News and Press Releases

London, UK. Running a mile a day can help children do better in reading, writing, (running) and maths

In January this year, a study by Fitmedia showed that children who ran a mile a day at school achieved up to 25% higher than expected in reading, writing and maths. They were also fitter, more confident and behaved better in class.

The Daily Mile ethos is taking off in a big way as one school in North London have already started to see the benefits of this daily mile. They are in full training for the YMCA One Mile Children’s Fun Run on Sunday 21st May 2017. The runners, dubbed the ‘Mighty Milers’, jog, walk or run for 15 minutes before lessons start every school day, with the aim of completing the YMCA’s One Mile race as their goal. The YMCA North London’s annual Adult 10k and Children’s fun runs has evolved over the last 26 years in to one of the largest community events in North London, and continues to grow in popularity and attendance every year (http://www.ymcanorthlondon.org.uk/ymca-north-london-fun-run-festival/).

Children have been taking part in the YMCA annual run for a long time, and Fitmedia have recently tested a school who were doing a ‘Daily Mile’ to see the benefit of taking part in daily sporting activities in the form of running, walking or jogging a mile a day through a variety of exercise tests. Fitmedia released the findings of their scientific study and showed that before the daily mile, over half the kids they tested were ‘unfit’ but after 15-weeks of the daily mile less than one fifth were still unfit. Additionally, the school reported that the daily mile made their students more focused, attentive and ready to work – hence this remarkable increase in attainment in school tests. This study by Fitmedia shows the benefits of being physically active go far beyond just improving fitness.

Fitter kids are smarter kids we can prove it… says Fitmedia Director Sheila Forster

Fitmedia Ltd is delighted to announce the appointment of Gary McGaghey and James Cotton, to the Board of Fitmedia as Non-Executive Directors.

Non-executive board members are experts from inside and outside the industry who provide challenge and oversight to the board in developing the company.

Sheila Forster says “I am delighted that Gary and James are joining the Board.  They have significant financial and commercial expertise, and wide ranging experience in growing and expanding businesses. The appointments to the board highlight Fitmedia’s aim to expand and to bring effective evaluation to the education and physical activity sector. Our new board members are ideally placed to help us build a long term plan to grow Fitmedia Ltd and ensure that we deliver a successful strategy.

Gary McGaghey

Gary McGaghey is an International Commercial CFO with an exemplary track record of delivering increased shareholder value. Gary brings with him more than 20 years’ experience in mid cap and multi-national fast moving consumer goods and pharma companies.He is currently the Group CFO of Nelsons & Co, a UK based multinational pharma company, after spending more than 15 years at Unilever in a variety of senior finance roles globally.

His expertise in delivering optimal results includes; shaping business strategy to deliver sustainable top and bottom line growth, financial restructuring, M&Aand business transformation. He brings with him a broad range of commercial experiences both inside and outside of the finance function, as well as deep experience in corporate governance.

Gary said:“I am hugely excited by the opportunity to work with Fitmedia to drive the next stage of its growth agenda, building on the successes to date. Bringing new technologies to unlock the needs for health and nutrition in the younger generation, is an inspiring agenda to be part of, setting the foundations of sustainable wellbeing into adult life.

James Cotton

James brings over 15 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.  He isa results-driven professional with a background in providing hands-on leadership, direction, and focus for business growth.He former positions included a start-up business which included heading up the operations and growth of one of UK’s largest franchise leisure brand to over 100 health clubs.

James joins Fitmedia whilst owning and managing a successful leisure consultancy company. Prior to this, James spent over 6 years at Anytime Fitness UK & Ireland gaining experience at Director level managing elements such as operations, marketing, sales and compliance.

James said “Fitmedia are a forward thinking company, whom have the best interests in developing and improving the nation’s health by enabling schools, parents and children with the information to promote increases in physical activity”.

The two new appointments will add to the current Non-Executive Director, Andy Sutch, the former Director of Business in Sport and Leisure and Chairman of Panathlon.


Contact Information

For more information, please contact Sheila Forster at sheila@fitmediafitness.co.uk or 07979 654319.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

  • Fitmedia is a specialist fitness company which analyses children’s fitness and wellbeing. It helps schools and children monitor their physical literacy and fitness over time. It provided the first full evaluation of the Daily Mile in primary schools in 2016. Fitmedia’s systems are based on unique technology which assesses a child’s fitness levels and healthbased on where they should be for their age and sex(For more information, seefitmediafitness.co.uk)
  • James Cotton james@360degreesolutions.co.uk, Tel: 079743 4682] 
  • Gary McGaghey –For more information, please contact Sheila Forster at sheila@fitmediafitness.co.uk or 07979 654319.

The Association for Physical Education(afPE) and Fitmedia have joined forces to createa bespoke resource to help support the teaching of physical competence in primary schools.

