All Saints Church of England Primary School
- Where we’re based: Whitefield, Manchester in England.
- School roll: 239 students
- Month/Year we started The Daily Mile: October 2017
Mr Yates, Year 5 class teacher, talks us through All Saints Church of England Primary School’s experience of The Daily Mile, thus far.
A brief description of your school?
All Saints’ CE Primary School is in the suburbs of Greater Manchester and has 239 pupils on the roll, including the 50 part time places in the Foundation Stage Unit for Nursery aged children (full time equivalent of 25). The intake limit is 30 in each year group.
Classroom assistants and Special Support assistants work across the school in classes, supporting children with particular needs. New legislation, from September 2014, has meant that our SEND children now fall under one category of SEN Support – 10 children with statements (Education Health and Care Plans / EHCP) and 32 children who receive school support (SEN Support).
How many, and which, children in your school complete The Daily Mile?
During the summer term Year 5 completed The Daily Mile, as the class teacher, Mr Yates, was keen to improve the fitness of the class and increase their motivational skills. All the children were extremely keen to complete The Daily Mile, however due to restrictions caused by the small playground, it was decided that a longer route was required. Funding was secured in the summer term and a new path was built around the periphery of the school field. This was completed in the Autumn Term, thus the strategy was rolled out across the school from October 2017. Initially all classes in Key Stage 2 children completed the activity in October, however these were then joined by Key Stage 1 in November.
Where do you run your Daily Mile?
Initially, The Daily Mile was completed in the school playground, however now it is completed on our new footpath around the periphery of the field. This has led to our school field being used daily, instead of merely in the summer months when it was dry. As a school, we always felt that our school field was a wonderful resource, yet due to poor drainage it wasn’t being used to its full potential. Now it’s being used daily by hundreds of children.
Did you face any barriers when implementing The Daily Mile? If yes, how did you overcome them?
The size of our school playground limited our ability to complete The Daily Mile due to it being used for PE lessons and not being very inspirational to run around – a small, rectangle shaped yard which didn’t give the more energetic children to reach their true potential. Additional funding was secured in the summer of 2017 and allowed us to construct a path around our school field. By creating a longer path, which weaves around the field and has small slopes, the children’s excitement and competitiveness has increased.
Since starting The Daily Mile, what differences in the school have you observed?
From firsthand experience in Year 5, Mr Yates has noticed the excitement the children have shown when completing The Daily Mile. The children are constantly challenging themselves to run faster or maintain a steady pace throughout the session. The sense of achievement when they’ve achieved their personal goal is amazing to see. All children, even those who find exercise difficult, are able to improve their goal over a relatively short period of time. Some children will jog around with their friends, whilst chatting, other children will be racing around the path to beat their personal target. The personal fitness levels of the children hasn’t stopped any of them from completing The Daily Mile and ALL the children are disappointed when we are unable to do it.
What has been the impact on the children’s learning, concentration, focus and behaviour?
As a school we haven’t timetabled when classes have to complete The Daily Mile. We feel that it should be up to the discretion of the class teacher. As Year 5 teacher, I often use The Daily Mile as a means to improve the concentration of the children in the afternoon. It’s a wonderful means of breaking up the afternoon, especially when teaching two different subjects. It provides a useful transitional period when children can relax and enjoy some exercise with their friends.
What has been the impact on the children’s mood and relationships?
After completing The Daily Mile the children are more focused on the next task and their mood and attitude is greatly improved. This is most apparent in the afternoon when the children have been concentrating for over an hour, without exercise. The exercise appears to re-energise the children and get them ready for the next session. Many of the teachers have noticed children running around the path chatting and simply enjoying each other’s company.
Do you have any individual success stories of pupils or staff members you would like to share with us?
Whilst completing The Daily Mile, Mr Yates has noticed that often those children who struggle to concentrate during the lessons are the ones who have the most energy when completing the run. These children often struggle to contain this energy in the classroom, thus resulting in them displaying negative behaviour. Yet, when completing their run they are encouraged to use this energy in a positive manner, thus providing Mr Yates with lots of opportunities to praise them in a positive way. These energetic children just love to run!
Do you have any tips for other schools looking to get started?
It was decided to initially pilot The Daily Mile in one class, which proved extremely useful. This enabled us to identify any barriers that arose and solve them before they became established in our routine. Then we started The Daily Mile in Key Stage 2 and then introduced it into Key Stage 1. Also, we have allowed the teachers to select when they complete their Daily Mile. There is no fixed timetable. The teachers use their personal judgement and monitor when they feel the class would benefit from some exercise. Sometimes its in the morning, and other times its in the afternoon.
What have parents’ reactions to The Daily Mile been?
All the parents seem extremely pleased that their children are completing the strategy and are amazed that they’re able to run a mile in fifteen minutes.
Any other comments?
Mr Yates, Year 5 class teacher – “It’s amazing to watch the sheer excitement and enjoyment children get from simply running. You have some children who are pleased that they’ve completed one circuit without stopping, and some children who are pleased that they’ve beaten their personal target. It’s wonderful to see the determination and sense of pride spread across their face when they’ve completed The Daily Mile.”
Skye, Year 5 pupil – “I love doing The Daily Mile because I can run with my friends and get healthier at the same time.”
Niamh, Year 5 pupil – “I like doing the run a lot. Everyone has fun chatting and barely realises how many laps they’ve done. You get lots of fresh air and get healthier at the same time.”
Visit All Saints Church of England Primary School’s website for more information