Where we’re based: St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Our Daily Mile Story
Helen Paine is a teacher from Prae Wood Primary School and tells us about their experience of The Daily Mile.
We have been doing The Daily Mile since the start of the Autumn term 2019. 413 pupils run The Daily Mile around our AstroTurf track, which was funded through a Healthy Schools Capital Funding Bid.
We had wanted to start The Daily Mile for about a year but felt it wouldn’t be a year round activity without a dedicated track. The opportunity to apply for funding was our only option and we made use of the support of our The Daily Mile Coordinator, Alex Varran, to put together a funding bid. Once the bid was confirmed, we were able to replace the existing path to create a completely new continuous track using a material more suited to running and daily use.
The Daily Mile has proved popular amongst both staff and pupils. Teachers often use The Daily Mile as an opportunity to refocus the class and notice that pupils’ concentration improves once they have had a movement break. Pupils benefit in various ways depending on their own individual motivations – some see it as an opportunity to run continuously to improve their fitness whilst others enjoy it as a social opportunity.
The Daily Mile also provides a rare opportunity in a busy timetable for staff to chat with pupils. Some staff have reported that it gives pupils the chance to ‘get things off their chest’ or share how they are feeling, when they might not be willing to do so in a classroom environment, as conversations whilst walking/jogging do not take place face to face.
For one of our Year 4 pupils, The Daily Mile has been a welcome addition to the daily timetable. Usually a reluctant participant in PE lessons and someone who does not want to engage in competitive experiences, this SEN pupil looks forward to participating in The Daily Mile. His teacher explains:
“He uses it daily at break and lunch to drive around in his racing car or spaceship. He asks everyday about when we will do The Daily Mile. It lifts his spirits; it is a time when he is allowed to drive in class time for an extended period. He also uses the time to spend with friends and will interact with them during his driving. As a child who finds PE rules and integration difficult, The Daily Mile allows him time to be part of the class and take part in a physical activity successfully and without reminders or requests to change what he is doing.”
A launch event was organised following donations from our school governing body and our The Daily Mile Coordinator, Alex Varran. Ben Smith from The 401 Challenge was invited to speak to the children and run with them to officially launch the new track. The Daily Mile is a key aspect of our school focus ‘Be Active, Be Healthy, Be Mentally Strong’ and Ben’s message successfully endorsed this.
Using the Laps to Lapland resource, we noticed how a visual record with an end goal can help to motivate pupils and staff, especially those who are not always providing the requisite 3 opportunities per week. Laps to Lapland helped show us a way of recording as a class, but without it being an onerous task. We are planning to establish a school challenge for 2020, perhaps linked to the Olympics.