The value of athletics in primary schools cannot be over-looked. It has the potential to influence individuals, schools, and communities into adopting a healthier lifestyle.
It’s often a dream of young people to emulate sports stars and professional athletes. Whilst following in their footsteps is a challenging task, the values and principles children pick up whilst participating in sports and replicating their role models stays with them for a lifetime.
The Golden Mile is the perfect introduction for primary school children who want to take their first steps . The programme is available nationally and is designed to engage kids of all abilities, providing an enjoyable opportunity for pupils to exercise with friends whilst enhancing their physical and mental development.
The objective is quite simple – to encourage the nation’s children into walking, jogging or running up to a mile a day regularly.
Primary schools like Cotford St Luke, based in Taunton, Somerset, see the Golden Mile as a great opportunity to encourage pupils to get on-board. Organised and implemented by Premier Education, an inter-school cross country tournament was held using the Golden Mile as a vehicle to deliver 3 separate boys’ and girls’ races. 114 children from 17 primary schools in the Taunton and Tiverton areas participated and saw students from KS1, LKS2 and UKS2 compete.
Participants of the cross-country event were selected from local schools in the area using Golden Mile data. Base Line Measurement data were used as a tool to identify students with the best performing running statistics. Students with the most impressive scores, recorded during their assessments for Golden Mile BLM’s, were then invited to the 1-day event to contest against other top performers.
Children in Reception, Years 1 & 2 competed in the 800-metre race whilst Years 3 & 4 ran 1200-metres. Years 5 & 6 took on the longest track event, each child running 1500-metres.
Parents were allowed to attend the event, creating a sports day-like atmosphere. Cheers and claps of support were heard from the side-lines, boosting the motivation and drive for each child sprinting around the grass track. Some children invited up to 8 family members to watch their races, highlighting the significance of the event and how much it meant to each child.
Winners of each race were awarded with a trophy and 2nd/3rd place children took home medals to signify their achievements and inspire them to challenge themselves in more competitive competitions in the future.
On the back of the event, Andrew Overhill, franchisee of Premier Education Taunton & Mid-Devon, South and East Bristol, has urged more schools to consider incorporating The Golden Mile in their sports curriculum as he emphasises how the reward system can help boost children’s confidence. “Children have the opportunity of receiving certificates based on their achievements and if they take ownership of the GM themselves, they can really progress it in their school.”
The scheme requires very-little input from schools as sessions are held by Premier Education’s expert coaches within the safety of the school gates, either in-school hours or as an extra-curricular activity.
Andrew, who has been delivering The Golden Mile for over 10 years, explains how schools that currently use the programme benefit from its involvement.
“Schools appreciate the product and have grown in confidence using it as a lever to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.”
He continues by adding, “The programme requires very-few pieces of equipment from those who deliver, making it easily accessible and manageable to run.”
Teachers, pupils, and parents are able to keep track of progress through an interactive website, making progress simple to monitor.
By setting easy, attainable targets and distributing rewards as recognition of outstanding performance, the programme is guaranteed to boost child health and self-esteem whilst producing future sporting talents ready to compete at the highest level.
Currently in the UK, around 27% of children are now overweight with research suggesting that the main problem is a continual reduction in the amount of exercise children take.
Premier Education uses The Golden Mile, with the support of schools across the UK, to work in-line with government anti-obesity initiatives. They aim to reduce childhood obesity rates, recognise positive behaviour with tangible rewards, encourage healthy eating and educate children by using sporting values. The goal is to not only encourage children to improve their health and fitness, but to also deliver fun experiences whilst establishing personal achievements and receiving prizes as a reward for outstanding progress.
Learn more about The Golden Mile.