The Daily Mile, the back-to-basics fitness initiative for schoolchildren, has received a £1.5m cash injection from Sport England, which hopes to spread the word about it to every primary school in England. The Guardian reports
The national lottery money represents the biggest expansion of the scheme which began six years ago with children at a primary school in Stirling running five laps round the playing field. It is now a regular fixture at 3,500 schools in England and for 1.25 million children worldwide.
The funding will pay for 11 local and two national co-ordinators to bring more of England’s 20,000 primary schools on board, with the aim of helping to improve child fitness and reduce obesity.
Elaine Wyllie, the former headteacher of St Ninians in Stirling where the Daily Mile originated said “It’s absolutely incredible. I can hardly take it in. To have the big tick from Sport England is amazing. They are going to help us roll it out and try and reach every child in England. I’m kind of overwhelmed.”
Sport England became involved after its survey earlier this month revealed that a third of children in England are doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Children from the poorest families are more likely to be less active.
Sport England’s chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said: “It’s the strongest evidence yet that not enough is being done to support our youngsters, and change is needed if we’re to increase activity levels.
“Through getting schoolchildren to walk or run for 15 minutes every day, the Daily Mile has been proven to significantly improve fitness levels. We want to take the initiative to even more primary schools across the county to improve the health of thousands more children.”
The coordinators will sign up schools and help get the scheme up and running, revisiting from time to time to make sure it’s still fresh and fun for the children. The hope is that the return on the £1.5m investment will be children who develop positive attitudes to exercise, so they are more likely to develop healthy active lives into adulthood.
Does your school do the Daily Mile? Has it helped with general fitness and in other areas in the classroom? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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