Together they have developed Lesson Support Cards, showing primary school teachers how to easily teach fundamental movement skills.

The cards enable teachers, irrespective of their background in physical education (PE), to teach and improve the basic building blocks of physical activity, such as throwing, catching, running and jumping.

The lesson support cards will be launched on September 26th on National Fitness day at:  Prior Weston Primary School & Children's Centre, Golden Lane Campus 101 Whitecross Street, London EC1Y 8JA, from 1-15pm -3.30pm.

Sheila Forster MA, MD of Fitmedia, said:

‘We are delighted to have collaborated with afPE to produce this great resource for primary schools.  Without fundamental movement skills, children struggle to take part in any kind of physical activity, and watching children struggle to do simple things like catch a ball made us realise how physical literacy is declining among children.  Effective teaching is at the heart of inspiration, and we are delighted to play a part in inspiring the next generation to greater levels of activity, participation and enjoyment.”

Sue Wilkinson MBE, CEO of afPE, said:

‘We believe that high quality teaching is what inspires children and young people to learn. Teachers with excellent knowledge and understanding will drive standards to improve attainment. From our experience of designing and development teachers’ and the wider workforce materials, we know that there is a significant impact on pupil outcomes. By

developing teachers’ skills in areas such as ‘improving physical competence’ we will see greater progress, through more confident pupils who will also continue to achieve their maximum potential. We are delighted to be able to work in partnership to support the workforce that is trying to address physical and emotional well being that if we achieve this will impact on improved attainment for all.’

Research has shown that physical literacy is declining in the UK, with some pupils starting secondary school without even knowing how to catch or throw.  A survey by Virgin Active found that nearly half of primary school pupils are leaving school without the basic movement skills to engage in physical activity, whilst a third leave unable to swim.

The vast majority of teachers recognise PE is as important as the other subjects they teach.  And studies from Britain, Europe and the US have shown that improving core skills can impact positively on academic achievement.

However, teachers often feel they do not have the experience to teach PE effectively.  The Virgin Active survey found that a third of teachers lack confidence when it comes to teaching PE, while over a quarter said they don't feel adequately qualified to teach the subject and more than half want more professional development opportunities for PE

And with many primary schools lacking the resources for a PE specialist, it is difficult for head teachers to know what quality and effective PE looks like.

The lesson cards from afPE and Fitmedia are a simple and practical way for educators to deliver effective PE to their children. They contain 11 lessons, each focussed on a different fundamental movement skill, such as catching, throwing, jumping or running.  Each card shows how to teach that skill and activities to practice it.

The cards are handy and easy to use, and are specifically designed for Key Stage 1 children, whether they are learning the skills for the first time or consolidating previously learned skills. They can also be used with older children, to reinforce their existing learning or as warm up activities before games.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Sheila Forster at sheila@fitmediafitness.co.uk or 07979 654319.

Sue Wilkinson at Sue.Wilkinson@afpe.org.uk or 07887 681 678.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

  • Fitmedia is a specialist fitness company which provides fitness assessment, analysis and services for schools, clubs and sports organisations, to enable children and their coaches to test, monitor and improve their overall fitness. Its unique technology allows it to assess a child’s fitness levels and health based on where they should be for their age and sex (for more information, see fitmediafitness.co.uk).
  • The Association for Physical Education is the only physical education subject association in the UK. Its purpose is to promote and maintain high standards and safe practice in all aspects and at all levels of physical education, influencing developments in physical education at national and local levels.  It provides and resources, and valuable professional support for members and the teaching profession through a range of high quality professional development opportunities, regular updates, member journals (for more information, see afpe.org.uk).
  • The Virgin Active Survey was carried out in conjunction with the University of Bedfordshire and primary schools teachers nationwide: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11693791/Nearly-half-of-children-leave-school-without-basic-movement-skills-study-says.html

Cuts in school funding are starting to bite, with nearly 75% of Headteachers expecting their budgets to be in the red in the coming year. A recent poll from the NAHT found that more than a third have had to reduce the number or hours of teaching staff.

Of all subjects, PE can be the most vulnerable to such cuts. Often demoted or deprioritised in favour of the “core” academic subjects, it can be regarded as the “Cinderella subject”, struggling even in good times for timetable space, resources, or credibility. But the need for regular and effective PE is shown by its benefits, which are becoming increasingly well known.

For example, Fitmedia’s recent study showed how a daily running programme could have a positive impact on academic attainment, with participants performing up to 25% higher in reading, writing and maths. They were also fitter, more confident and better behaved.

At Fitmedia we believe proper evaluation is essential and should be the foundation of all PE/sport programmes. It can play a key role in ensuring effective PE provision - whatever the budget.

This is true at each level of development. For example, during primary school, particularly at Key Stage 1, the most important thing is for kids to develop Fundamental Movement Skills-throwing, catching, jumping. Mastering these are crucial for developing full physical literacy-and for allowing them to engage in sports and physical activity as they grow.

