Irvine ROYAL Academy pupils have been doing a virtual tour of Europe while in lockdown thanks to the school’s ‘Move it in May’ challenge.

The aim is to give pupils a tour of Europe when holidaying abroad is looking unlikely this summer, to learn about different languages and cultures and to increase physical activity and mental wellbeing.

So far pupils have been walking, jogging or cycling the length of John O’Groats to Land’s End and the Tour De France. The next stop is el Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Christine Howie, Head of PE, said: “We’re giving pupils lots of options due to social distancing and limited equipment. Information is on Google Classrooms and pupils put their distances on Strava or their Apple watch.

“We don’t mind how they’re calculating it, they could be out in the garden or going up and down the stairs!

“For the Tour De France we set them additional tasks like if they could wear red, white and blue in a photo or translate their distance into French, they get bonus points for being creative and using the French language. It’s really fun for them all.”

The challenge is helping to alleviate some pressures of home-schooling.

Ms Howie said: “A lot of our kids don’t have access to IT or things that make doing working at home easy. Home-schooling is a pressure for kids and parents. They’re used to sitting in a classroom then all of a sudden they’re on a laptop at home.

“We wanted to create a task that was accessible to everyone because everyone can get outside and go a walk.”

Lizi Elliot, pupil, said: “This challenge has encouraged me to run and explore different routes in my local community. I have never been a runner before but I have noticed that my time and pace is slowly improving.

“Even after the challenge is over I am going to keep running as part of my fitness regime.”

The school is also thinking of running a virtual sports day in light of the success of the ‘Move it in May’ challenge.

Linzie Sloan, Head teacher, said: “What a great idea by Team PE to bring the entire school community together. Not only has the challenge served to improve the health and well-being of our pupils, parents and staff, it has also reignited that competitive spirit that we all have inside us”.


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