National Pool Lifeguard Qualification 8th Edition

NPLQ  8th Edition

The National Pool Lifeguard qualification (NPLQ) will be changing its format from May 2012. It will have a new and improved manual and course structure.

To Note: If you are booked into a course do not worry, when you are due to renew you will receive the updated course.

Why Change?

Back in the summer of 2009, after significant anecdotal evidence from Trainers and Approved Training Centres (ATCs) we began to scope out a project to first determine whether the feedback we were receiving warranted a change to the NPLQ or its delivery. We completed research into international qualifications, reviewing their syllabi, training methods, and discussions with leading international experts from within the lifeguarding fraternity, and where available, to look at any research which might aid the process.

Early in 2010 we issued a survey to all of our Trainer-Assessors. The survey asked TAs questions around the delivery of the NPLQ, what works, what doesn’t work, what’s useful, what’s not. What TAs would like to see included and what they would like to see excluded and so on. The results of which were incredibly helpful and insightful. In addition we analysed the feedback received at River House.

Pulling this research together was our starting point for development. At the same time we also pulled together a NPLQ  8th Edition Programme Board, whose remit at this point was to support us in the review and then to collectively determine the need for change, or not. The programme board needed to be representative of all factions touching the NPLQ. We set out a group remit and methodology and invited a small number of representatives to assist, comprising: NTA, TA, NPLQ holder, ATC, First Aid tutor, a paramedic, a pool manager, a group lifeguard manager, Health & Safety consultant, leisure operations consultant, our chief medical advisor Dr Handley and the technical team from IQL UK.

Once we’d pulled all of these data and discussion together it was clearly evident and unanimously agreed that the NPLQ, at the very least, needed updating and in many areas needed additional elements to address the needs of TAs and ATCs. Therefore a new project scope was developed and as a delicate step by step approach was then adopted to create the NPLQ 8th Edition

When embarking on a project of this magnitude and importance it is absolutely essential that research and consultation is at the centre of all changes or the decision making processes and is fundamental to the entire project meeting both the needs of the leisure industry and to our training workforce.                                                                                                                                                                     

What is changing?                                                                                                                                               

The Qualification :  Whilst there remain a large number of subject headings from the NPLQ 7th Edition (first revision), all of the content has been re-written, re-structured and indeed new content added.                                                                                                                 

Change of Emphasis :  NPLQ 8th Edition has ensured that the structure of the new qualification follows a route which the lifeguard may typically take once completed the lifeguard qualification. The content of the NPLQ 8th Edition will be delivered, as much as possible, so that the learner can see the reality of the lifeguard role on the course thus allowing them to practically apply their knowledge in the working environment. The emphasis of the NPLQ 8th Edition is focused on early intervention.                                                             

Contents of the Lifeguard Manual :

bullet Section 1 – The Lifeguard, Swimming Pool and Supervision
bullet Section 2 – Intervention and Rescue
bullet Section 3 – CPR and First Aid
bullet Section 4 – Application of Health & Safety Law, PSOP, Induction and CPD
bullet Section 5 – AED*
bullet *Section 5 is an optional bolt on to the main syllabus, Sections 1-4.
Key Changes.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Throughout you may recognize some text but it may be simplified, language and style changes, more emphasis, detail or an addition.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
The content of Unit 1 and Unit 2 are combined together within the manual giving a complete candidate learning resource and enabling an improved and seamless delivery of the content by the trainer.

Examples of content changes are:-

bullet Accountability
bullet Maintaining standards
bullet Customer perception
bullet Maintaining concentration
bullet Stroke

Removal of the following from the syllabus:-

bullet Bear Hug
bullet Treatment of Crush injuries  

The Delivery of the Qualification 

If there is one aspect of the new qualification which has been at the forefront of our minds and an absolute priority in getting this right it has been our attention to TA resources. Based on our research and the analysis undertaken over the last few years, if there is one common theme that jumps out at us regularly it is that of ‘the consistency of the delivery of the NPLQ’.So when TAs update in 2012 they will be issued a pack of resources to support the delivery of the 8thEdition. This pack will include, the new candidate manual, a new and much improved master programme, PowerPoint™ presentation in the delivery of the full syllabus of the 8th Edition, lesson plans and schemes of work. All neatly packaged up in a DVD/CD for TAs to use immediately once they have been updated.  

The Master Programme and Delivery Slides  
Currently the Lifeguard manual does not mirror the flow of the Master Programme. To improve the flow of the NPLQ course, the new Master Programme and the TA delivery slides that accompany it now mirror the new Lifeguard manual. All three documents now follow the same sequence to ensure greater learner experience and ease of delivery for the TA.

The PowerPoint™ delivery slides supporting the Master Programme ensure the consistent delivery of the qualification. They include interactive learning materials through the use of video and e-environments and there has been significant improvement to the pictures throughout the delivery slides, Master Programme and the Lifeguard manual.                                                                                               

What has not changed?                                                                                                                                      

The Approved Training Centre scheme has not changed and candidates will still be assessed by an external independent assessor to achieve the qualification.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

When will it happen?                                                                                                                      

 Timescales for Delivering the NPLQ 8th Edition: Following the introduction to NPLQ 8th Edition at Leisure Industry Week we will be finalising the content, editing, approving and printing the manual in time for January 2012.  Pilot courses were delivered in October 2011 and November 2011. In January 2012 we will be updating 30 NTAs on a two-day course that will include a one day NPLQ 8th Edition update and NTA briefing and a one day training course that will qualify the NTAs to deliver AED.

From February 2012 we will be running 24 TA updates on the NPLQ 8th Edition across Ireland and the UK. These will be led by Alex Blackwell (National Pool Programme Manager) and Tara Dillon (IQL UK Executive Director). Venues have been identified at which to deliver these updates. It is expected that the venues will hold a minimum of 100 people and will have a maximum capacity of 200.

These venues will be spread around  both the UK and Ireland and updates run on a rotating basis to allow as much access as possible for the TAs. All information about the 8th Edition TA updates will be posted on our website. You can attend at any update, not necessarily the one nearest to you. There will be one update per week for 24 weeks.

From February 2012 – throughout the year we will be running a number of one-day AED updates across the country and these will be led by the NTAs that have been trained to deliver this.If TAs want to deliver the AED bolt-on section of the NPLQ 8th Edition they will be required to attend this one day update seminar even if you are already an RLSS AED trainer.

The venues for the AED training will be spread around the UK and Ireland on a rotating basis to allow as much access as possible for the TAs. Delivery of the NPLQ 8th Edition will commence from February 2012 once the first batches of TAs have been trained to deliver the syllabus.

TAs that have not been updated will be able to continue delivering the NPLQ 7th Edition (first revision) until December 2012. Therefore the NPLQ 7th Edition (first revision) and the NPLQ 8th Edition will be running in tandem for this period of time.

No further NPLQ 7th Edition (first revision) courses will be permitted to run from the 31st December 2012.

If TAs do not attend a NPLQ 8th Edition update they will not be permitted to deliver the NPLQ 8th Edition.

NPLQ  8th Edition Updates in Ireland For Trainer/Assessors have been arranged as follows –


Friday 16th. March Lisburn Co. Antrim


Wednesday  2nd. May Portlaoise, Co. Laois