North Glasgow primary schools get active with On Our Marks initiative

Pupils from Barmulloch Primary School enjoyed a fun-filled day of physical activity and a visit from Scottish Champion boxer Lynn Calder last week as part of the On Our Marks project by ng homes.

ng homes chair John Thorburn and ng homes board member Richard Porter with project coordinator at Winning Scotland Foundation Mhari Borland, acting head teacher of Barmulloch primary school Lyndsay Murray and pupils of Barmulloch primary school

The jam-packed day saw pupils and staff have a go at some boxing moves that were demonstrated by Lynn Calder, and trying out some fun balloon activities from the On Our Marks app and activity card packs.

ng homes vice-chair Richard Porter gave a short speech congratulating the school and families for getting involved in such a fantastic project and highlighted that ng homes is proud to support this initiative in the community.

Delivered in partnership by ng homes and Winning Scotland Foundation, the On Our Marks project aims to improve health and wellbeing in primary schools by encouraging children and families to view regular exercise as a fun and accessible thing to do in everyday life. Through this, the project also aims to improve pupil behaviour, raise attainment and create lasting habits and healthy lifestyle changes.

Winning Scotland Foundation provides training, guidance and resources to teachers, parents and pupils to increase their physical activity together. The project comprises three approaches in supporting school staff, delivering information sessions to parents, and providing children with Physical Activity Cards (also available through the app) that provide over 50 fun games to be active at home or school.

A successful pilot took place in Saracen Primary School and Keppoch Nursery in 2017-18, and On Our Marks has now been expanded across three additional North Glasgow primary schools with funding support from ng homes.

The primary schools now involved are Saracen Primary School, Chirnsyde Primary School, St Teresa’s Primary School and Barmulloch Primary School.

The results from the pilot at Saracen Primary School were positive and illustrated that there was an increase of daily physical activity along with a decrease in the amount of time spent watching TV. The full case study can be found online at Winning Scotland Foundation.

John Thorburn, ng homes chair, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to work with our partners on this great project which has had such a positive impact for so many people in North Glasgow and we look forward to continuing our partnership work in the future.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who visited Saracen Primary School during the pilot, said: “Active children are healthier, happier and more prepared to learn. Simple but fun initiatives like ‘On Our Marks’ are helping young people become more active, and having seen how much Saracen Primary pupils enjoyed taking part I am pleased the project is being rolled out to other schools.”

Evelyn Gibson, head teacher of Saracen Primary School, added: “On Our Marks is having a positive impact within the school. We have been able to make important links between the school and parents, our staff are more confident in delivering an active curriculum, and our Pupil Council has been involved in reviewing and improving the school’s healthy eating policy. Health and wellbeing is an important part of our school improvement plan, and we look forward to continuing to work with Winning Scotland Foundation and ng homes.”

Lyndsay Murray, acting head teacher of Barmulloch Primary School, said: “We are delighted to be part of the On Our Marks project this session. We recognise the positive impact the project has had in other schools and want that success for our children and families. We thoroughly endorse the philosophy that increased physical exercise will promote improved levels of health, attainment and aspiration.

“All staff have already benefitted from high-quality training in delivering dynamic and exciting physical opportunities for our children. We are now very excited to share this with our families and to promote healthy lifestyles for the whole family.”

Morag Arnot, executive director of Winning Scotland Foundation, added: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with ng homes and of course the children, teachers and parents of North Glasgow. On Our Marks is a great example of working in partnership to bring about real and lasting change in activity levels across the whole community.”

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