School is miles better for Westhoughton kids
The Daily Mile fitness and social activity is being adopted by a growing number of schools worldwide and The Gates Primary School in Westhoughton approached Newground Together to discuss the creation of a new running track that would give the school’s pupils encouragement to lead healthier and more active lifestyles and ultimately boost engagement in its own Daily Mile initiative.
Following a £13,695 Gift in Kind grant, Newground’s Landscape Services team constructed a running track, which has delivered an exciting new educational outdoor activity space for The Gates Primary School.
Since the school running track opened in January 2017, enthusiasm and participation in running has gone from strength to strength, giving children, staff and parents/carers an opportunity to improve their levels of fitness.
The project has ensured that more than 300 children and 42 staff take part in regular exercise by either walking, jogging or running a mile, with the teachers also encouraging parents/carers to join in the sporting activity during the morning running club.
Headteacher Karen Forshaw explains: “We’re fully committed to promoting health and wellbeing and the Daily Mile has been an excellent way to reinforce healthy habits and encourage our children to enjoy exercising from a young age.
“The new running track will benefit our pupils and staff for years to come and it’s so encouraging to see everyone improving their fitness by clocking faster lap times.”
One particular pupil had always struggled with physical activity due to issues with their movement, coordination and balance. Since the introduction of the Daily Mile and the new running track, this child has seen significant improvements to their fitness levels. Prior to the initiative, they could only run two laps of the track within 15 minutes and now is able to complete 15+ laps in the same time. There has also been improved academic results over the past 12 months from the same pupil.
Karen continues: “The running track has given pupils the opportunity to continue improving their fitness by running in their own time, including their breaks and lunchtimes. This is also helping to reduce the risk of obesity and improve participation and engagement in our P.E lessons.”
Regular running assessments show that 100% of pupils have improved their fitness since the Daily Mile initiative and running track was introduced, with the data recording a continued increase in the total number of laps run over a set timeframe.
Enthusiasm and participation in running and sport also continues to go from strength to strength, with the majority of those surveyed saying that they’ve seen improvements in their physical wellbeing.
Karen continues: “Since the running track was introduced, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in the children’s focus and concentration in class, especially during the morning lessons.
“The benefits of this project also stretch far beyond the classroom by making a positive impact on people’s social and emotional wellbeing that’s helping to improve self-esteem and long-term health.”
The school’s evaluations also record a 10% improvement in behaviour at lunchtimes as measured by the current behaviour management policy.
The new running track is now acting as a catalyst for change across the local community by encouraging greater participation in sport and delivering healthier minds and bodies. The facility has also hosted a number of community events including a Summer Fair and Sports Day and is being offered as a new training venue for local sports clubs to train on.
One of the school's pupils commented:
“I love it because in Year 3 I couldn’t run very well but now I am really fast!”