Use the Daily Mile as an intervention for your GHLL Healthy Schools / Mental Health Champions Award.
What is The Daily Mile?
The Daily Mile is a fully inclusive, simple initiative which improves the physical and mental health and wellbeing of children. As a result of regular participation children are physically fitter, more focused in the classroom, more confident and more resilient. Children should be active for 30 minutes in school every day, by participating in the Daily Mile they easily achieve 15 minutes.
It may not always be possible to get outside so identifying an alternative indoor activity is a good idea to make sure being active is another routine part of the school day. The Daily Mile Foundation highlight that if children run at least three times a week, for four weeks they will see a significant positive progression in their fitness levels.
It is recommended that the Daily Mile is introduced as a whole school initiative, this ensures children can continue to participate as they move through the school years or as teaching staff change. In the first instance it can be introduced with a class or whole key stage, allowing for trial and error before rolling out to the rest of the school.
The Daily Mile as an intervention
The GHLL interventions ask schools to identify a targeted group, usually a group which are most vulnerable or in most need of the interventions. For the Daily Mile you may wish to identify your target group as those children who do not take part in any other form of physical activity outside of the statutory PE curriculum i.e. they do not attend any physical activity clubs provided by the school (you may also wish to survey children to find out if they attend any physical activity clubs outside of school).
For example, a primary school may have 120 pupils in Key Stage Two, all of whom will participate in the Daily Mile but you may identify 43 children in KS2 who do not participate in any physical activity outside of the PE curriculum.
Staff can be included in the intervention if appropriate, this may be more suitable in a Mental Health capacity to show the benefits of staff having time out of the classroom and the health benefits of being more physically active/outside/ with other staff.
Measuring progress and significant progress – physical health
For your GHLL award you will need to demonstrate how pupils have made progress against the outcome. In the list of outcomes provided by GHLL there is a specific outcome for the Daily Mile.
Healthier behaviour outcome:
‘Increase in number of children and young people who participate in The Daily Mile/ Active 15 minutes’
At a basic level this can be an easy outcome to achieve. If children weren’t doing the Daily Mile before and you then introduce it to the whole school or Key Stage then they will all be achieving the outcome.
However, you may wish to develop this further to look at pupils who have made significant progress. On a physical level you could ask pupils to record and report at the start of the intervention how far they manage to walk or jog in the 15 minutes they spend doing the Daily Mile. That might be laps of the playground or however you’ve defined the Daily Mile circuit. When you come to do your final measure (four weeks is the recommended amount of time to see progression) you can ask pupils to record how far they now can cover in the 15 minutes. Pupils who have increased the distance they cover (e.g. they can now do six laps of the playground instead of four) could be deemed as having made significant progress.
Use as a Mental Health Intervention
The Daily Mile outcome has the Mental Health (MH) symbol alongside it which shows it can be used as a Mental Health intervention. However, it cannot be used as a Mental Health intervention if you are only measuring progress in terms of physical activity, as in the section above. To use the Daily Mile as a Mental Health intervention would require you to demonstrate how it had impacted on children’s emotional and mental state.
This is a very sound use for The Daily Mile as it has significant mental health benefits associated with it. This could be done by asking children to state (verbally or in written form) what benefit they feel the Daily Mile has been to them. Pupils who only mention physical health benefits would not have achieved the Mental Health part of this outcome, however children that refer to other benefits could be deemed to have made progress.
Those benefits could include:
- It gives me time to talk to someone about things that are worrying me
- If helps calm me down if I’m feeling uptight
- It helps me to concentrate on my lessons
- It helps to clear my head when I’ve been working hard
- It makes me feel happier when I’m feeling sad
- It helps me take notice of the environment around me
- It gives me time to talk to others in my class/school that I wouldn’t usually talk to
- How does the Daily Mile make you feel?
- Do you feel any different after you have finished your Daily Mile? If so in what way?
In your impact statement on the GHLL planning and reporting tool you can also include qualitative data which may be quotes from children or observations from staff.
Here is a guide for completing the intervention report, this includes examples but should be adjusted to represent the specific intervention carried out in your school. Hopefully the above guidance has been useful in helping you to plan, run and report your interventions but if you have any queries or get stuck on anything then please do not hesitate to contact your assigned GHLL Lead Teacher who will be happy to assist.