The Daily Mile for pupils means fun, fitness and fresh air

Camden pupils are keeping fit, healthy and happy with the help of a daily physical activity scheme called the Daily Mile.

The Daily Mile involves every child in the school spending 15 minutes a day running, jogging or walking outdoors on top of their regular PE lessons.

The scheme began in Scotland in 2012, when a primary school class discovered their lack of fitness and decided to make a change.

On Tuesday, 20 September the Daily Mile’s founder Elaine Wyllie visited Torriano Primary School, in Kentish Town, to see how the initiative is working in Camden.

Elaine, a former primary headteacher, was delighted to see how the Daily Mile has taken off at Torriano. She found the pupils love it, while staff and parents fully support it.

According to Elaine, the secret of the Daily Mile’s success is to keep it simple and regular. Children do not have to change into PE kit or even put trainers on if they don’t want to.

She said: “The Daily Mile is not PE or sport – it is a social activity. It is a ‘one size fits all’ initiative – simple and fully inclusive – which introduces daily physical activity into children’s lives with the minimum of fuss. It is about fun, friends, fresh air and freedom – the essential needs of childhood.”

Jack Holmes, PE co-ordinator at Torriano Primary School, launched the Daily Mile at his school last term.

He said: “We started it with a Year 3 class around Easter and made a video, which helped create a buzz throughout the school and meant other classes wanted to join us. It takes 15 minutes from desk to desk. There are odd days when we don’t get out, if the weather is really bad - but the children will remind you that they didn’t do it.”

Councillor Angela Mason CBE, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Children, said: “Three cheers for the Daily Mile. I am absolutely delighted that Camden schools are embarking on this initiative in partnership with schools in Islington. It has been clear to me for a while that we have not been fully getting to grips with the problem of childhood obesity. Finding a solution is complex but children’s physical activity and physical fitness is a key part of it.”

As well as Cllr Mason, Councillor Nadia Shah, the Mayor of Camden, and Councillor Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Culture, were also there to show their support at the event, when Year 5 pupils from Torriano Primary School demonstrated the Daily Mile for guests.

So far five Camden schools are taking part in the Daily Mile, with a further 13 showing interest in introducing the scheme. It costs nothing, yet some schools around the country have chosen to spend small amounts on marking their playgrounds.

The Daily Mile is supported by Pro-Active Camden, the borough’s strategic partnership for sport and physical activity, and Camden and Islington councils’ joint public health service.

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