It may take our new children to take a couple of weeks or so to settle into the lessons, especially if it their first ever lesson or first time away from mummy or daddy. We are very experienced in dealing with this and will always persevere and include songs and games to help the children get to know ourselves and the lessons.
If for any reason your preschool child does not settle after half a term’s lessons we can cancel your direct debit for the remaining lessons of term and look at alternative options, such as a class together.
The Direct Debit Guarantee (or the “Direct Debit Indemnity”) is the Direct Debit scheme’s customer protection. The Guarantee protects customers against payments made in error or fraudulently, making Direct Debit the UK’s safest payment method. The full text of the Direct Debit Guarantee is available below.
This guide describes the protection your customers receive, your obligations under the Direct Debit Guarantee, and how to dispute an invalid refund claim.
The Direct Debit Guarantee rules
The Direct Debit Guarantee protects customers in three ways:
- Notifications – customers must be notified in advance of each payment. Failure to follow notification requirements may result in a merchant being barred from the scheme. This is typically 10 working days before a payment is taken but a shorter notice period can be agreed. See our guide to taking payments for more details.
- Refunds – customers are entitled to a full and immediate refund of any payment that has been taken in error.
- Cancellations – customers can cancel a Direct Debit mandate at any time by contacting their bank. For more information see our guide to cancelling Direct Debit mandates.
Each of the above protections are enforced by the banks and so form an intrinsic part of the Direct Debit scheme. Refunds and cancellations are processed by the payer’s bank without prior discussion with the merchant.
We recruit and train our own teachers from scratch, offering a fully comprehensive three year training program ON TOP of the formal STA qualifications. This ensure our exceptional teaching standards across all our classes and allows us to mold our teachers to fit in perfectly within the swim school. You will likely see some of our fab trainees at the pools, assisting your classes.
All our full teachers are fully qualified and experienced, undergo a child protection course, hold full insurance and lifesaving qualifications as a minimum. Qualifications and training are updated on a regular basis.
All qualified teachers joining us undergo an integration program including an induction and shadowing to ensure they are teaching to our high standards and our classes are consistent throughout.
It is possible to take a combined teaching qualification at 16 and be “let loose” to teach unsupervised the next day. This is not only shocking to us, but also potentially dangerous and we are proud to say all our teachers are incredibly experienced before they are teaching on their own.
If you are interested in becoming a swimming teacher please do contact us!
We strongly believe that quality swimming lessons should be available to all and not just a privileged few. We think (and our swimmers do too!) that our classes are fantastic value for money and we want as many children as possible to be able to swim with us.
Our cheap prices do not mean a reduced teacher quality as all our new teachers undergo our three year training program on top of their qualifications!
Swimming is much more enjoyable for the children when they have a personal connection with their teacher and are not just a number. The children also learn to swim much more quickly compared to larger groups, further saving you money in the future when they reach higher swimming standards more quickly.
If you would like to join us for lessons please complete our online booking form and a member of our team will contact you within 1 working day to discuss your booking. If you do not hear from us within 1 working day please re-complete the form or email us as we may not have received it.
All new children joining will be assessed during their first swim. It can be quite common that the children may benefit from a slightly different group once we actually see them swim. This may mean that your time may change slightly from what is originally agreed. This is always in the best interest of your child as the groups must be the same ability in order to progress quickly.
If we have a suitable space it is possible to join part-way through a term. We do tend to recommend that children who are completely new to lessons start at the beginning of a term so they progress with their new class rather than start nearer the end when we have already covered a lot of swimming.
Lesson payments are taken by monthly direct debit via our handling system, GoCardless. All direct debit payments are protected by the direct debit guarantee.
As standard payments are taken on the 2nd of each month – if you would prefer an alternative payment date please email us to arrange this. Payments are taken from December – March for the January term, April – July for the summer term and August – November for the winter term (one month in advance). If you join us part-way through the term payments may be split over two or three months as most appropriate.
There is a one off £5 membership fee per child when joining us which reserves your space and includes a free Seahorses swimming hat.
All children are welcome to continue with us as long as they would like – we are also able to offer race technique/club preparation work including correct dives, tumble turns and finishes as well as stamina/fitness swimming. We also run lifesaving courses and will look to run waterpolo, synchro and diving courses in the near future.
As a minimum we recommend that all children can swim at least 25m frontcrawl, backstroke and breastroke as well as having completed a personal survival/lifesaving course before they think about stopping lessons.
Any items left at the pool will be collected and stored appropriately depending on the pool. If you think you have left anything at the pool please let us know as soon as possible so we can return the items to you.
At Seahorses we are an independent swim school which means we work to our own specially designed award scheme. We have own our custom designed badges, certificates and stickers and every child also receives a progress award card. Our scheme is a fully comprehensive and covers every area of swimming technique and essential skills including water safety so that every child has the opportunity to achieve and excel.
We work by continual assessment so children may achieve awards at any point throughout their swimming journey – there is no specific “badge testing week”. Once your child has completed an award you will receive a notification slip with envelope attached. If you would like to purchase the award the cost is £3.50 which must be brought to your lesson in cash in the sealed envelope. We will bring along the award to your weekly lessons for you.
