Frequently Asked Questions

We have collected the questions most often asked of us and put them into sections, please take a look through the questions and click one to see the answer...


General Questions

What is Poolside Manor?

Poolside Manor is north London’s leading independent swimming tuition and multi-activity centre.

Our services include swimming tuition, membership swimming, multi-activity day camps and holiday swimming crash courses, pool parties, lifeguard and first aid training courses, after school clubs and pilates.

Where is Poolside Manor? How can I get there?

We are located in Church End, Finchley, northwest London.

Click Here to go to our location page for a map, directions and information on how to find us.

At what temperature is the pool water maintained?

At a very comfortable 31+ degrees.

What is done to ensure the pool and its surroundings are kept clean and tidy?

Our pool systems, receptionists and lifeguards work hard on a regular basis to clean the pool water, pool hall, changing rooms and viewing gallery. We manage the quality of our water by automatically recycling with fresh water on a daily basis rather than plying the pool with excessive amounts of chlorine and other chemicals that can irritate skin and breathing disorders.

Lifeguards tidy the pool hall three times each day and clean the surfaces at least once each day. Our receptionists clean the changing rooms and viewing gallery on a half hourly basis and this is reinforced by an external cleaning company on a daily basis.

We ask customers to support us in these efforts by only making visits onto poolside when truly necessary, and by wearing pool shoe covers. We kindly ask customers to refrain from bringing push chairs into the changing rooms, to refrain from eating and drinking in the changing rooms, to ensure all clothes are stored tidily in the changing rooms; to ensure all children shower and are encouraged to use the toilet before their lesson and by complying with our policy that all swimmers must wear a swim hat.

I wish to cancel my booking; is this possible?

Our Terms and Conditions state that bookings are only made upon full payment and are non refundable and non transferable. (If you have extenuating circumstances causing you or your child to be unable to attend the activity that you have booked, please contact the Management Team to discuss transferring your booking over to the next term. This is only offered at the discretion of the Management Team).


Swimming | New Clients

At what time should I arrive with my child for their swimming lesson?

Please arrive approximately ten minutes before the scheduled start of your child’s lesson. If you are a new customer, please say hello at Reception and inform them that you are a new customer. Then go into the changing rooms to help your child get changed. Approximately five minutes before the lesson, your child should have a quick shower before coming out onto poolside and waiting on the benches provided for their teacher to call them for their lesson. If your booking is a parent and toddler lesson, you too will need to get changed and shower before coming out onto poolside.

When can I book on for swimming lessons for next term?

The date from which new clients are able to book on for next term can be found here.

How do you know which class level my child should be put into?

Unless your child is unable to swim, the simple answer is that we need more information.

Part of our drive for quality is in maximizing your child’s progress by placing them in exactly the right class based on their ability, not their age. We therefore kindly ask you to book your child in for a free, five-minute assessment involving you and your child visiting Poolside Manor for your child to demonstrate their swimming to one of our teachers. Assessments can be arranged for any day of the week so please do not hesitate to call to arrange this.

If this is not possible, our class standards correspond with the ASA National Plan for Teaching Swimming stages. If your child is joining Poolside Manor from a centre following the plan, information about the stage they last swum at and the skills they are able to perform would help us determine their class level.

Shall I book in for this term even though the term has begun, or wait to start next term?

Given that we pride ourselves in the quality of our lessons; naturally we will say more is better. Term prices are pro-rated for the number of lessons remaining at the time of booking. Some priority is given to existing clients over new clients and therefore by booking onto the current term rather than waiting until the next one, you will enjoy more priority in terms of lesson availability. Needless to say, your child will benefit from these extra lessons.

My child is a nervous non-swimmer; how will you support them? What can I do to help?

Having taught approximately 4000 children to swim each year for over twenty years, we have developed effective practices to support children for whom swimming brings extra psychological or physical challenge. Our first strategy is communicating with you, the parent, to better understand the situation. We then seek to ease your child into their class. We normally find it more helpful for parents to watch their child’s progress from the poolside viewing gallery.


Swimming | Existing Clients

When can I book on for swimming lessons for next term?

Priority is given to existing clients in rebooking. The date from which bookings can be made can be found here.

I would like to book my other child in for lessons, when can I do this?

Siblings are given priority ahead of new clients. The date from which bookings can be made can be found on our Term Dates and Prices Page.

Do you give priority to previous Crash Course attendees?

Crash course clients are given priority ahead of new clients. The date from which bookings can be made can be found on our Term Dates and Prices Page

My child is unable to swim this week, what shall I do?

Please ring to inform us once you know this is the case so we can inform their swimming teacher. We are not able to make up the lesson.

