It was a simple idea that started in Scotland in 2012. Elaine Wyllie, Headmistress of St Ninian's Primary School in Stirling, realised that her pupils, like many others, were unfit so she started going outside with her classes to run around the school field for just 15 minutes a day, to increase their fitness and concentration. On measuring the circumference of the school path, five laps was was one mile.
Three years later in Oct 2015 Elaine Wyllie and her school became well known as the effects of the daily mile started to show in pupils’ fitness, obesity levels, concentration and wellbeing.
So now, through collaboration between the Health Education Service and the University of Birmingham we are inviting all primary and junior schools in south Birmingham and north Bromsgrove to take part in a new RCT (Randomised Control Trial) study to assess to evaluate the effectiveness of getting children to run or walk a mile (about 15 minutes) a day, on their overall health and well-being.
What the study involves
We want to recruit 40 primary or junior schools to take part in this study (half the schools will be in the control group and half the school will be in the intervention group).
We plan to evaluate the programme by doing measures on children who will are in years 3 and 5 in January 2017.
The children will be assessed at three time points, in several ways. This includes physical measurements such as height, weight, % body fat, fitness levels, and a questionnaire to assess their sense of well-being.
Teachers of children in all the classes will also be asked to complete a short questionnaire, including questions that measure their well-being.
Children in the intervention schools will be asked to work with school staff to map out a track within the school grounds. Then, every day, children from each class, at random times of the day, will be encouraged to walk or run this track. This will happen irrespective of the weather or season. The aim is for all children to achieve 15 minutes additional physical activity per day. More information can be seen on the Daily Mile website .
The study will run over 1 calendar year from January 2017 to January 2018 and is an RCT so half the schools will be in the control group and half the school will be in the intervention group.
What participating schools will be asked to do.
- Facilitate distribution of consent letters to parents.
- Provide an appropriate venue for researchers to undertake height and weight measurements.
- Provide information on children whose parents have not opted out of participation in the study, or opted out of the school providing information about their child (this information will include date of birth, ethnicity and postcode).
- Facilitate children coming out of class to be measured
- Facilitate a test to measure children’s fitness levels
- Facilitate children to complete the online wellbeing questionnaire
- Provide an short teacher assessment of academic performance for each child taking part
- Complete a questionnaire on current whole school health and wellbeing initiatives
- Facilitate staff completing short health and wellbeing questionnaire
For schools receiving the intervention programme:
- Identify staff to help with working with the children to map the track to run a mile.
- Champion the daily mile initiative and publicise this to the children
- Schedule time each day for each class to do the daily mile activity
For schools in the control group:
- Continue with current practice and provision in healthy lifestyles and not start any new initiatives until after the study is completed.
Links to the Be Healthy Schools programme and Childhood Obesity Plan
This study links very closely with the core themes in the Be Healthy Schools programme, particularly healthy eating, physical activity, and emotional health and wellbeing and is part of the recommendations of the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan of children enjoying 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
All information will be kept confidential and no individual staff or children will be identified to anyone outside of the research team. At the end of the evaluation, we will be pleased to send you a summary of the research findings. .
How to get involved
Information for Schools
Please download the Parent Consent Letter.
This study is part of the Move More Eat Well programme which includes Sport Birmingham, Health Education Service, Garden Organic and Sustrans, and supported by Birmingham City Council to bring plenty of fun and active events, workshops, volunteer opportunities to the Longbridge, Rubery, Cofton and Northfield areas