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Over 13,000 Suffolk primary school children now benefitting from Daily Mile campaign

14 December, 2018 - 16:51
Children at Martlesham Primary Academy  brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Children at Martlesham Primary Academy brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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National campaign to get pupils exercising every day gains pace as number of Suffolk registered schools hits 64.

Children at Martlesham Primary Academy  brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Martlesham Primary Academy brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Winter might not seem the obvious time to get children out and about, but the success of the Daily Mile campaign suggests otherwise - as more Suffolk schools than ever commit to fit regular exercise into the school day.

The scheme, which challenges children aged 5–11 to walk or jog a mile at their own pace for 15 minutes daily, has seen another 25 schools sign up since the summer holidays – the biggest leap in numbers since the campaign launched in Suffolk in May last year.

There are now 64 schools in Suffolk registered, meaning 13,000 primary school pupils are regularly exercising.

Emma Churchman, headteacher at Martlesham Primary Academy near Ipswich, said implementing the Daily Mile had helped the school embed values of ‘healthy body, healthy mind’.

Children at Martlesham Primary Academy  brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Martlesham Primary Academy brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Since registering for the scheme in October 2018, the schoolchildren now looks forward to their regular exercise, which slots in perfectly with the school day.

She said: “We aim to instil resilience as a core value, and the Daily Mile is key to that. Each day, at the end of lunch break, the children all walk or run the laps of the field.

“To start with, some of the children found it quite challenging, but now they are really keen to get involved.

“We promote it to everyone, and it’s great to see the older children supporting the younger ones.

Children at Martlesham Primary Academy  brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Martlesham Primary Academy brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Everyone works at their own speed, meaning pupils understand the importance of setting targets and challenging themselves to complete more laps.

“In terms of benefits, we’ve seen increased collaboration across the school. The exercise increases adrenaline levels, which in turn really helps to tackle any afternoon dips in concentration.

“The children have responded so well to the scheme that we would love our own running track.”

Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health at Suffolk County Council, said: “Teachers have a lot on their plate, and what’s so great about the Daily Mile is its simplicity. Each school does it in their own way.

Children at Martlesham Primary Academy  brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren at Martlesham Primary Academy brave the cold to do their Daily Mile Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It’s not only about physical activity, but keeping the mind active which can help improve concentration and support academic attainment.”

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