Gibb: All primaries should join Daily Mile scheme

Initiative to get pupils running for 15 minutes per day set to expand following £1.5m funding boost

The Daily Mile has had a major funding boost.

The schools minister has urged every primary school in England to join a scheme to get children running for 15 minutes per day.

Nick Gibb's comments came as Sport England pledged £1.5 million of National Lottery funding to grow the Daily Mile initiative.

The scheme, which was started by former headteacher Elaine Wyllie in Scotland six years ago, aims to get primary school pupils to run or jog for 15 minutes every day, and is currently used by more than 3,500 English schools.

Mr Gibb welcomed the funding and urged every primary school in the country to introduce the programme.

He said: “The Daily Mile is a hugely successful programme designed to ensure that every pupil in a primary school learns the habit of taking rigorous exercise every day. This very welcome funding from Sport England will enable more schools to sign up for the programme.”

The new money will fund the recruitment of national and local coordinators to support and encourage more schools in England to sign up.

Earlier this month, a survey revealed that only one in six children in England are getting the recommended amount of exercise every day of the week.

Sport England found that only 17.5 per cent of children aged 5-16 (1.2 million) are meeting the chief medical officer’s guideline of taking at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.

The organisation's chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said: “Through getting schoolchildren to walk or run for 15 minutes every day, the Daily Mile has been proven to significantly improve fitness levels.

“As part of our support of all active-mile initiatives, Sport England is delighted to be partnering with the Daily Mile Foundation and investing £1.5m of National Lottery money into the Daily Mile.

"We want to take the initiative to even more primary schools across the country to improve the health of thousands more children.”

Earlier this year, research was published showing the scheme led to a range of health benefits, and researchers called for it to be introduced by governments around the world.

The University of Stirling study found that the scheme improves fitness, body composition and activity levels.

The study, which was published in the journal BMC Medicine and involved 391 pupils aged 4-12, found that those doing a daily mile ran farther on a bleep-test shuttle run than children in a control school.

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