I have a list of dates when my child is unable to attend lessons, what can be done?

It is against our policy to make up missed lessons, scheduled in advance or otherwise. Please do still inform us in advance of when your child will be missing a lesson.

What does your ‘average’ ratio of swimmers to each teacher mean?

For every swimming class we host, there is one swimming teacher (except in the case of our swimming club). For every children’s and adult swimming lesson, we adhere to an average ratio of six swimmers to each teacher in each half hour session. This is not the same as the upper limit on each class, which we set as seven swimmers per teacher. The vast majority of our classes will contain no more than six swimmers, but occasionally a class may contain seven swimmers for one teacher, whilst a concurrent class may therefore contain five swimmers for a different teacher, so as to maintain our average six to one ratio across each half hour. In other words, if there are three classes running in a half hour, there will be no more than eighteen swimmers booked in in total and if there are four classes running, there will be no more than twenty-four swimmers booked in in total.

My child’s lesson was cancelled, what will be done about this?

Poolside Manor seldom has to cancel swimming lessons. This happens in the event of minor soiling of the pool by children; or in the rare cases of technical fault or teacher absence. Whilst we strive to ensure lessons are not cancelled, at Poolside Manor we are not willing to allow the quality of our service to suffer this significantly. In this event, the Management Team will contact each customer affected to inform you of our proposal for making up this lesson.

Do you offer one-on-one swimming lessons?

No. There are classes, particularly during some periods of the school day, where class numbers are significantly smaller than our six to one average ratio. Whilst we cannot guarantee such low numbers, in practice you are free to contact us and find out about our class sizes at the time of enquiry.

How do I get a progress update for my child in their swimming course?

We are happy to feed back to you the progress of your child’s swimming. Please ask at Reception or telephone to complete a Progress Report. This will be passed onto your child’s swimming teacher who will then contact you directly. Alternatively, if you request, we can relay this information to you on behalf of their swimming teacher.

Can I change the time or day of my child’s swim lesson?

This is possible but not encouraged in every case. If this is a matter of convenience for you or your child, then provided this is possible, it can be arranged. This is offered at the discretion of the Management Team.

I would like to change the teacher of my child’s swim lesson; is this possible?

This is possible but not encouraged in every case. If this is a matter of preference of one teacher over another, we would seek to address any underlying issues before offering this as a solution. Customers need to understand that a change of teacher will, in the majority of cases, only be possible by changing the time or day of your child’s lesson. This is offered at the discretion of the Management Team.

Is my child guaranteed a badge and certificate each term?

Your child will be prepared to achieve a badge and certificate in the build up to ‘Badge Week’ (click here for more information). This badge will be awarded against set criteria that will provide a stimulating and varied challenge to your child each term. That said, no swimmer is guaranteed to pass their badge and in these cases a ‘Well Done’ certificate will be awarded in place of the badge and certificate attempted.

How does your termly assessment work: when is it and what does it mean?

Assesssment week (click here for more information) is in the third from final week of each term. This allows each child good opportunity to progress with their swimming ability and us the opportunity in the weeks that follow, to set up our lesson schedule for next term. Each assessment is carried out in a matter of minutes during each child’s normal swimming lesson. Each swimmer is observed by their teacher plus a senior manager. This establishes the present ability level of the swimmer to determine if the child is ready to move to the next class level or if further time is needed to consolidate their swimming ability and confidence. Any class level change is made for the following term when booking on.

Why does my child’s teacher get or not get into the water with their class?

It is our unique policy for swimming teachers to teach from in the water with our first two levels of beginner class. This is because we feel it is extremely beneficial for such beginner swimmers to experience the support of their teacher from nearby. Our teachers are trained and experienced in doing this and wear a teaching t-shirt and swim shorts (and swim hat if necessary) to maintain a professional distance. With higher ability classes, it is left to the discretion of each teacher to decide whether to teach from the water.

I am booking for more than one child; am I entitled to a discount?

Discounts are offered for the booking of three or more children from the same family. Please see the Term Dates and Prices section for more information.

What is your policy on swim hats?

All swimmers, besides those children in parent and toddler lessons, must wear swim hats. This is part of our strategy to maintain a higher quality of pool water.


Swimming | Parent and Toddler

Between what ages are parent and toddler sessions available?

From shortly after birth, up to three years old. We recommend that children start from the age of four months for the reason explained in the question below. Child Swim Lessons (without parent/carer) are offered for those aged three and above.

My child is yet to have had all of their inoculations; can they still be booked in?

Yes they can; at your discretion. The current Health and Safety guidelines stipulate that lessons can commence before inoculations have been completed, at the discretion of the parent.

