14th October 2020
More than 3,500 primary schools across England have signed up for the Daily Mile initiative. That means that over one million primary school pupils are registered to run or jog for 15 minutes each day.
The Daily Mile initiative, launched in Scotland in 2012 by head teacher Elaine Wyllie MBE, encourages children to complete a mile a day at their own pace. It places an emphasis on physical exercise as a way to help improve a child’s physical, emotional and social health, as well as their wellbeing.
According to new research by Imperial College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge looking at the uptake of the initiative in England, the scheme has been particularly popular in urban and disadvantaged areas. This means it is reaching primary schools in which levels of physical activity are lowest and rates of obesity are highest.
The popularity of the initiative’s uptake is attributed to its simplicity and adaptability. As a result, it has been adopted by schools with both high and low educational achievement, and in areas with both high and low physical activity.
Speaking about the findings, lead author of the research Tishya Venkatraman said: “Currently less than half of children and young people in the UK meet the recommendation of an average of 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
“The Daily Mile can be carried out at safe social distances, which makes it suitable for our current times.”
She continued: “It is reassuring that previously hard-to-reach groups, like those schools in deprived urban postcodes, and those with large pupil numbers, are just as likely to sign up to The Daily Mile as other schools.”
Elaine Wyllie MBE is delighted that the Daily Mile has achieved such social reach. She highlights the importance of the initiative as a way to “address the health inequality gap faced by disadvantaged children.”
Professor Sonia Saxena, senior author of the study spoke about the usefulness of the Daily Mile during the pandemic. As well as the need for pupils to get “regular classroom breaks to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” she said that the Daily Mile could help children remain healthy throughout the pandemic.
At Paragon Structures, we’re committed to finding ways to remove barriers to physical activity. We provide sporting facilities for the education sector and local communities to help create a level playing field for everyone.