Coppermile is an exciting new project designed to combat the rise of childhood obesity by providing regular bouts of physical activity for primary school children. It also improves self-esteem and behaviour and classroom attentiveness.
It was inspired by Elaine Wylie’s Daily Mile at St Ninian’s Primary School in Sterling. The Coppermile project involves pupils from Coppermill Primary School leaving their lessons three times a week to walk, jog or run around a 340m grass track for fifteen minutes that is marked out on the adjacent Douglas Eyre Sports Centre.
The 2016 pilot project measured the impact of the increased exercise on the physical fitness, mental well-being and classroom behaviour of seventy-six Year 5 and 6 pupils. The evaluation was led by Fitmedia Fitness who undertook testing before, during and after the summer term using the Cooper 12 minute run and a bespoke personal self-efficacy and well-being questionnaire. In addition, the Coppermill staff recorded the children’s behaviour and classroom attentiveness.
Testing took place over a period of twelve weeks, with noticeable improvements in the following:
• Fitness - the average distance run by pupils increased by 19%, with the average fitness percentile increasing from 37% to 64%.
• Self-esteem - the average scores for the self-esteem, physical self-efficacy and well-being and satisfaction questionnaires improved between one to three points
• Classroom attentiveness - teachers reported that children appeared more focused in class and more resilient when completing tasks.
The three-month pilot project demonstrated how a simple low cost physical activity initiative can significantly improve the physical health and well-being of primary school pupils. By having a shared vision and a clear idea of what success looks like and how it can be measured, the project also highlights the importance of partnership working. What made it work was commitment from the Head Teacher, staff and pupils, easy access to a safe and clearly marked track and a simple measurement methodology.
The introduction of a daily period of exercise, where pupils can perform at their own level and with no special clothing or equipment requirements, shows how easy it is to overcome the traditional barriers to participation in physical activity. With encouragement from staff and peers, a significant number of children improved their fitness levels and the school reported improved behaviour and better than anticipated SATS results.
The Coppermile pilot project evaluation report is available for download here:Evaluation Report