My child is under 3, can they start their swimming lessons on their own?

Unfortunately not. If your child is within 2 or 3 weeks of their third birthday when a new term starts, please contact the Management Team to discuss this.

Do you insist that babies and toddlers wear swimming hats like all other swimmers?

No. Children in these lessons are exclusive in our relaxing of this rule: all other swimmers must. Babies and toddlers must, however, wear a water nappy.

My child is unwell and is unable to attend this week; what can be done?

Poolside Manor allows parent and toddler clients to make up a lesson that has been missed through illness or holiday. This should be arranged with our receptionist and is always offered at the manager’s discretion. This only applies to parent & toddler lessons. 

I am unable to bring my child along myself this week; what can I do?

A responsible adult is allowed to bring your child on your behalf. Please give us advance notice of this where possible.

Is it possible for me to supervise my child from the poolside without getting in?

One parent or guardian must be present in the water with each child. This does require the adult to support the child in the water.

What is the advantage of booking parent and toddler sessions?

We believe strongly in the benefits of our parent and toddler lessons; namely in preparing each child for their own swimming lessons. We observe a strong correlation between the take up of parent and toddler lessons and the confidence and ability of swimmers in their own lessons aged three upwards.

Do you provide baby-changing facilities?

Yes we do.


 

Swimming | Children's Holiday Crash Courses

My child has not been to Poolside Manor before; How do I book a crash course?

In order to book your child into the right class level, we need to have as accurate an understanding as is possible of their swimming ability. If it is possible for you to bring your child in for a free, five-minute assessment then we encourage this. If this is not possible, we will ask you a series of questions to ascertain their ability. Once booked in, please arrive ten minutes before their first lesson and inform Reception that you have arrived and that you are new to Poolside Manor. Your child should get changed and have a shower and wait on poolside five minutes before the start of their lesson. Please read the Holiday Crash Courses section of the website for more information.

Can I book a half term crash course and then start term time lessons?

Yes. We will offer a pro-rata price based on the number of lessons remaining in the term. You will also enjoy full priority of being an existing client when it comes to booking on for next term. Your child will be placed into the correct class level based on their assessment on the final day of their crash course.


 

Swimming | School Swimming

How can I enquire about my childs' progress in their school swimming lessons?

We are happy to feed back to you the progress of your child’s school swimming via their school. Please telephone to complete a Progress Report. This will be passed onto your child’s swimming teacher who will then contact you directly at the time and by the means you have stated as convenient to you. Alternatively, if you request, we can relay this information to you on behalf of their swimming teacher.

My child swims with you in and out of school, how do you ensure lessons remain varied?

In most cases, your child will not be taught by the same swimming teacher in both school and non-school lessons. In these cases, communication is made between both teachers to establish which badges are being attempted each term and which strokes and skills are being covered on a lesson by lesson basis.

Do your teacher to swimmer ratios differ in the case of school swimming lessons?

Our ratio for schools is normally up to ten swimmers to one teacher; which is still favourable relative to other school swimming lesson providers. This is dependant on the number of children in the school group and their ability level.


 

Swimming | Adult Swimming | Adult Swimming Lessons

I have tried before to learn to swim; how will my chances fair at Poolside Manor?

We boast a very strong track record in our adult swimming lessons. Our low ratios, flexible bookings and option of teaching from the water all support your progress.

I have previously witnessed trauma around water; how will you be able to support me?

We benefit from the experience of having taught a significant number of adults for whom swimming has proved difficult. Our skilled and experience teachers will take the steps they feel necessary in co-operation with you. This is likely to involve teaching from in the water. Our pool also has an extended shallow end with a depth of 0.85 metres at its shallowest point. We can also advise you on which sessions have the lowest ratios and contain other beginner swimmers.

What is your ratio of swimmers to each teacher in adult lessons?

We allow for six swimmers to one teacher, on average, although in practice most classes will have between one and three swimmers in total. This does vary according to which sessions swimmers choose to attend, and this is flexible.

We strive to completely fit into your own schedule by allowing you to book your lessons for the days and times that suit you- on a lesson-by-lesson basis. You purchase 5 hours of swimming lessons to use within a 7 week period. We only ask you to book in the time and date of your first lesson when booking, and you can then inform us of your plans each week. Please see the Term Calendar for a comprehensive schedule although for a eek-by-week view of availability, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do you offer single sex classes taught by a teacher of the same sex?

No. We can inform you of the class teacher and class makeup but cannot guarantee it will remain this way.


 

Swimming | Adult Swimming | Aqua Fit

I would like to sample your aqua fit sessions; how can I go about this?

