Dr Melanie McKee launches ‘Active Schools’ pilot programme at Fort Hill Integrated Primary School
The pilot of an innovative programme to increase the physical activity levels of children and young people in Northern Ireland was launched on Monday 15th January by Lady Mary Peters. The Active Schools pilot programme, designed by Stranmillis University College’s Dr Melanie McKee, is being piloted in collaboration with Simon Patterson, Principal of Fort Hill Integrated Primary School.
Speaking about the launch, Dr Melanie McKee, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport at Stranmillis University College, said: “The UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommended that children and young people should engage in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week. Alarmingly, a recent study Children’s Sport Participation & Physical Activity 2022, commissioned by Sport Northern Ireland, Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland 2023, showed how only 21% of primary-aged children and 16% of post-primary aged young people in Northern Ireland meet that guidelines. The pilot Active Schools programme launched today will provide valuable insights to support and reinforce the need for a strategic, sustainable and cross-departmental funded Active Schools programme for primary schools across Northern Ireland.”
“Physical activity is critical to the physical and mental wellbeing of children and young people. The Active Schools ethos is to value and develop every child and young person’s physical literacy by creating a physically educated and physically active school community. This can be achieved by providing multiple and inclusive opportunities to be physically active including: active travel to/from school, active breaktimes, active play, active classrooms, PE, after-school clubs and active home learning. An Active School ethos necessitates a whole school approach, integrated into the school’s culture via its 3-year School Development Plan.”
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