Suffolk schools are leading efforts to help children stay active during the Coronavirus lockdown in support of the county’s Keep Moving Suffolk campaign.

Jeffrey Hoey, Partnership Development Manager for the North Suffolk Sport and Health Partnership, is running regular virtual school games events involving pupils from 13 primary schools. The Games involve virtual skills challenges in a range of sports for both boys and girls through years one to six.

Jeffrey said: “I set up these challenges to give our local children some normality in challenging times and to keep them active.

“Feedback from parents has been brilliant with many of them saying it has given their children a focus and a reason to do physical activity while at home.”

“In total we have had 1,140 videos submitted over the last five weeks from our first five events.”

Keiran Lawler, a teacher at Wells Hall Primary School in Great Cornard near Sudbury has been uploading daily fitness challenges for the schools’ pupils.

He said: “We have seen lots of the children attempting the challenges and their parents uploading videos to our school twitter page which is great to see! Parents have even been joining in too.

“Hopefully this gives the children and their parents an activity they can do together or individually during this period of lockdown and social distancing. It provides a little bit of fun during the day.”

Jim Cleaver, Headteacher, at Wells Hall Primary School added: “It’s important for us to maintain connections within the school community in these unusual times. It is reassuring for our pupils to see a familiar face regularly, and for our teachers to continue to be part of their pupil’s lives. Kieran’s videos are one way of doing this and they help encourage our children to be active and for parents to consider the contribution that physical wellbeing will have on their mental wellbeing.”

Johnny Lee, PE Coordinator at Red Oak Primary has been producing and posting family friendly workout videos for students, parents and staff. He said: “Every day I film a 20-30 minute workout video with a range of exercises that children and parents can carry out safely within their homes.

“I hope that the videos give the children a routine of daily exercise that they can look forward to. I also hope that they give that daily boost of endorphins that they need to help them with their academic home schoolwork. It is scientifically proven that if children exercise regularly they become better learners in academic subjects such as English and Maths”.

Praising the efforts of Suffolk’s schools to keep the children of key workers active and engaged, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, Cllr Mary Evans said: “Physical activity is so very important for a child’s physical and mental health”

“Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England recommends that children are active for at least an hour a day to maintain good health. That can seem to be a daunting prospect when we’re all stuck at home which is why I think Keep Moving Suffolk is such a great campaign.”

Keep Moving Suffolk offers a wealth of online ideas and resources specifically aimed at helping children keep active during the Covid-19 lockdown. Find out more at www.keepmovingsuffolk.com.

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