To find out more about our award scheme please visit our “Awards & Badges” page under “Courses”.
All children entering the pool must wear a hat (except our Birthlight baby swimming classes). This helps keep our pools clean and safe as well as keep hair out of eyes when swimming.
Newly joining swimmers receive a free hat on their first lesson. If you need to purchase additional hats these are £4.00 each and can be purchased at the pools.
It can be very dangerous for children to become reliant on goggles and for this reason all children learn without and also have “no goggles” weeks throughout the term. Only children who have completed the “beginner” award section are permitted to wear goggles however this is not encouraged and the majority of our swimmers do not use them.
If your child has a medical condition whereby goggles are needed you will need to bring a pair of prescription goggles.
Very often we have children join us who have learnt to swim unaided elsewhere. If the children have not learnt correctly from the start they will reach a point where they are unable to progress further due to their incorrect technique. This is why we are heavily focussed on teaching correctly from the outset.
If your child has a part of their stroke which has become an incorrect habit they will need to “go back” to correct this before they can progress further. This is by no means causing them to lose their strength, stamina or ability, it is necessary in order for them to improve upon their current ability.
We are always happy to take the time to explain this to you and also about our methods – this is most easily done over the phone as there is often not time during lessons.
Our Birthlight baby and toddler classes are the only classes where parents/guardians need to come in the water with the children. Children can join a preschool class from the age of 2.5/3 years upwards, when they are ready, and these are without parents in the water..
Parents are required to stay on site during lessons in case of emergency. If for any reason you need to leave the site you must let us know and ensure we have a mobile contact number for you.
Whilst we appreciate it is very enjoyable for parents to watch their child’s lessons we ask you to be respectful of our pool rules at all times. This includes not talking to your child during the lesson as this draws attention away from the teacher and can be dangerous, as well as hinder your child’s progress. If by watching you feel your child is not reaching their potential or if we notice this we may suggest waiting in the changing room/car park during the lesson.
How long is a piece of string? This is one of our most commonly asked questions and there is no definitive answer. This will depend on many things and just like with all sports and activities all children progress at different rates. If your child is very nervous when starting lessons it will most likely take them a little longer to learn to swim unaided whilst they build their confidence.
We often find our new preschool children may take a couple of weeks or so to settle in and get to know ourselves and the lessons. It is not uncommon for the children to be tearful at first and we are very experienced in dealing with this and helping them to settle in and enjoy the classes. Perseverance is best in these cases.
Children cannot support themselves in the water in order to take repeated breaths and swim unaided until around the age of 3. As a very rough guideline we would generally expect children of school age starting lessons around 4/5 years of age who are confident in the water to take anywhere from 1-3 terms to swim a width (5m+ unaided with good technique.)
We could teach the children to get themselves from point A to B unaided quicker but would then have to spend a lot longer correcting poor technique in order for them to be able to progress any further. We often find children who have learnt elsewhere may need to take a few steps “backwards” to correct their technique before they can progress forwards. This is why we always take the time to get things right from the start.
All spaces are automatically carried forwards for the following term. If for any reason you do not wish to continue lessons the following term we require 6 weeks term time notice in writing (email is fine.) We will remind you of the notice period. Any notice received after the deadline will incur up to a 6 week fee unless we can reallocate your space sooner.
If you would like to change day or time for the following term or part way through a term please let us know as soon as possible. We will do our best to meet your request but cannot always guarantee this.
If class numbers drop to two or less children you may be reallocated to a different day or time, which we will discuss with you.
When joining us you book and pay for your space for the whole term. No refunds are given for lessons not attended for any reason including illness, holiday etc.
If you attend private lessons we will aim to arrange an alternative lesson where possible if we are notified of a lesson you are unable to attend in advance (e.g. at the beginning of the term), but please bear in mind this may not be with your normal teacher and may not always be possible as we have still booked and paid for the pool time and your teacher for the session as a block.
We operate a no refund policy. With running classes at such competitive prices and ensuring our teachers receive good rates for the fantastic lessons they deliver we are very heavily affected by cancellations. In the event of lesson cancellations we still pay our teachers their full rate for the whole session, unlike many other swim schools, as we strongly believe this is the right thing to do. This means we absorb any cancellations costs ourselves. In order to be sustainable and able to continue providing our classes we do not issue refunds for any cancelled classes.
In the unlikely event that lesson is cancelled by us, due to any reason such as pool closure or teacher illness, this lesson will be carried forward as a credit. You can use your credit during swim weeks or any other additional one off sessions during the term. You can also transfer your credit to another of your children if needed or desired (for the same lesson price). We like to ensure consistency in our classes so do not allow credit lessons during the ‘normal’ term.
Credits can be carried forward term to term, so if you are unable to attend your extra lesson during the term you can attend a lesson the following term. If you discontinue lessons you will lose the credit.
If a lesson is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions the lesson will not be credited as these matters are outside our control.