Academics at Loughborough University have partnered with Public Health England to produce a series of briefings on active mile school initiatives.
In collaboration with Public Health England and funded by Research England, the briefings were prepared by Dr Anna Chalkley, and supported by Dr Jo Harris and Professor Lorraine Cale as well as Dr Lauren Sherar who was also involved on the steering group contributing to the development of these resources.
Active mile initiatives are initiatives that support pupils to be active during the school day by providing regular opportunities for them to move around a marked route for a dedicated period of time (for example 15 minutes) and at a self-directed pace. It is thought that by moving continuously for this amount of time, most children will accumulate the equivalent distance of approximately one mile. As such, they have been termed as active mile initiatives.
These documents provide guidance for public health teams, commissioners, schools, headteachers and teachers to explain the evidence on active mile initiatives. They also provide practical ideas for those considering starting an active mile initiative and those already delivering who are searching for ideas to invigorate and refresh their programmes.
The evidence reviewed indicates that active mile initiatives:
- are intuitively appealing to schools as a means of providing regular physical activity and have high levels of acceptability among teachers and pupils.
- provide a simple physical activity opportunity, which are suitable for all ages and are inclusive
- can make a meaningful contribution to the in school delivery of 30 active minutes per day and the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation of an average of at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day across the week
- can contribute to improvements in children’s health and wellbeing if implemented as part of a whole school approach to physical activity
- should provide an additional opportunity to be active during the school day, they are not equivalent to and should not replace Physical Education.