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Swimming lesson terms and conditions

Aqualearn/Time to Swim is a journey that takes babies, tots and kids from non-swimmers to youngsters who are confident and safe in the water.

Our swimming lessons programme is based on Swim England's Learn to Swim Pathway and follows seven stages. By the end, youngsters will have mastered all four swimming strokes, developed stamina and have basic water and personal safety skills.


Please make sure you wash your hands and shower before using our pools. If your child has been unwell, particularly with a tummy bug, please don't use the pool for at least 48 hours. If they have been diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis they should not use swimming pools for 14 days after symptoms have resolved. If your child feels unwell during their lesson they should alert the swimming teacher. 

Continuous programme

We understand that every child is an individual; our continuous programme means that children will progress through the programme at their own pace. There are no set enrolment or re-enrolment periods.

We have introduced a full swimming development pathway to ensure your child receives progression steps from birth through to adult. Your child can achieve  awards along the way to reflect their success at each step.

We recognise that children learn and develop skills through play. Our teachers receive continuous training to deliver effective and enjoyable lessons using imaginative games and aqua-equipment. Fun is at the heart of what we do.


Your child can achieve awards along their swimmer's journey to reflect their success at each step.

Membership benefits

By joining our swimming lesson programme you gain access to a number of benefits including:

  • one lesson per week (subject to lesson cancellations/bank holidays)
  • a minimum of 45 lessons per year (includes removal of bank holidays, galas and emergency pool closures), subject to lesson cancellations
  • a welcome pack that includes a Learn to Swim programme progress card
  • a continuous programme with progressive development
  • a direct debit monthly payment option available from only £19 per month (£23 per month at Peterlee Leisure Centre)
  • the Aqualearn/Time to Swim pathway is based on the Swim England's Swimmer's Journey
  • a range of awards recognise achievements and progress
  • unlimited access to general and family swimming sessions (does not include fun sessions) in all of the following leisure centre pools:
  1. Chester-le-Street Leisure Centre
  2. Consett Leisure Centre
  3. Freeman's Quay Leisure Centre (Durham City)
  4. The Louisa Centre (Stanley)
  5. Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre
  6. Peterlee Leisure Centre
  7. Spennymoor Leisure Centre
  8. Teesdale Leisure Centre (Barnard Castle)
  9. Wolsingham
  10. Woodhouse Close Leisure Complex (Bishop Auckland)

Swimming lesson members

By joining the swimming lesson programme you are entitled to go into any general swimming session in any of the 10 pools for free. Any accompanying adult must pay the applicable entry fees. Exception applies to carers or parents who are carers of those children eligible for free swimming. Up to two carers are allowed at any one time. Only people with a carer's card will get in for free, those without a card must pay admission fee.

  • applicable to general swim sessions only
  • splash tots sessions are excluded
  • can only be used at our 10 swimming pools
  • not transferable
  • admissions policy applies
  • value cannot be discounted from any other product (ie parties, family swim tickets etc)

Private swimming lessons

If you would like to top up your swimming skills or maybe improve one of your swimming strokes then there are private lessons on offer. If you are interested in private lessons, please enquire at your local leisure centre. Please note that not all of our leisure centres are able to offer private lessons. 

Should you wish to cancel a lesson, 24 hours' notice must be given and we will be happy to rearrange to a more suitable time. Cancellations without 24 hours' notice will not be rearranged or refunded.

If we have to cancel the lessons then a rearrangement will occur.

Cancellation of lessons

If lessons have to be cancelled due to lack of swimming teachers and/or planned pool maintenance a refund will be given. If however, the pool has to close due to circumstances outside of our control such as emergency back washes and power cuts, then as long as the member has a minimum of 45 lessons per year then no refund will be given. Please make sure you give correct contact details in case we need to contact you about a cancelled lesson.


Due to the various financial regulations which we must comply, under the terms and conditions of your swimming lesson membership, we will aim to reimburse you by amending one of your next available scheduled payments.

Quarterly cash payers/Blocks of 10

If you currently pay for your membership by quarterly cash then we will amend your next scheduled quarterly payment by the due amount or no credit will be taken off your account for swimming lessons.

Monthly direct debit payers

If you currently pay for your membership by direct debit then the following will apply to you in terms of processing your refund;

  • If the refund relates to a cancellation between the 1st and the 15th of any given month, we will amend your next scheduled collection to account for the value of any due refund.
  • Where the refund relates to a cancellation after the 15th and up to the end of any given month, we will amend your next subsequent collection to account for the value of any due refund.

Changes to teachers

If a lesson needs to be covered by an alternative teacher due to unexpected illness, it is most unlikely that we will be able to give all customers notice of this change. If, there will be a permanent change to the teacher of the lesson we will notify you. 

Bank holidays

The swimming lesson programme is continuous and your child's lessons may on occasion be due to take place on bank holidays. To take away the inconvenience of bank holiday refunds we have removed all bank holidays from the price in advance. This means that you don't have to worry about bank holiday refunds regardless of which day your child's lessons land on.

The swimming lesson programme breaks between Christmas and New Year for two weeks, these weeks have also been removed from the price in advance along with any scheduled swimming club galas.

Most children progress at different rates and it is more than likely that they will change their times and days of the swimming lessons throughout their journey.

