Gloucestershire primary school pupils challenged to “trot” around Europe

Primary schools across Gloucestershire are being asked to encourage children to walk, jog or run a mile every day at school under The Daily Mile initiative.

The Daily Mile has a very simple aim, which is to improve children’s health and wellbeing by being active with their friends outside in the fresh air each day at school.

The initiative was introduced in Stirling in 2012, and despite rising obesity rates across the UK, the school reported that it transformed the health of its pupils.

Thanks to funding from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Gloucestershire, the scheme is being offered to the county’s primary schools.

Active Gloucestershire is leading the roll out of the initiative, whereby schools are challenged to collectively “trot” around Europe by the end of the summer term. Children can do this by going on an educational journey with School Games mascot ‘Old Spot’ on his ‘European trot’.

With childhood obesity rates rising, encouraging physical activity at an early age is important, and research has shown that children who are overweight in primary school are less likely to revert to a healthy weight in later life.

Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair at the CCG, said:

“The Daily Mile is a great initiative, and I wholeheartedly encourage primary schools to participate.

Running or walking a mile each day not only offers physical and mental health benefits, but is also great fun for both children and teachers.

Children’s lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary in recent years, and this takes its toll on their physical and mental wellbeing.

The Daily Mile is a simple, accessible and enjoyable initiative which provides massive public health benefits and protects the future health of the county’s young people.

We are pleased to be working with health partners to introduce this initiative across Gloucestershire.”

The scheme is easy to implement and is fun for both pupils and teachers.

Over 2,000 pupils in Gloucestershire are already taking part, with teachers reporting that children concentrate better in class and come back from their Daily Mile refreshed and ready to learn. Parents comment that their children are eating and sleeping better.

Cottia Howard, Head Teacher at Upton St Leonards Church of England Primary School said:

“The Daily Mile has very quickly become an important part of our school day.

After just a couple of months, we are seeing a positive impact on physical wellbeing and attitudes to learning.

There are a lot of smiles around the track and a great sense of achievement for children and staff, so we are confident it will benefit emotional health as well”.

Tom Hall, Head of Education at Active Gloucestershire, is leading on the roll out of the initiative across Gloucestershire:

“The Daily Mile is non-competitive, fully inclusive and fun!

It has so many benefits for children, from building team work and social skills to helping children become more confident and better engaged with the outdoors.

We have written to every primary school in Gloucestershire inviting them to take part. Our discussions with teachers have looked at the real benefits of a short break from curriculum, introducing exercise that helps make children more productive and alert, in addition to having wider health benefits.

Active Gloucestershire will support your school all the way.”

Cllr Andrew Gravells, cabinet member for public health at Gloucestershire County Council, said:

“It’s great to see so many schools joining up to the Daily Mile.

We know that there are plenty of health benefits from being more active and this is a really fun way to help improve health.”

To encourage more schools to get involved in The Daily Mile, Active Gloucestershire has launched “Old Spot’s European Trot” to all 246 primary schools in Gloucestershire.

This is a fun, free, easy-to-use and sustainable challenge involving the whole school during the summer term. Schools are challenged to collectively complete a virtual running or walking tour of Europe. Winning schools will be given the opportunity to complete their mile with a local celebrity, or even Old Spot himself!

For further information or to sign up please click on Daily Mile at www.activegloucestershire.org or contact tomhall@activegloucestershire.org