What is The Daily Mile and how did it begin?

The aim of The Daily Mile is simple – to improve children’s health and wellbeing by walking, jogging or running with their friends, outside in the fresh air, for 15 minutes each day in school. Elaine Wyllie, the head teacher from St Ninian’s School in Stirling founded The Daily Mile to improve the physical, mental and social health and wellbeing of children in her school. Teachers take their classes out at a time of their choosing and it only takes 15 minutes. It’s simple – the pupils don’t get changed, it gets them out of their seats and gives them an opportunity to go outside and socialise within their school community. www.thedailymile.co.uk

Why Old Spot and what is Old Spot’s Trail?

Old Spot is our School Games Mascot and last year our piggy friend was taken on a virtual tour of Europe by over 10,000 pupils in 1 in 4 of all primary schools across the county. This year we are inviting school children to take Old Spot on a Top to Tail adventure from John O’Groats to Lands End. The challenge is for each class in Gloucestershire to walk or run the length of the county with Old Spot during a 12-week period, from March to June.

What are the benefits to our school?

The Daily Mile has numerous benefits to pupils, whether they run, walk or jog. Its impact can be transformational — improving not only the children’s fitness, but also their concentration levels, mood, behaviour and general wellbeing. Recent evidence also suggests that doing a Daily Mile improves attainment.

What is the feedback from Gloucestershire schools already participating in the daily mile?

With more than 60 schools from across the county already participating in The Daily Mile, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

See here for thoughts from pupils, teachers and parents

See here for our Gloucestershire impact report 

“I remember in staff meetings quite early on, talking to a member of staff who was a bit apprehensive about missing time from the curriculum. But when I questioned her towards the end of the year, she said there is no way she would go back to not doing it. She has seen such a positive impact on her class – both in fitness, resilience and attitude to work. For us, it’s here to stay.”

(Mark Bacon, Head Teacher Churchdown Village Junior School)

“The greatest impact has been on the less active. They have improved fitness and attitudes to exercise.” (Head teacher, St Lawrence Ce Lechlade)

“Since we implemented the daily mile, we’ve had the largest uptake of club places in over 10 years.”

Mr Sissons, Callowell Primary School


Who can take part in Old Spot’s Trail?

Students and teachers from any primary school in Gloucestershire are invited to take part in the challenge, regardless of age or ability.

How do schools fit The Daily Mile into their school day?

There are numerous different approaches to The Daily Mile. Some schools like to timetable it into the school day, so that all teachers and students know when it will be taking place. Other schools leave it up to individual teachers to determine when to do it. The Daily Mile Foundation recommends that you empower class teachers and teaching assistants to choose – they know their classes best and can respond to the children’s energy and concentration levels throughout the day.

Won’t it tire them out and stop them doing their schoolwork?

Quite the opposite! There is a proven link between daily physical activity and raised attainment rates. We’ve found that once established as a routine, children come back in rosy-cheeked and ready to focus.

What do schools need to do?
  1. Sign up to the Old Spot Trail and let us know how many forms are participating.
  2. Measure a looped, child-pleasing route on your school grounds, preferably so that 5-10 laps equals a mile in distance. We will also send you an easy to use spreadsheet which will allow you to record the number of miles walked or run each day
  3. Complete a simple Risk Assessment of the route
  4. Measure the miles covered by your students and teachers (see info below).
  5. Optional: Appoint and train year 5 students and agree a process for them to input the distance covered each day. There is the option to use our template spreadsheet.
  6. Every form entered into the Old Spot Trail will be mailed a large A2 map of the route to display in each form room. All schools that have signed up will be sent their Old Spot Trail pack by the third week after half term You simply need to print out the map and image of Old Spot and then move Old Spot along the route as you run/walk/complete the required distance.
  7. Communicate to parents about the Challenge. There is a template letter included on our website.
  8. Promote your news / images / Old Spot stories using our social medal channels @oldspotstrail
When does it take place?

This challenge will run for 12 weeks from the 12th of March to the 22nd of June 2018

How do we measure how far we have run?

Calculate how many laps of your route make up a mile in distance (ideally between 5-10 laps to a mile). We have included a simple spreadsheet on our website that you can download and use to track the miles. You will have a sticker you can add to the Top to Tail map or every 110 miles you complete.

How far do we have to collectively run/walk?

Each form is collectively challenged to walk/run 874 miles, the equivalent of walking/running from John O’Groats to Lands End

Can we run further than the required route?

Yes! If you have very active students, please do encourage pupils to take Old Spot to alternative places in the UK – and beyond!

Do pupils have to complete a mile a day?

Old Spot’s Trail is about a collective effort and ideally each student will complete a mile a day. The Old Spot Trail is completely flexible to fit with the needs of your school and therefore some schools may stagger the challenge so that the youngest students run for a shorter time and/or a shorter distance.

Does every student need to take part?

Experiences from other schools show that it is possible for students from any year group to walk or run a daily mile, although it is up to each school to determine how best to set up the challenge. Every child should be encouraged to take part. In our experience, all children, even those who are reluctant to take part in P.E. lessons, enjoy participating. In recent cases, The Daily Mile has been implemented for children with additional support needs with great success.

Do we need to get changed into PE kit for the daily mile?

Most schools tend not to lose time by getting changed for The Daily Mile. Pupils can walk or run in their school uniform with sensible school shoes. Some schools ask pupils to change into trainers.

How much does it cost?

The Old Spot Trail is free to all primary schools.

What can we win?

All schools that sign up to participate receive a free Old Spot’s Trail pack. This includes your Old Spot’s Top to Tail map. All classes that successfully complete the trail will be entered into a draw to win some fantastic prizes, including a visit by Old Spot to run the mile with you, or a free physical activity afternoon in your school.

What do parents think of the daily mile?

It is important to communicate clearly to parents about The Daily Mile campaign. You can reassure them that 15 minutes of activity a day has been proven to make the children more productive and alert in lessons, as well as having significant wider health benefits. Active Gloucestershire will assist you by providing a template letter, which can be found on our website.

What is the long term aim? Is it sustainable?

The aim is that by using a fun, free and rewarding campaign like Old Spot’s Trail, schools encourage their pupils to participate in exercise on a daily basis. Schools already participating in The Daily Mile have all commented how quickly and easily the mile becomes a really beneficial part of the school day. Our long-term aim is that all schools in Gloucestershire embed The Daily Mile into their daily school routine, so every pupil can experience the benefits of being more physically active.