The Daily Mile™ Comes to Kent! Posted on 3 June 2019 by Mel Harding, The Daily Mile in Schools The Daily Mile is a fun, free, global initiative which sees school children run or jog, at their own pace, for 15 minutes a day to improve their physical, social, emotional and mental health. Developed by a former headteacher, The Daily Mile is designed to fit seamlessly into the school day, with no need to get changed as children run in their normal school attire. Research shows that regular physical activity, like The Daily Mile, also helps our children to learn by improving attention span (Postal, 2014), improving memory and concentration (Peipmeier & Etnier, 2015) and increasing their learning capacity (Chaddock, 2010). All of this, and it is completely free!With so many benefits associated with The Daily Mile, Sport England are now funding 13 Local Coordinators for The Daily Mile initiative across the country, and Kent are one of the lucky 13. But why?Amidst a growing childhood obesity epidemic, current statistics showing that 34% of pupils in Year 6 are overweight or obese whilst a mere 22% of children are achieving the recommended physical activity levels—this is a potentially dangerous combination which is putting the health of our next generation at risk. To put these figures in to perspective, in an average class size of 30, as many as 10 will be overweight or obese, and only 6 sufficiently active. Combine this with the fact that mental health referrals have increased by 64% in the last three years, and the sad reality is we are doing the next generation an injustice. However, it is not all doom and gloom; The Daily Mile is a great way to start redressing the balance. It improves a child’s physical fitness, contributes to improved mental health, and aids their learning—just a 5% improvement in learning potential adds the equivalent of an extra 18 minutes in to the school day! And it doesn’t cost schools a penny. One of the first schools in England to pilot The Daily Mile was Coppermill Primary School in Waltham Forest, London who piloted the scheme over a 12-week period with a mix of their Year 5 and Year 6 pupils. Before the 12 weeks commenced, a qualitative assessment was taken of current attention and behaviour levels before The Daily Mile, and the school reported the following improvement: “Throughout the Coppermile project the children appeared more focused in class and more resilient when completing tasks. This was particularly noticeable in some of the children who have, in the past, tended to show less resilience and motivation when faced with a challenge. Overall, the Coppermile had a positive impact on the children’s behaviour and improved their overall energy levels and general well-being”.Furthermore, staff at Coppermill Primary School also believe that The Daily Mile also contributed to considerable academic progress among their pupils, with both year groups making ‘better than expected’ progress. Buoyed by the improvement in behaviour, attention and academic learning, the teachers chose to trust the science and their Year 6 pupils continued to take part in The Daily Mile every day during SATs week, completing their mile before sitting each test. The results they achieved (in terms of the number of pupils achieving the end of key stage 2 expectations in all areas of English and maths), was significantly above the estimated local and national standards—as much as 26% for both Reading and Maths, and 23% for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling. The full report, including how the school went about getting started, pupil opinion, and staff feedback, can be read here.Kent’s Local Coordinator, Mel Harding, is hosted by Kent Sport and comes to the role having previously worked for the team on the Kent School Games programme. If you are interested in finding out more about The Daily Mile or would like help launching The Daily Mile in your school, please contact email@example.com.Looking for more ways to get active and keep fit? If you enjoy running or jogging and are considering joining a sports club, take a look at these 16 surprising benefits of playing sports to give you the encouragement you might need!