The best session to sample is a pay-as-you-go session on a Wednesday evening at 7.45pm until 8.30pm. Please inform us in advance that you will be attending.

I am in rehabilitation from an injury; how can Aqua-Fit help?

We are able to help and again offer the pay-as-you-go Wednesday evening aqua-fit session as the best solution, but there are other quieter sessions detailed in the Calendar and Schedule section. Our aqua-fit instructors are experienced and happy to support you in your rehabilitation so please do not hesitate to contact us about this.


 

Swimming | Membership Swimming

After a lapse of more than a year; do I still have to pay the one-off joining fee?

It is not our policy to waive the joining fee but if you would like to, please make your case to the Management Team. Any waived fees or discounts are offered solely at their discretion.

What do I pay if I join some way through the membership year?

The membership year runs from the 1st April until the 31st March. If you join some way through the year, as a type A member you will pay the normal initial joining fee and a pro-rata annual fee (a minimum of £20). If you register as a type B member, your joining fee and first batch of 15 tickets are not pro-rated.

Can I change my membership from one type to another (A to B or vice versa)?

If you are a new customer, we understand that it may take you some time to realise which of the two membership types is for you. If you register as a member under one type, we will allow you up to one month from the date of your registration, to switch membership types; and reimburse you or charge you any difference, after an administration charge has been paid.

If you would like to change membership type for any other reason, please speak to the Management Team and they will use their discretion in assessing the situation.

How do membership times vary during the half term and end of term holidays?

Membership session times vary somewhat during the holidays; these are available from the Downloads Page and also when you next pop in.

How busy do your typical members sessions become?

Some periods are busier than others, such as our weekend early afternoon sessions. That said, sessions seldom contain more than a handful of member swimmers at any one time.


 

Multi Activity Day Camps

My child is new to your camp; how will you deal with this?

Our camps are growing quickly and we welcome new faces each and every holiday. Your child will enjoy free play at the beginning of each day and thereafter be placed into a group with children of a similar age. Our camp leaders are trained in helping children to settle in and make friends and this is something we encourage in the ethos of our camps.

What do you mean when you state that each week is themed?

When appropriate, each week is based on a particular theme. This theme will be broad in its appeal to both genders and all age groups and personalities. It will also open up a host of possibilities in the way of themed activities and trips.

What is the ratio of children to each camp leader during activities?

The Ofsted requirement is that each camp leader is responsible for no more than eight children but Poolside Manor operates with a ratio of no more than six children to each leader. In many cases, this ratio is even lower as we understand, particularly in the case of younger children, that children can need or at least benefit from more supervision, for instance in support in getting changed for swimming etc.

I have arranged for a responsible adult to collect my child from camp; is this okay?

Yes this is okay, provided we have been informed in advance. We will not be able to allow your child to leave if we are not expecting the adult in question to pick them up; so as to keep your child safe.

Can my children, of different ages, be put into the same groups for activities?

We find that after a short while on camp the children settle into their groups and the need to be with an older or younger sibling vanishes. They are always able to make contact as they are on the same site and use the same spaces throughout the day.

Who provides the lunch for my child? What else do I need to know?

It is each parent’s responsibility to provide a balanced lunch for their child each day in a lunch box. Poolside Manor will provide tables and chairs from which the children will eat their lunch together under the supervision of our camp leaders. Any products found to contain nuts of any sort are prohibited. We remind parents of this in the Terms and Conditions upon booking and remind the children each lunchtime and at the start of the week as part of the Camp Rules.


 

Pool Parties

My child’s birthday is coming up, when should I enquire about booking their party?

Our parties are extremely popular and we therefore encourage parents to enquire about available dates far in advance to avoid disappointment.

Do all swimmers have to wear swimming hats even if they are only attending this party?

Yes, it is our policy for all swimmers to wear a swimming hat. If you do not own one, we do have a limited number of hats that can be borrowed for the occasion. Alternatively, we do have a selection from which you can choose to purchase.

How can you help my party guests to find their way to Poolside Manor?

Our party invites, sent out at the request of the party parent, contain a map, our address and a ‘how to find us’ section. Alternatively, this information can be found here on our website. Equally, our receptionist and/or party lifeguards will be on site to deal with any telephone queries.

Click here to view our How To Find Us page...

My child would like to share their party with a friend; are joint parties possible?

Yes this is possible. This is available at the same price and allows the same total number of guests to be invited.

Do you provide party food?

No. We do provide clean tables and chairs from which to eat and clean surface space from which to serve food. Our party lifeguards will also assist in the serving and tidying away of food. We can provide telephone numbers of local fast food takeaways to deliver. This is often the popular choice for busy parents.

Do I have to provide my own table decorations?

