Founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie, talks about her top tips for schools.
Founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie, discusses what The Daily Mile means to her.
Founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie, tells us what good Daily Mile practice looks like.
Founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie, tells what she would like to say to all schools involved in the initiative.
Source: The Telegraph
Image: Cian Oba-Smith
The Daily Mile has become a global phenomenon with over 3,000 schools taking part
On a bright morning in early March, Freya Stevenson Smith, a teacher at St John’s Upper Holloway, a Church of England primary school in north London, asks her Year 1 class to line up on the playground. The children are excited, as five-year-olds on the verge of a mysterious new activity are apt to be. Before leading them out, Stevenson Smith reminds them of what is about to happen.
“Who can tell me what we’re doing this morning?” she asks. “The Daily Mile!” they answer. “Why are we doing it?” “For exercise!” “How does exercise make us feel?” “It makes us feel good about ourselves!”
Stevenson Smith sets a timer for 15 minutes. Despite its name, The Daily Mile is a measure of time, rather than distance. Most children run a mile, or slightly more, during the time, but it is not mandatory. Participants are encouraged to run or jog, but a bit of walking is not forbidden. The two crucial things are that everyone does it, and it happens every day, rain or shine (although not in icy conditions). There is no kit, no fixed time of day, no special equipment, and no competition.
… Stevenson Smith is far from the only teacher determined to take action against what is becoming one of Britain’s most urgent problems, and The Daily Mile phenomenon is sweeping schools. NHS data has shown that by the time children leave primary school nearly a third are overweight or obese. The issue is especially bad in more deprived areas. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and obesity is linked to many other conditions, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension and some types of cancer. Fitter children have been shown to perform better academically, too.
The Daily Mile seems to offer the best recent hope of solving the problem. Since it was begun, in 2012, it has been taken up, officially, by more than 3,000 schools around the world. The real figure is probably higher, since there is no obligation for schools to report when they are starting the scheme. In Scotland, where The Daily Mile began, it’s estimated that nearly half of primary schools are now doing it, and organisers are keen to make Scotland the first Daily Mile nation. The initiative has spread as far as Australia and the UAE, with schools from more than 30 countries taking part.
… Back at St John’s Upper Holloway, four weeks after that first, somewhat chaotic mile, Freya Stevenson Smith reports back on her class’s progress. The children run at the same time every day, straight after the register is taken. Gradually they have grown used to it. They say it makes them feel ‘fit and fast’, or ‘happy, because it’s hard’.
‘It has been interesting to watch the children becoming more aware of sensations in their bodies,’ Stevenson Smith says. ‘They talk about “their red, hot face”, “big heartbeat” and “tired legs”. I’ve also noticed an improvement in their resilience. Now, when they trip over, they get straight back up and keep running. They take fewer breaks. We’ve started counting their laps, and they are all keen to beat their own records. It took about a week for the routine to get settled, but after that I noticed them working in class in a more focused manner.
‘It’s also helping us to foster a supportive social environment,’ she adds. ‘The kids have naturally started encouraging one another to persevere. They’re excited to get going.’
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St Brendan’s N.S.
- Where we’re based: Blennerville, Tralee in Republic of Ireland
- School roll: 181 students
- Month/Year we started The Daily Mile: October 2017
Mr Terry O’Sullivan, Principal, talks us through St. Brendan N.S. Primary School’s experience of The Daily Mile, thus far.
The Daily Mile initiative in our school has been supported by the Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership. Through the programme facilitator Martina Lawless and Cora Carrig the implementation of the programme has been seamless.
A brief description of your school?
Our school is a brand new building, in the picturesque village of Blennerville, which we moved into in January 2016. It is on the Dingle Peninsular, in the South-West of Ireland, and we have a beautiful sea-view. It was worth the wait for our new building. We now have an indoor PE hall and an outdoor basketball court, things we do not take for granted, having been in a very cramped building and water-logged yard prior to 2016.
How many, and which, children in your school complete The Daily Mile?
181 out of 181 children take part in The Daily Mile. Like all schools, we have children with medical needs, from type 1 diabetes to asthma to hemophilia, but they all make an effort to complete The Daily Mile every day.
How do you do your Daily Mile?
Each classroom was allocated a 15 minute slot during the school day, either first thing in the morning, or either side of break times, so there is never a huge group out running. Children are told which direction they should run, and we change this from day to day, just to spice things up! Children line up when they are done and, after a final headcount, go back into class for much needed hydration.
