MOTIVATED: Gympie swim teacher Leonora Cox says learning to swim is as important as Maths.
MOTIVATED: Gympie swim teacher Leonora Cox says learning to swim is as important as Maths. Tom Daunt

Teacher: If kids don't learn to swim they can die

GYMPIE swim teacher Leonora Cox has spent her life teaching children from Victoria and Queensland how to survive in the water

She has operated in primary schools and privately and said swimming is a life skill that is just as important as maths.

So she can't understand why so many school aged children in Queensland, can't look after themselves in the water.

Ms Cox is supporting The Gympie Times Save Our Schookids campaign which is calling for compulsory, water saving lessons in Queensland primary schools.

"Maths and English are really important but some people are only going to use it to a certain level,” Ms Cox said.

"Swimming is just as important because if kids don't learn to swim they can die; whether they are swimming as little kids or when they get older and they are teenagers and it is all the rage to go jumping in the river.

"If you have a look at the statistics you can see where the highest levels of drowning are, so it's about surviving.” she said.

Ms Cox grew up in Victoria where swimming was part of the school curriculum.

She said every student received at least ten lessons per year.

"That wasn't enough, but it is a start and at least you can help them (students) with not panicking in the water, getting a bit of confidence and treading water,” Ms Cox said.

Our S.O.S campaign has heard from a number of experts including the Australian Water Safety Council and Surf Life Saving Queensland.

Experts say while many Queensland schools offer some form of swimming development, it is not benchmarked or compulsory with thousands of children slipping between the cracks.

That is not good enough according Ms Cox.

"Every kid has to have some basic water safety ability,” she said.

"Every person has got to be able to at least float or tread water or something and be able to call for help.

"We live in the water, in Queensland especially.

"I came up from Victoria thinking the standard of swimming in Queensland would be so much better.

"I was quite surprised that there were more kids here that couldn't swim than in Victoria,” she said.