Commission helps launch 'the Blanchelande Blast'

Blanchelande College pupils will start their school day with a brisk walk or run at least twice a week as teachers launch ‘the Blanchelande Blast’, a version of The Daily Mile. Designed to energise children ahead of their lessons and support an island-wide commitment to increasing children’s physical activity levels from an early age, juniors and infants will take to their school field two mornings a week. Their efforts were picked up by Daily Mile UK!

We wanted to introduce an additional 15 minutes of activity for children on a regular basis. You can tell the children genuinely enjoy getting out in the fresh air, even if the sun isn’t shining. By doing our run first thing at 850am, it doesn’t disrupt their learning. In fact, teachers are finding that by doing some brisk exercise, the children are more alert and set up for the day ahead

Mark Allison, Blanchelande College Year 6 Teacher

The Blanchelande Blast involves the children jogging or running, at their own pace, for 15 minutes during the school day at a time of the school’s choosing. Children from a dozen or so schools in The Bailiwick of Guernsey have previously reported that they regularly enjoy The Daily Mile. The Health Improvement Commission is currently working on developing a new framework for a whole-school approach to physical activity. There is no one solution to increasing activity levels, and we are working with schools to think about physical activity as broadly as possible, from walking, cycling or scooting to or from school, active school lessons, active play and informal activity, to high quality PE and sport. The Daily Mile is one such contributor.

The children were obviously enjoying themselves, and because they can all go at their own pace, it is a really inclusive activity. We’d encourage schools to continue with, or look to reintroduce this initiative, adapting it to their pupil’s requirements and making it a fundamental element of the children’s school experience.

Alex Costen, Active Travel Officer for the Health Improvement Commission

A recent study by the Commission revealed that 44% of children in years 4 and 6 met recommended guidelines of an average of 60 minutes moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. Activity levels declined with age and fewer girls met the guidelines. Blanchelande College also operates a scheme whereby children record how they travel to school and those who travel actively at least once a week receive a badge, made from recycled yoghurt pots. The Wow Challenge, run by national charity Living Streets, aims to energise and empower children to make walking to school their natural choice. Mr Allison said that they had seen the number of children walking to school as opposed to take a car, increase by about a third this year already, with an option for parents to drop children at The Last Post or St Andrew’s Church walk the remainder of the distance.

Photographs courtesy of The Guernsey Press