Please, describe your school’s experience of The Daily Mile to date.
We have had such a positive experience with The Daily Mile initiative. Children ask eagerly, “When are we doing The Daily Mile?” and never allow the teacher to forget. It can be a welcome bit of fresh air after hard work, and can simply clear your head of the cobwebs.
We made up a motto “The Daily Mile will make you smile”, believing that it lifts the mood of the children and teachers. Children who are usually reserved in class have surprised teachers with chat on this informal jog and you wouldn’t believe the amount of children that have learnt how to tell time, by simply waiting for their daily 15 minutes of running to arrive. Senior infants have been known to remind their teacher at 12.15PM, “Teacher! It’s time for The Daily Mile!” There have been days where the weather has been unkind, but we just zip up our coats and get on with it! During stormy weather, we put down four cones in the school hall, and ran circuits there instead, as the children simply didn’t want to miss their daily running slots.
A child from 4th class, Gráinne, who is a member of our Health Promoting School Commitee was assigned the important job of changing the date and distance ran every day on a noticeboard we have at the school entrance. To date, we have run 93 miles. We have marked milestones, such as: We have run as far as Killarney!, We have run a marathon!, We have run as far as Limerick!, etc. It’s great to see such positive statements and children are encouraged by all this positivity. At 100 miles, the entire school is going to be awarded an “Off homework” night.
What has been the impact on the children’s learning, concentration and focus?
Since starting The Daily Mile, we have noticed a very positive effect on children’s learning, concentration and focus, especially when run first thing in the morning, surprisingly. When asked ‘What your favourite thing at school is?’, the children agreed it was The Daily Mile.
What has been the impact on the children’s behaviour and mood?
We do believe it has helped with better behaviour and mood. It has given our older classes the confidence to enter a Cross Country running event, something we hadn’t tried before this year.
Can you tell us about any successful links you have made between The Daily Mile and your curriculum?
Our 5th class teacher, Mrs Moynihan, measured the distance around our school building with a trundle-wheel prior to starting The Daily Mile, and worked out, during a Maths lesson with her class, that 7 circuits around the school was equal to one exact mile. This just one of the links we made with The Daily Mile and our school curriculum.
Do you have any tips for other schools looking to get started?
We would recommend, for schools getting started with The Daily Mile, to begin with jogging 2 laps of the school, followed by 3 the next day. We found that walking one and jogging one was also a great tip, as younger children have a tendency to go ‘hell for leather’ and run until they get exhausted. We would recommend that you let parents know the importance of good running shoes, properly tied, to be worn every day with the uniform, and a waterproof coat. We found also that the children drank a lot more water after The Daily Mile, so increase the quantity given in drink beakers.
Any other comments?
Children’s fitness has certainly improved. The children who walked The Daily Mile last October are now jogging it with ease.
We have a page on our school website dedicated to all things sporty called our Active HPS page. We post photographs monthly of class ‘winners’ of “Runner of the Month” on this page.
Any feedback from parents, the school or teachers?
Mr Terry O’Sullivan, Principal – “I can say with confidence that, for Blennerville school, there is no going back. We tried this as a pilot school and have embraced it wholeheartedly. The Daily Mile is here to stay. It’s a winner!”
Facebook: Blennerville National School
Visit St. Brendan’s N.S. Primary School’s website for more information
The Ministry for Education and Employment and the Centre for Physical Education and Sport, in collaboration with The Daily Mile Foundation, have launched The Daily Mile initiative in Maltese schools.
Aiming to increase children’s daily physical activity, this initiative is intended to develop positive health behaviours in children and to contribute towards a whole school approach to a healthy lifestyle.
Recent research has shown that only 24% of Maltese 10-11 year olds meet the recommended hour of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity, and that 40% of all Maltese children are overweight or obese. Therefore, there is an urgent need to increase levels of activity, and schools are an ideal place for the implementation of new initiatives.
The Daily Mile initiative was started in the UK and aims to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of children. This initiative is very easy to implement and fun to do, and only takes 15 minutes. At any time during the school day, the teacher takes the class to the yard for a jog or run. Most children cover a mile in 15 minutes, while some children do more and others less. There is no need for a warm up or to change into the school PE kit. It is neither Physical Education, nor a competition, and everyone can participate at their own pace, irrespective of his or her ability. After The Daily Mile, children are more focused and concentrate more in the classroom. When interviewed, children said that they enjoy The Daily Mile and that it makes them fitter, and happier at school, while giving them a short break from the long period of sitting in class.
