St Brendan’s N.S. – Co. Kerry, Ireland

St Brendan’s N.S.

Fact File

  • Where we’re based: Blennerville, Tralee in Republic of Ireland
  • School roll: 181 students
  • Month/Year we started The Daily Mile: October 2017

Mr Terry O’Sullivan, Principal, talks us through St. Brendan N.S. Primary School’s experience of The Daily Mile, thus far.

The Daily Mile initiative in our school has been supported by the Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership. Through the programme facilitator Martina Lawless and Cora Carrig the implementation of the programme has been seamless.

A brief description of your school?

Our school is a brand new building, in the picturesque village of Blennerville, which we moved into in January 2016. It is on the Dingle Peninsular, in the South-West of Ireland, and we have a beautiful sea-view. It was worth the wait for our new building. We now have an indoor PE hall and an outdoor basketball court, things we do not take for granted, having been in a very cramped building and water-logged yard prior to 2016.

How many, and which, children in your school complete The Daily Mile?

181 out of 181 children take part in The Daily Mile. Like all schools, we have children with medical needs, from type 1 diabetes to asthma to hemophilia, but they all make an effort to complete The Daily Mile every day.

How do you do your Daily Mile?

Each classroom was allocated a 15 minute slot during the school day, either first thing in the morning, or either side of break times, so there is never a huge group out running. Children are told which direction they should run, and we change this from day to day, just to spice things up! Children line up when they are done and, after a final headcount, go back into class for much needed hydration.

Please, describe your school’s experience of The Daily Mile to date.

We have had such a positive experience with The Daily Mile initiative. Children ask eagerly, “When are we doing The Daily Mile?” and never allow the teacher to forget. It can be a welcome bit of fresh air after hard work, and can simply clear your head of the cobwebs.

We made up a motto “The Daily Mile will make you smile”, believing that it lifts the mood of the children and teachers. Children who are usually reserved in class have surprised teachers with chat on this informal jog and you wouldn’t believe the amount of children that have learnt how to tell time, by simply waiting for their daily 15 minutes of running to arrive. Senior infants have been known to remind their teacher at 12.15PM, “Teacher! It’s time for The Daily Mile!” There have been days where the weather has been unkind, but we just zip up our coats and get on with it! During stormy weather, we put down four cones in the school hall, and ran circuits there instead, as the children simply didn’t want to miss their daily running slots.

A child from 4th class, Gráinne, who is a member of our Health Promoting School Commitee was assigned the important job of changing the date and distance ran every day on a noticeboard we have at the school entrance. To date, we have run 93 miles. We have marked milestones, such as: We have run as far as Killarney!, We have run a marathon!, We have run as far as Limerick!, etc. It’s great to see such positive statements and children are encouraged by all this positivity. At 100 miles, the entire school is going to be awarded an “Off homework” night.

What has been the impact on the children’s learning, concentration and focus?

Since starting The Daily Mile, we have noticed a very positive effect on children’s learning, concentration and focus, especially when run first thing in the morning, surprisingly. When asked ‘What your favourite thing at school is?’, the children agreed it was The Daily Mile.

What has been the impact on the children’s behaviour and mood?

We do believe it has helped with better behaviour and mood. It has given our older classes the confidence to enter a Cross Country running event, something we hadn’t tried before this year.

Can you tell us about any successful links you have made between The Daily Mile and your curriculum?

Our 5th class teacher, Mrs Moynihan, measured the distance around our school building with a trundle-wheel prior to starting The Daily Mile, and worked out, during a Maths lesson with her class, that 7 circuits around the school was equal to one exact mile. This just one of the links we made with The Daily Mile and our school curriculum.

Do you have any tips for other schools looking to get started?

We would recommend, for schools getting started with The Daily Mile, to begin with jogging 2 laps of the school, followed by 3 the next day. We found that walking one and jogging one was also a great tip, as younger children have a tendency to go ‘hell for leather’ and run until they get exhausted. We would recommend that you let parents know the importance of good running shoes, properly tied, to be worn every day with the uniform, and a waterproof coat. We found also that the children drank a lot more water after The Daily Mile, so increase the quantity given in drink beakers.

Any other comments?

Children’s fitness has certainly improved. The children who walked The Daily Mile last October are now jogging it with ease.

We have a page on our school website dedicated to all things sporty called our Active HPS page. We post photographs monthly of class ‘winners’ of “Runner of the Month” on this page.

“Our terrific runner in Senior Infants even pulls up his pants to his knees so his uniform will look like real runners’ shorts!”

Any feedback from parents, the school or teachers?

Mr Terry O’Sullivan, Principal – “I can say with confidence that, for Blennerville school, there is no going back. We tried this as a pilot school and have embraced it wholeheartedly. The Daily Mile is here to stay. It’s a winner!”


Facebook: Blennerville National School

Visit St. Brendan’s N.S. Primary School’s website for more information