Yes. Tables and chairs are provided but table covers and cutlery must be provided by the party parents.

Do you provide any entertainment after the swimming and food?

Games are led by our party lifeguard entertainers in our activity room. These games could be anything selected from our huge catalogue of games and can be accompanied by a DVD player, our own party music and surround sound. Alternatively, we are happy to listen to requests. In the event that yours is the last party in the day, our party lifeguards may offer the party parents the option of extending the ‘wet’ side of the party by a little, but this does mean allowing less time for ‘dry’ games after food has been eaten.

Is it possible for me to hire a separate entertainer for the ‘dry’ part of the party?

We are happy to hear your ideas for separate entertainers, but these must be agreed by the Management Team and the normal party price will be charged. We consider this as extra money that you do not need to spend.

Do we have the building to ourselves during our party?

There is a period of time during which both parties ‘overlap’. Typically as the first party is eating their food and then enjoying their ‘dry’ games, the second party will be arriving, getting changed and then enjoy their ‘wet’ session. During this time, some seating and surface space will be afforded to the second party as they watch their children swimming and prepare their food. Please remember that the party is for the children and they will have their own space to enjoy the party. We politely discourage many adults from attending parties for this reason.


 

Lifeguard and First Aid Training Courses

How can I find out when your next lifeguard and first aid courses are running?

The latest flyer is available from our Downloads Page.

How do I book a lifeguard or first aid course at my own site or for multiple people?

We are happy to take bookings for more than one person. If you are interested in booking a course to be held at your own site, please contact us.

I am not sure if I pass all of the fitness criteria; what shall I do?

First of all, please contact us to ask us any questions you may have. If this does not provide an answer, feel free to arrange a time to come in and swim during our members session, free of charge, to help see if you are eligible.

What does the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification entitle those successful to do?

The NPLQ is the industry standard lifeguard qualification that allows those who pass to work as a lifeguard at any swimming pool in the UK. This qualification lasts for two years from the date of certification, before it must be revalidated.

What does your cash-back option mean?

Poolside Manor sometimes recruits lifeguards off the back of those we train in our own NPLQ courses. These recruits will have experienced our standard application process. A cash back option is an incentive we sometimes use to offer a rebate on the cost of the course to those who go onto work for Poolside Manor regularly over more than one term. This is only offered at the discretion of the Management team and can vary between £50 and £100.

What do the First Aid at Work and Paediatric First Aid qualifications entitle holders to do?

Both qualifications are well respected in the workplace and allow you to become a designated First Aider in your workplace, which can help to raise your wage in return.

This is something to check with your employer. Both qualifications also offer essential life saving skills for a variety of everyday situations.


 

After School Clubs

Where is your after- school club based?

At St. Mary’s CofE Primary School, Dollis Park, Church End, Finchley. St. Mary’s is based a matter of minutes from Poolside Manor.

When is the club offered?

The club is offered every day afterschool during term time from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

For more information, see the Calendar and Schedule Page.

Is the club exclusive to children who attend St. Mary’s Primary School, Finchley?

The vast majority of those who attend are St. Mary’s pupils, but it is not exclusive to St. Mary’s. Please contact us to discuss this.


 

Pilates

I would like to sample your pilates session; how can I go about this?

Feel free to book in to sample our Monday session from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, for the cost of one lesson. Please inform us in advance that you will be attending.


 

Careers at Poolside Manor

I am interested in applying for work at Poolside Manor, how old do I have to be?

Applicants need to be aged 16 or over to commence work with us. We do welcome applications from those aged under 16 who are looking to commence work on turning 16 or those looking for work experience in the different roles we offer.

Is there a limit on the number of job roles I can apply for?

No, we welcome applications for multiple positions as this shows a sense of commitment and teamwork to the company.

Where do I find out what vacancies are available?

Poolside Manor is constantly on the lookout for new staff and as such we do not post specific vacancies to our website or set application deadlines.

The list of roles we are looking to fill on a continuous basis can be found by Clicking Here.

I have read the Careers section and would like to apply, what do I do next?

You need to submit your CV and completed application form to us by post or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The application form can be downloaded from our Downloads Page.

For guidance on how to structure your CV, please see the How to Apply tab on our Careers Page.

I have applied for work at Poolside Manor, how long will it be before I hear from you?

Once we have received your CV and application form, we will make contact within five working days. If we invite you for an interview, you will again hear within five working days as to the outcome of your application, with feedback.


 

Click Here. for timetables & costs at our 'Course Dates & Prices' page.

If we have not answered your question here please call us, or use our contact form to send us an email, and we will do our very best to provide an answer as quickly as possible.

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