The Daily Mile was introduced in Malta three months ago, and 35 schools have already joined this initiative, with thousands of children already getting an extra 15 minutes of daily physical activity, while improving their fitness and health.
Elaine Wyllie, founder of The Daily Mile and former primary school head teacher, said “It is wonderful to see such commitment to The Daily Mile round the world. This launch shows Malta leading the way in the Mediterranean and are committed to helping your children sustainably improve their health and well-being.”
Given the benefits of The Daily Mile, and being such a simple concept, more schools are urged to join this initiative. The Daily Mile is mainly targeted at primary schools, however various middle and secondary schools have also introduced it, and it can also be extended to the workplace, particularly before working hours or during breaks.
Photographs courtesy of DOI – Omar Camilleri
The Daily Mile: Joseph Wade (+44) 207 384 6980 – (+44) 7758 074 576
The Daily Mile in Malta: Andrew Decelis – email@example.com
“I’m delighted to report that our first UK-wide campaign is a great success. More schools than ever are signing up for The Daily Mile – with more coming on board all the time. Thank you to everyone for your support,” says Elaine Wyllie, founder of The Daily Mile.
On Saturday our first ever TV ad was broadcast during Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. The response has been brilliant. Seven Million people saw our advert and the number of visitors to our website soared to 200 times more than usual. And more schools than ever are joining the campaign.
The social media response has also been amazing – we’d like to thank everyone who has been so supportive. There have been thousands of encouraging messages flooding in. Thanks to all of you – here is just a handful of the kind things people are saying about The Daily Mile.
Southampton Council said, “More Southampton schools are signing up for The #DailyMile to get kids active. Sign up today.”
Change4Life tweeted, “proud to back this fab new campaign…wouldn’t it be great if every school to do The #DailyMile”
Manchester Greater Sport tweeted, “Brilliant to see @ITV and @INEOS raising national awareness of @_thedailymile! The benefits are unquestionable and are why we’ve made a commitment to be the world’s first Daily Mile city-region!”
Active Gloucestershire said, “So good that almost half of all Gloucestershire’s primary school’s are now doing their @_thedailymile”
A primary teacher from East Lothian tweeted, “Such a great initiative. I know that my class love taking part in @_thedailymile”
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic supporters, ITV and INEOS. Without their backing we couldn’t have dreamed of TV advertising. ITV operates the largest commercial family of channels in the UK, and their support has helped us to bring The Daily Mile to our widest ever audience. INEOS, one of the UK’s largest manufacturers, has supported The Daily Mile for more than three years, and their sponsorship has helped us to extend the campaign to more than 3,200 schools – and growing!
The Daily Mile is fun, free and easy to do. Children at school simply run or jog for fifteen minutes each day. Children love it, and the benefits are transformational. Studies are beginning to show that The Daily Mile improves children’s health, happiness and even school results. Children eat and sleep better, they concentrate more in class and they feel happier. We’d love even more schools to join The Daily Mile. It takes two minutes to join up at www.thedailymile.co.uk.
Thank you to all The Daily Mile schools, teachers and children. There is no reason that every child across the UK should not be given the opportunity to be fit for life!
The Daily Mile Foundation
- The Daily Mile™ has already helped hundreds of thousands of school children to get active and improve their health and wellbeing.
- Today ITV and INEOS are launching a national campaign to persuade every primary school in the UK to take up The Daily Mile.
- ITV is supporting the initiative with an ambitious advertising and editorial push across its channels.
ITV is joining forces with INEOS to launch a national campaign to encourage all primary schools across the UK to take up The Daily Mile.
On 7th April, ITV will broadcast the first of a series of commercials, highlighting the importance of The Daily Mile and drawing attention to the extraordinarily positive impact it has on children’s fitness, health, and concentration levels.
The advertising campaign will be supported by editorial in ITV programmes as well as a series of nationwide events and a dedicated call centre for teachers and parents to find out more about the initiative.
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s Chief Executive, says, The Daily Mile has already proved a great success for the schools that are taking part with a hugely positive impact on children’s health and wellbeing. ITV wants to use the power of TV and the reach of our programming to change attitudes and behaviours towards living more healthily. We are aiming to get the whole country engaged with this initiative and every UK primary school taking part.”
The Daily Mile is simple and free and gets children out of the classroom for fifteen minutes every day to run or jog with their classmates, making them fitter, healthier, and more able to concentrate in the classroom.
Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of INEOS and a keen runner himself, says “INEOS has been supporting The Daily Mile for the last three years. We know how important it is to encourage children to get fit and healthy and look after themselves, not just for today but for the years to come. We are delighted to be working with ITV to help take The Daily Mile to the next level”
Elaine Wyllie, the founder of The Daily Mile, former head teacher and a Pride of Britain Award winner will feature in the first commercial to introduce the campaign, “But the focus is on the children and the schools – The Daily Mile is theirs, and quickly and simply integrates into everyday school life”, she says.
Elaine says, “We have already had a lot of success with The Daily Mile, but this campaign will be a major step forward. With ITV’s and INEOS’s help, it’s my hope to get every primary school in the UK joining in The Daily Mile movement”.
Elaine started the initiative in 2012, whilst headteacher at St Ninians Primary School in Scotland. Since its launch, The Daily Mile has spread to over 900 schools in England, over 700 in Scotland, over 190 in Wales and over 55 in Northern Ireland.
The Daily Mile already has the formal backing of the Scottish and Welsh governments, and Elaine is now hoping that she can secure the support of the UK government to help her to roll out the campaign to every primary school in Britain.
Elaine Wyllie adds: “The Daily Mile has already changed the lives of many children for the better. It is free, fun and effective. It only takes fifteen minutes and has been shown to improve their health, fitness, and concentration in class. It is my hope that these benefits will be felt by children in schools across the UK.”
The first Daily Mile advert will run during one of ITV’s biggest programmes, Saturday Night Takeaway, and then be rolled out across all the ITV channels.
In addition to The Daily Mile’s first ever TV campaign, ITV will also support the initiative with editorial coverage across its flagship daytime programmes as well as social channels and online, directing viewers to www.thedailymile.co.uk.
To find out more about The Daily Mile visit www.thedailymile.co.uk, where teachers can sign up to join The Daily Mile movement and download resources to help them get started. Parents and teachers are encouraged to follow The Daily Mile on social media to keep up with all the latest news and share their Daily Mile experiences with the team. In addition, there is an information line that can be reached by calling 0330 8800 100 (Weekdays 7am-8pm and Weekends 9am- 5pm)
ITV is an integrated producer broadcaster and the largest commercial television network in the UK. It is the home of popular television from the biggest entertainment events, to original drama, major sport, landmark factual series and independent news. It operates a family of channels including ITV, ITVBe, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 and CITV, which are broadcast free-to-air. ITV is also focused on delivering its programming via the ITV Hub, mobile devices, video on demand and third-party platforms. ITV Studios is a global production business, creating and selling programmes and formats from offices in the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany, the Nordics and the Netherlands. It is the largest and most successful commercial production company in the UK, the largest independent non-scripted indie in the US and ITV Studios Global Entertainment is a leading international distribution businesses.
About The Daily Mile
The Daily Mile was first developed by Elaine Wyllie when she was Headteacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling in February 2012. It is profoundly simple – but can be transformational to children’s health and wellbeing. It involves classes heading outside to jog or run around the school grounds every day, rain or shine, at whatever pace suits the child best. It gets children active with their friends and teachers, and refreshed for further learning. The Daily Mile is free, fun and fits in the school day easily. It only takes 15 minutes desk-to-desk, causing minimal disruption to the school day, but has lasting effects: not only do children become fit within 4 weeks, they are also reported to concentrate better in class, eat and sleep better at home, and develop stronger bonds with their classmates and teachers, too. Though named “The Daily Mile” (children tend to average running a mile in this time), the distance isn’t compulsory, and the ethos of the scheme is of inclusivity, enjoyment, and self-improvement over time. The Daily Mile is intended to help all children, no matter their age or personal circumstances, enjoy getting active every day- getting fitter and healthier now, but also developing healthy habits for a lifetime.
GO Run For Fun and The Daily Mile are both supported by INEOS, a multinational company headquartered in London, with health and fitness at the heart of its ethos. INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who is himself deeply passionate about running, said: “It has never been more important to support young people in leading healthier, more active lives. We are very proud to support and celebrate these two initiatives that have been making a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of children in the UK and beyond, for the last four years.”
ITV: Laura Wootton (+44) 207 157 3056
The Daily Mile: Joseph Wade (+44) 207 384 6980 – (+44) 7758 074 576
INEOS: Richard Longden (+41) 21 627 7063 – (+41) 79 962 61 23
Wigan Council have implemented The Daily Mile in their schools!
Find out more about their approach, implementation and methods of sustainability in the above video.