Five years on since Elaine Wyllie introduced the Daily Mile challenge to St Ninian’s primary school in Stirling, teachers across Scotland and internationally have been inspired to adopt the Daily Mile in their schools.

The Daily Mile concept is a great example of innovation in Scottish schools that has been successfully introduced in schools throughout the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In January this year, researchers at Essex University demonstrated the positive impact of the Daily Mile in improving attainment as well as self-esteem and wellbeing.  The study found that children in an East London school who had participated in the 15 minutes a day of exercise had performed 25% better than predicted in reading and maths in SATS tests and 17% better in writing.

In an interview with Holyrood Magazine, the Daily Mile originator Ms Whylie noted:

“Behaviour across classes and focus improved. Self-esteem, confidence, and all the individuals with challenging behaviour improved…

“Teachers and head teachers know health and wellbeing comes before their learning. Yet we’re presiding over children who, on our watch, get slower and fatter as they go through school. It’s very much a case of if not us, then who, if not now, then, when?”

Commenting, Fulton MacGregor MSP, who sits on Holyrood’s Education Committee, said:

“It is a fantastic achievement that over 1,000 primary schools across Scotland have recognised the benefits of the Daily Mile challenge – a great example of innovation in Scottish education that has gained international acclaim.

“The Daily Mile challenge sees children walking or running a mile each day to develop their physical, emotional and social health, and helps to fight childhood obesity.  A study by Essex University earlier this year found that participants of the Daily Mile programme did better than expected in classroom tests simply by getting active.

“Not only is there a wealth of positive benefits in the short-term – the Daily Mile challenge also encourages children to pick up healthy habits that will hopefully stay with them for life.

“The Scottish Government is committed to making sure as many children participate as possible in this great example of Scottish innovation, to one day become a Daily Mile Nation.”

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