Coten End's Big Debate
At Coten End, we are committed to promoting healthier lifestyles and we have been looking for ways to further increase physical activity levels during the school day. One idea that we have been considering is introducing The Daily Mile, a popular, free initiative which promotes physical activity. Each day, children run or jog at their own pace for 15 minutes (approximately 1 mile) in the fresh air with their friends. It aims to increase fitness levels, promote healthy lifestyle choices and increase concentration levels in the classroom.
Here at Coten End, we took a very democratic approach to deciding whether our school should implement the Daily Mile: we took it to a pupil vote! Last half term, children in KS1 and KS2 practised articulating and justifying their views about key moral issues in PSHE lessons. We decided that a whole-school debate was the perfect way to showcase their newfound debating skills and ensure that the voice of all pupils was heard.
On Wednesday 10th April, children from Year 1 to 6 were split into two assemblies. We were lucky to welcome two inspirational guest speakers who spoke to the children about the importance of physical exercise (Helen Wyatt - a Coten End parent who is a keen and accomplished marathon runner and Justin Mullis - a family lifestyle advisor from WCC's 'Change Makers' programme). At each assembly, a representative from each year group created a debating team who argued for or against the motion. We were also lucky to be joined by some members of the Myton School public speaking team who gave our children some top tips on debating skills. Each group spoke with passion about their reasons to either support or oppose the decision to introduce the initiative at Coten End. We also had some insightful contributions from members of the audience at the end of the debate in both halls.
Following the debate, all pupils went back to their classrooms and completed a ballot card, showing whether they thought the whole school should start the Daily Mile after the Easter break. After the votes had been counted, it was revealed that children had voted in favour of introducing the Daily Mile, by quite a large margin! Therefore we are looking forward to starting the initiative in the Summer Term. After it has been established, the School Council will monitor its success and get feedback from each class about its implementation. During the debate, the children also came up with lots of other creative ways to increase physical activity levels and we are also keen to try out some of these as well.
As well as making an important decision about how our school can increase physical activity levels, the event was a fantastic way to help our children learn about democracy and we are confident that we have discovered a few politicians of the future!
As well as enjoying the challenges presented through a range of interesting learning themes, our curriculum is further enriched by stimulating educational visits and visitors and creative themed days. Teachers also aim to maximise the opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.