Northern Ireland

King's Park Primary School in Lurgan introduces 'daily mile' scheme

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Media captionThe scheme is aimed at improving the fitness of pupils

A Lurgan primary school has become one of the first in Northern Ireland to introduce a 'daily mile' scheme, getting all its pupils to walk or run a mile every day.

All 700 pupils at King's Park Primary School from primary one to primary seven take part.

The extra 15 minutes of exercise a day is in addition to normal PE lessons.

Image caption All 700 pupils at King's Park Primary School from Primary One to Primary Seven take part

The "daily mile" was originally introduced in Scotland and aims to improve pupils' health and fitness.

King's Park's head of PE Nicola Thompson said that it was an inclusive activity with many benefits.

"It's non-competitive, and every child can run the mile or build up by walking a little bit or jogging a little bit," she said.

Image caption King's Park's head of PE Nicola Thompson said that it was an inclusive activity with many benefits.

"I have a primary four class and they love it.

"First thing in the morning they'll ask me when they are doing their mile.

"We also said to the parents and the children not to see the weather as a barrier, so even on colder or wet days we just get our coats on and get out there."

Image caption The extra 15 minutes of exercise a day is in addition to normal PE lessons

The daily exercise is not timetabled; teachers take their classes out at a time they feel is best.

Parents have also supported the scheme, and the school's principal Terry Shields said that teachers have also noticed benefits in the classroom.

"Part of the idea is to boost their social and emotional wellbeing too," he said.

Image caption Parents have also supported the scheme, and the school's principal Terry Shields says that teachers have also noticed benefits in the classroom.

"It does, we think, reflect on their work during the day.

"We've seen a big change and a big improvement in the children's behaviour and discipline generally in class and around school.

"All the children without exception have bought into it."

The school began running at the start of May.

If feedback from parents, pupils and teachers is positive, King's Park say they will continue with their daily mile when the new school year begins in September.