For primary teachers, knowing what skills their students have can help them plan lessons effectively. If a teacher knows her class are strong in running, but weak on catching, they can focus their lessons and resources accordingly.

At secondary school, it is presumed that children have developed these skills and the emphasis becomes more on participation and success in team sports. This is also the age at which obesity starts to become more prevalent. This means that fitness becomes more important.

For secondary teachers, assessing their students’ fitness levels can identify those most at risk-for example, through obesity or low fitness levels. Teachers can then target specific resources to where they are needed most.

Evaluation can also help identify natural physical talents and aptitudes, which can aid selection for teams, and it can be equally helpful with outsourced lessons, such as those provided by third party PE providers, to ensure they are fit for purpose and effective.

It can also help teachers decide how and where to spend additional funding, such as the PE and Sport Premium. This is an excellent resource, but can only be used efficiently if properly monitored. Effective evaluation will provide important data, showing how and where it is impacting on students’ physical skills and wellbeing, and prevent its funding being spent on ineffective or inappropriate programmes.

Crucially, evaluation allows teachers to alter their teaching to suit the children in front of them. This means that their resources - whether it is teaching time, equipment or funding - goes to where they will be most effective.

When resources are in good supply, this is useful in ensuring the children have a PE programme that brings out the best in each child.

When resources are limited, it could be crucial in ensuring the children have a PE programme at all.

Sheila Forster and Alex Scott-Bayfield Fitmedia

  • Fitmedia Ltd, Company No 08393476
  • Registered address: Suite L, Radford Business Centre, Radford Way, Billericay, Essex CM12 0BZ
  • www.fitmediafitness.co.uk

Articles and Media

Dr Gavin Sandercock and Dr Daniel Cohen’s work in children’s fitness testing has been cited by Sir Liam Donaldson, then the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, in relation to fitness testing in schools.

Some examples of articles relating to the work of Dr Cohen and Dr Sandercock are below:

Both Dr Sandercock and Dr Cohen have appeared on national television and radio, including Radio 4, BBC News 24 and Radio 5 Live and have spoken at national conferences.

Sport and Physical Activity Resources

  • The Department for Culture, Media & Sport is responsible for culture and sport in England, as well as tourism, leisure and the creative industries
  • The Department of Health has responsibility for the National Health Service and for government policy in relation to health and social care
  • The Department for Education is responsible for education, child protection and issues affecting people under the age of 19
  • Public Health England is an executive branch of the Department of Health, previously known as the Health Protection Agency – its purpose is to protect and improve the nation’s health
  • The National Child Measurement Programme is a government initiative which measures the height and weight of children aged 4-6 to assess obesity levels within primary schools
  • The NOO provides a single point of contact for authoritative data, evidence and research related to weight and its determinants.  From 1 April 2013 they became part of Public Health England.
  • Sport England, previously known as the English Sports Council, is a non departmental government body.  Its role is to build England’s community sports system by providing funding for sport and by working with other sports organisations
  • UK Sport is responsible for funding elite performance sport in the UK, by investing public funds in athletes, organisations and events. It is accountable to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport but has no involvement in community or grass roots sport
  • The SRA is the umbrella organisation for the governing and representative sports bodies in the UK.  It speaks on their behalf and represents their views
  • UKActive is a not-for-profit body, made up of organisations in the active lifestyle sector. Their objective is to improve the health of the nation by getting people more active and promoting active lifestyles
  • SCUK works with sports organisations in the UK to develop coach learning, improve coaching systems and provide research and best practice for coaching
  • PADSIS supports teachers responsible for PE and sports in independent schools. It develops management and leadership skills to ensure effective and up to date delivery of sport and PE
  • AfPE is the representative organisation for those delivering or supporting PE in schools and the wider community, including teachers, coaches and organisations
  • YST is an independent charity which is aimed at improving the lives of young people through sport.  It works with schools, sports organisations and the government to support young people to achieve their sporting best
  • EFDS is the strategic lead and umbrella body for disabled people in sport and physical activity, supporting people and organisations in including disabled people in sport
  • WSF aims to get more women doing exercise and sport.  Using research experience and lobbying WSF works to break down the barriers which prevent women being active
  • BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise scientists in the UK.  Their mission is to promote excellence in sport and exercise sciences for the promotion and enhancement of sport and exercise related behaviours
  • SPORTA is the national association representing leisure and cultural trusts. Its members provide 30% of public leisure centres in the UK.
  • CLOA represents senior leaders who manage sport, cultural and tourism services in the UK. It is also a leading member of the National Culture Forum
  • CIMSPA is the chartered professional body for individuals working in the sport and physical activity sector. In addition to support and training for members, it delivers leadership and policy insight for the sector

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