The Daily Mile at Marden Vale Academy
Since September 2017, the pupils of Marden Vale Academy have been participating in the Daily Mile initiative. As part of our ‘Healthy Schools’ programme, we decided it was time to get fit and become more physically active.
According to a recent study ‘How active are our children?’ (from the Millenium Cohort study), only half of 7-year-old children in the UK achieve recommended levels of physical activity. The health benefits of a physically active lifestyle are well documented and there is a large amount of evidence to suggest that regular physical activity can help to prevent and treat many different conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It also supports children’s mental health and wellbeing, and can improve academic attainment.
What is the Daily Mile?
The Daily Mile is easy to implement and fun to do. Each day, the children complete a Daily Mile – running or walking around the perimeter of the playground, depending on individual fitness levels. The children enjoy it
and participate happily. It is a sustainable initiative, happening all year round, and takes place in a safe, risk-assessed school environment. It’s not a race or a competition so there is no sense of failure, and being 100% inclusive, no-one is left behind, thus ensuring every child succeeds.
What has been the impact of this initiative?
Children enjoy it – having fun, in the fresh air with friends, they say it gives them a sense of freedom. Some teachers have reported that it has improved focus, concentration and behaviour within the classroom. It embeds daily physical activity into our ‘Healthy School’ approach and helps us meet the recommendations for daily physical activity outlined by the UK Government, the Chief Medical Officer and others. The older children are more aware of their health and their need to take responsibility for it, and it provides a sense of satisfaction and happiness. As well as this, it is highly beneficial for some of our emotionally vulnerable pupils as they see it as a time to talk. When walking around with a grown-up, the children feel more relaxed and free to talk, so they are able to discuss their feelings and things that are bothering them.
What the Professionals say:
“Physically active children and young people perform better academically than their inactive peers - those who are most active benefit the most.”
Dr Richard Bailey, International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education
“I believe that the Daily Mile will have a huge impact on Young people’s lives, helping children across the UK to be fitter, happier and healthier.”
Colin Jackson, Olympic Medallist
What some of our pupils say:
“I like completing the Daily Mile because it energises me so I’m ready for learning!” (Year 6)
“I like it because I can compete against myself and my friends - I try to do more laps each time.” (Year 6)
“I like the Daily Mile because it helps me get fit – it gives me more energy and makes me strong.” (Year 1/2)
“Doing the Mile daily helps us with our learning because when we get back in, we are ready to get on with it.” (Nurture Room)
“It’s good because we get to exercise every day!” (Nurture Room)