Swim Ireland/STA Swim Teachers who have completed the PAWS Provider Award.

How does a Primary Teacher apply for PAWS certificates?
A complete Exam Return Form (Exam Return Form) should be sent to PAWS, Irish Water Safety, The Long Walk, Galway. This form should include the number of certificates requires, name and address of the school and signatures of the Examiner and Teacher.

How do we give awards to special needs children?
Children with special needs should receive the same award with the skills/tasks that they have completed written onto the certificate under the child’s name.

How do Primary Teachers / trainee Primary Teachers qualify with Aquatics Organiser / Aquatics Assistant awards?
These awards are taught during the Primary Teachers’ Aquatics In-Service courses which are run nationally each July and August. They are also taught through many of the Teacher Training colleges.

Can Irish Water Safety instructors and examiners qualify with Aquatics Organiser / Aquatics Assistant awards?
Only those people who are Primary Teachers or trainee Primary Teachers can qualify with these awards.

How do swimming pools get involved in providing PAWS?
Swimming pool management who have been providing swimming classes through Primary Schools can teach these classes using PAWS syllabus.

Where can I find out about the Land PAWS and PAWS syllabus?
The syllabus is available to download online - Paws Syllabus.

Who pays expenses for examiners and instructors?
Local Area Committees.

Can students going to school swimming after school (e.g. with Parents’ Association) complete the PAWS programme?
No. This programme is based on the Primary Schools’ Aquatics curriculum. Teachers must be involved for PAWS to be covered.

Can students going to school swimming as part of a Water Safety week during school term participate in the PAWS programme?
If Primary Teachers are involved, then the PAWS programme can be covered.


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