Interview - Dr Gemma Ryde

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Dr Ryde led a study exploring how The Daily Mile, an initiative that encourages nurseries and primary schools to take children outside to run 15 minutes every day, has been successfully implemented

interview

Dr Gemma Ryde

WHAT DID YOUR RESEARCH FIND?

Our study found that having simple core intervention components (walk, jog, run), flexible delivery that supports teacher autonomy and being adaptable to suit the specific primary school context appear to be key aspects of The Daily Mile that are related to its implementation success. Other factors relating to how The Daily Mile was developed, trialled and rolled out might also have contributed towards its successful implementation.

The findings are based upon interviews with staff from four primary schools in Scotland who had a significant role in implementing the initiative. We asked them about how The Daily Mile was delivered at their school and what barriers and benefits they had encountered.

DID THE FINDINGS SURPRISE YOU?

We were aware of previous research from school-based physical activity interventions that showed similar findings to ours, so this was not too surprising. However, one thing that we had not anticipated was how The Daily Mile could be interpreted as an actual mile and not 15 minutes of activity as intended. This is a key point for others wishing to implement The Daily Mile as one school who implemented an actual mile had difficulties with implementation related to the different times it took each child to complete a mile.

WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION FOR THE SCHOOLS TO IMPLEMENT THE INITIATIVE?

The people we spoke to were largely aware of the benefits of physical activity for children. The Daily Mile provided them with a workable example of what they could do to help get the children more active, and that motivated them to take part in the scheme. In most cases, the teachers, pupils or parents wanted the school to take part and this offered an additional incentive to start The Daily Mile.

DO YOU THINK OTHER NURSERIES/SCHOOLS WILL NOW BE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE UP THE DAILY MILE?

This research aimed to provide information on what to consider for others who are wanting to start The Daily Mile in order to increase the likelihood of it being a success in other schools. Hopefully this will encourage others to take part in The Daily Mile as they can see what some schools have already tried. To support this, we have developed the ‘how to, why to’ guide, which provides more practical advice on what schools have considered when implementing The Daily Mile, including setting up and managing the route, which we hope will be useful to them.

Also contributing to the research were Dr Colin Moran, Dr Naomi Brooks and Ross Chesham from the University of Stirling, Dr Josie Booth from the University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education, and Dr Trish Gorely from the University of the Highlands and Islands.

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