Swim Academy

Swim Academy

The Caterham School Swimming Academy was established in September 2016 with the ambition of creating a regional centre of excellence for swimming. It is open to young swimmers from across the community. 

By providing expert swimming tuition to pupils from aged 3 to 18, the Academy aims to create a clear pathway from a child’s first entry into the water to becoming an elite level swimmer. 

This is achieved in two different ways;

(1) by offering Caterham Preparatory School and Caterham Senior School pupils first class swimming coaching in their timetabled lessons and extra-curricular sessions (which happen before school, at lunchtime and after school)

(2) by offering out of school swimming lessons to Caterham pupils and to children from the wider community.

All aspects of the Swimming Academy are led by Barry Tonks.

Barry has over 20 years of swim teaching and coaching experience and swimming is his biggest passion. Most recently he was the Head of Academy for a competitive swim club alongside teaching pre-prep & prep students at Lambrook school. Through his years of coaching Barry has taught a wide variety of ages as well as abilities and backgrounds and prides himself on adapting and tweaking techniques & approaches to motivate and get the very best from the swimmers.

Barrys background started in competitive swimming aged 4. He swam at regional level and gained 6 inter-county wins and 1 international award. Gaining his first Level 1 qualification in swim coaching & lifeguarding aged 17 and has now achieved Level 2 Coaching & Teaching Swimming and Level 3 for Swim Coordinating.


autumn term 2023

The swim school returns w/c 10 September and our lessons are open to children aged 3+. We believe learning to swim is an essential life skill which should be available to everyone so we are proud to offer our lessons to all children from the local area (not just Caterham School)

Our brand new extension will be completed in time for the first lessons and you will be able to enjoy some refreshments in our new cafe while your child swims! 

If you are interested in enrolling your child in the swim school, please complete the application form in the ‘downloads’ section and forward to the Swim Academy Manager at [email protected]


Swim School Lessons

Sunday Swim School

Our Sunday Swim School classes are aimed at learning and developing the basic movement skills of our swimmers with the main focus of having fun whilst being safe. We work with small class sizes typically 1:6. Having small classes means we can give each child the individual attention they need and can work to their specific ability levels. At the end of each term all children will be awarded either a progress badge or a new swim stage badge.

Our classes run for 30 minutes between the hours of 8.45am-11.45am. At any one time slot we run three ability classes:

Ducklings (Stages 1-4)– We encourage swimmers to to move more independently, learning the very basics of arm and leg movements. 

Dolphins (Learn to Swim stages 1-4) – Swimmers will learn to swim independently using flotation aids and progress towards swimming unaided. 

Sharks (Learn to Swim stages 5-8) – Now swimming unaided, swimmers will master the basic stroke patterns of all 4 strokes. 


Weekday Swim School 

Our weekday swim schools continue the development of our swimmers from our Sunday classes and work on stroke technique building up to lengths lessons. 

Children in our weekday Swim School are all apart of the Swim England Learn to Swim framework. Classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays between 4.00-6.00pm. 

4.00-6.00pm: Dolphins, Ducklings and Sharks (All abilities)

4.00-6.00pm: Dolphins, Ducklings and Sharks (All abilities)


Holiday Courses

During school holidays the Academy holds a range of different swimming courses for all ages and abilities, all of which can be found in our ‘Swimming Academy Booklet’. These include:

  • Crash Courses – group and one to one swimming lessons are available for any age and ability. 
  • Swimming Camps for club & regional level swimmers – three to five day courses which involve two swimming sessions per day, land training and swimming analysis
  • For further details on our Holiday Swim Courses, please click here



Payments can be made via your Caterham School Wisepay account. All lessons will appear under the ‘Clubs & Activities’ tab on the homepage. 

If you do not have a Caterham School Wisepay account, please click on the image below to set one up. 

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