Thursday 19th April – An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar along with Ministers Richard Bruton, Simon Harris and Catherine Byrne today welcomed Active School Week 2018 and the introduction of a new Active School Walkway initiative.
Active School Week (April 23–27) offers an opportunity for schools across the country to work together with students, parents, community and national sporting and health organisationson a broad range of physical activities. Another aspect of this year’s Active School Week is a new partnership with junior parkrun which is with schools locally.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar commented Through Healthy Ireland, we’re aiming to get everyone moving, and that’s particularly important for children. There are lots of good things already happening in our schools as part of Healthy Ireland, such as the Active School Walkway initiative and partnership with 13 new junior park runs. We want to encourage and support children to have the best possible physical fitness and mental wellbeing. Being active is hugely important for our children’s health and will have a positive impact on them later in life too. And most important of all, it’s great fun.”
Launching Active Schools Week, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton said, “I am delighted to launch Active School Week. We know how important it is to be physically active, not only for our physical health but also as a means to encourage team building, develop confidence and for our mental health. I would encourage all schools to use the new Walkway and the other great ideas on the Active School Flag website to get more active, more often.”
The launch of Active School Week 2018 and Active School Walkway took place at St Patrick’s Senior School in Corduff. The Active School Walkway resource developed by Active Schools in partnership with Get Ireland Walking, provides schools with an opportunity to introduce a walkway with colourful and durable outdoor sign posts to mark out a walking or running route around their school grounds. Active School Flag schools are encouraged to launch their walkway next week during Active School Week.
Minister for Health, Simon Harris said: “We all need to work together to get children active from an early age and to support parents and the education sector in building a culture of physical activity. Children and young people need to be active for at least 60 minutes every day. This will have many benefits to their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Children who are active are more likely to live healthy and happy lives and society as a whole will benefit.”
Minister for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne said, “Active School Week is a week where schools can demonstrate how to include fun and accessible physical activity into the school day. It provides an opportunity for schools, children, parents, and others across the wider community to work together and commit to becoming more physically active. It is encouraging to see many partnerships working together across sports bodies and education.”
The Active School Flag, is an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills, supported by Healthy Ireland and is awarded to schools that aim to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. It aims to get more schools, more active, more often. Active School Flag is administered through Mayo Education Centre.
Notes for Editors
Healthy Ireland, a major Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society. The Healthy Ireland campaign focus is that ‘small changes can make a big difference to a person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing’ and can include positive choices such as eating healthier, being more active or minding our mental health.
Under Healthy Ireland – the National Physical Activity Plan was developed by Department of Health and Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport in partnership with a range of key stakeholders including the Department of Education and Skills. Encouraging more schools to participate in the Active School Flag is a key objective of the Plan.
Over 1000 schools have taken part since inception and over 131,000 students participated. Since September 2017 over 500 schools have come to workshops supported by Healthy Ireland to learn about the active school flag and over 400 schools have already signed up. For more details, see http://www.activeschoolflag.ie
The Active school walkway is also funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Sports Inclusion Fund.
St. Patrick’s Senior School – St. Patrick’s Senior School, Corduff was opened in 1978. It includes a Junior and a Senior School.
The National Guidelines for Physical Activity recommend that children and young people, up to age 18, should be active for at least 60 minutes every day. The Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity study (CSPPA) published in 2010, found that only 19% of primary school and 12% of secondary school pupils met the guidelines. A follow-up CSPPA is underway.