Swimming lesson membership terms and conditions

  1. The membership package is subject to the rules and regulations of the participating centres. The management team reserves the right to refuse membership.
  2. Membership is personal to the member and is non-assignable, non-transferable and non-refundable.
  3. To ensure safe access for customers, adult members over the age of 16 years are required to have a digital photograph taken at reception which will be held on our system for security reasons. Any child under the age of 16 will not be required to have a photograph taken. All relevant membership details will be recorded on the Leisure Management System.
  4. Members will be issued with a thrive card which will remain the property of the Council. This thrive card must be produced to gain access to the facilities at all times. Failure to produce the thrive card will prohibit access. A member may not loan his/her thrive card or permit it to be used by anyone else. If a thrive card is lost or mislaid, the management team will issue a replacement card for a reasonable charge.
  5. Quarterly cash payers/direct debit membership entitles a member to use of the facilities specified above during centre opening hours.
  6. Anyone wishing to use the swimming pools must familiarise themselves with the pool rules for swimmers and inform pool lifeguards if there is any information relating to the safe use of the pool which might assist in managing the safety of all pool users prior to use.
  7. Under 18s:
    1. Membership is available to individuals of any age; however payment by direct debit mandates can only be accepted from an account holder over the age of 18 years.
    2. The agreement to pay is with the person who gives consent to the membership. This must be the same person who makes the payment in full or initial payment and subsequent payments. It will be the person over 18 who signs these terms and conditions and paying the membership fee who will be responsible for any breach of these terms and conditions.
  8. The management team reserves the right to introduce additional categories of membership from time to time.
  9. The Council reserve the right to vary the terms and conditions from time to time. Any changes to the terms and conditions shall be posted at reception which will constitute due notice of all changes.
  10. As a thrive card holder, from time to time we may contact you with details of promotions and special offers along with other information we think may interest you across the range of Culture and Sport Services.

Swimming lesson payment terms and conditions non-contract membership

Principle terms

This agreement commences once both parties have signed/read and confirmed via the waiting list form.

Your membership starts on the day the membership payment is made.

You will be entitled to all right and privileges exercisable for the type of membership chosen. You cannot transfer this agreement to anyone else subject to the fair cancellation policy.

Fees and charges (non-contract direct debit)

  1. All members shall pay an advance payment upon becoming a member. For the non-contract direct debit memberships, this payment covers use of the facilities until the first direct debit payment is made and therefore the amount of initial pro-rata payment is variable in accordance with the date of joining.
  2. The initial payment is due and payable immediately on execution of the agreement and is not refundable, other than in the event of breach or negligence by us or on the valid exercise of your statutory cancellation rights.
  3. All monthly membership payments shall be paid by direct debit and are payable monthly in advance.
  4. If there are any changes to the amount, date, or frequency of your direct debit payments, we will notify you 14 days in advance of any of these changes.
  5. Any changes to the customer's details must be provided to avoid any delays with direct debit collections.
  6. All quarterly cash payments will be paid in advance and start from the day of joining.
  7. If you fail to pay any monies due under this agreement or if any direct debit is returned unpaid or any cheque is returned unpaid or if any other form of payment is not honoured for whatever reason your member benefits and access rights to facilities will be withdrawn.

Unpaid sales

  1. We reserve the right to suspend access to the activity if payments are not made as agreed in this payment plan.
  2. If a quarterly payment is not made on time or a direct debit payment fails and the account is not brought back up to date within seven days, then we will class this as non-payment. This could result in you being removed from the programme. To avoid confusion and disappointment, please make sure payment is made as soon as possible, as we will not be able to teach anyone that is no longer registered
  3. You agree to advise us promptly of any change to the member details provided.

Other issues

  1. Monthly membership fees may be increased subject to 30 days' notice, at our discretion.
  2. For the avoidance of any doubt, any member who re-joins the centre following any previous period or periods of membership shall pay any debt left on the account plus any new pro rata payments.
  3. For members under 18 (third party payer) - the agreement to pay is with the person who gives consent to the membership. This must be the same person who makes the payment in full or initial payment and subsequent Direct Debit / quarterly cash payments. It will be the person over 18 who signs these terms and conditions and paying the membership fee who will be responsible for any breach of these terms and conditions.

Swimming lesson membership renewal

The membership continues as a rolling monthly direct debit or quarterly cash payment until cancelled by either party as per cancellation section below.


Temporary illness or injury: this agreement may be frozen in the event of a temporary illness, injury or medical condition which, in the written opinion of a doctor or other suitably qualified medical practitioner, prohibits exercise for a period of time. This should be submitted inside 30 days of the situation arising. Minimum time period applies of one month and maximum of three months. We do not accept one, two or three week sick notes.


If you go away on holiday you are expected to pay for the lessons to keep your space on the programme. You are entitled to cancel your space but you will then have to enrol back onto the programme and this could result in having to go onto a waiting list.


There is no hard copied information distributed to customers for any reason. Customers need to provide an email address to enable the receipt of Time to swim pathway communication.

Only customers who have provided an email address will receive communication via the automated email service for payment reminders, session cancellations, class movement notification and award achievements.

Fair cancellation

There is no minimum number of monthly or quarterly payments required. If you wish to cancel your membership this can be done in writing or via email giving us notice. If we receive this between the 1st and the 20th of the month then there will be no more payments and membership will expire at the end of the month. If we receive notice between the 21st till the 31st of the month, your next/last payment will be taken out at the beginning of the following month and you will have another month of membership. Block bookings will run out if no top up payments are made however, you will have to give 28 days' notice in order to arrange any owed payments on their account.

Contact us
03000 262 222
Our address is:
  • Culture and Sport
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL