‘Daily Mile’ primary ‘has no overweight pupils – and their behaviour is better too’

The Mail is reporting on the pioneering ‘Daily Mile’ fitness initiative at St Ninians school in Stirling with claims (which are to be tested) that it has resulted in the school having no overweight children and improved behaviour.

A primary school where children are made to run a mile every day has proved so successful in tackling obesity it could soon be introduced nationwide. 

Teachers at St Ninians school in Stirling have sent pupils out for the daily run for the last four years and claim it has improved their behaviour as well as their fitness.

Given the popularity of the scheme, a campaign has now been launched to persuade all primary schools across the UK to copy the model. 

Five hundred other primaries across Britain have already adopted the scheme as part of their drive to cut childhood obesity.

Daily miles are now run in schools in London, Gateshead, Wales and other parts of Scotland, with 30 schools in Stirling alone taking part. 

Children from Hallfield Primary in London were today pictured with ex-Olympian Iwan Thomas, Made in Chelsea’s Nicola Hughes and Chloe Lewis from TOWIE taking part in a mile run. 

They were also joined by proud headteacher of St Ninians, Elaine Wyllie, who started the scheme at her Stirling primary.

She said: ‘The thought of children across the country running every day because of something we’ve done is phenomenal. 

‘It’s a commonsense approach to children’s fitness, which is free and easy. The most important thing is that the children really enjoy it, otherwise you couldn’t sustain it. They come back in bright-eyed and rosy-cheeked, how children used to look. It’s joyous to see.’

She added: ‘We want all schools to give their children the opportunity to run a mile each day.

‘It only takes fifteen minutes and has been shown to improve their health, fitness and concentration in class.’ …

At St Ninians, teachers take their pupils out of lessons on to a specially built circuit around the school’s playing field for their daily mile whenever it best suits that day’s timetable. Only ice or very heavy rain stops them. 

Children who have difficulty with mobility are supported to take part… 

Meanwhile, researchers from Stirling University are looking for quantitative evidence of the physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of the daily mile.

St Ninians pupils will be compared with children from a school in Stirling that has yet to start the scheme.

Dr Colin Moran, who is leading the study, told the Guardian: ‘The children [at St Ninians] don’t seem to have problems with obesity; they seem happier and staff say they settle into lessons faster, so we designed a study that would test all of these things. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence about the benefits but there aren’t any scientific facts yet.’ 

The results of the study should be published in July.  

More at: Primary school where the children are made to run a mile every day has NO overweight pupils – and their behaviour is better too


Regular readers will know I am very enthusiastic about this scheme, mainly because of its pure simplicity.

It’s not about getting changed, sport, rules, competition, equipment or any of the stuff that can often get in the way – it’s just a daily run (or walk) that everyone gets involved in.

It will be fascinating to see the research study and also to see how other schools adopting the approach get on.

If you’re involved in any of them, do let us know how you are finding it?

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  1. The same claims can be made for Blue Coat Primary in Gloucs, several schools in Bristol and in fact in over 200 schools where playtimes have been improved through staff training. This 2011 study showed what can be done to improve playtime behaviour and pupil wellbeing http://www.outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk/uploads/3/4/1/8/34189093/supporting-school-improvement-through-play.pdf

    I’m sure that out of 21,000 settings there are going to be many schools who can claim good behaviour and no overweight pupils but this is to miss the point. There are also several thousand schools located in parts of the country where the culture and the socio-economic situation is such that obesity and poor behaviour are commonplace. 
    Running a mile round an inner-city playground smaller than a tennis court is not going to address these serious issues, it’s just going to make pupils dizzy! Fortunately, there is a research-proven solution which works for every school, regardless of local issues.

  2. MRyanBLS

    SchoolsImprove #lrgs1000mile Lancaster RGS Form L6 MR is “the form that walks 1000 miles” during form time for charity.

  3. MadgeJesss

    SchoolsImprove It’s a wonderful idea. Many kids driven to school and go home to sit in front of screens. Might be good for Olympics 2028.

  4. year2tastic

    SchoolsImprove daily mile sounds fab but which hour or so teaching will this replace or is this why we have to extend the school day?

  5. SchoolsImprove

    year2tastic fair point but I believe it takes them more like 15m because no getting changed etc – just straight out and on with it.

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