Press Release

Minister of State for Health Promotion congratulates St Clare’s National School Ballyjamesduff for winning European Award

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, today congratulated St Clare’s National School, Ballyjamesduff on winning the European #BeActive Education Award. The award forms part of European Week of Sport and highlights outstanding examples of how young people can become more active in the educational setting.

Responding to the announcement, Minister Corcoran Kennedy said “It was a fantastic achievement for St Clare’s National School, Ballyjamesduff to win this prestigious award and I am delighted that the efforts of the teachers, the parents and, most importantly, the children involved in promoting physical activity have been recognised. We know how important for physical and mental health it is for young people to be active. This award recognises the effort made by St. Clare’s to include physical activity in opportunities that arise during normal daily routines. This is an inspiration for other schools around Ireland promoting health and wellbeing.”

Some of the school’s activities included: ‘WOW Days’ (Walk to School on Wednesdays), ‘Free-Dance Friday’ and ‘Active Lines’ where pupils exercise in their lines whilst awaiting collection from the schoolyard. 280 pupils are now walking to school every morning, up from 140 before the start of the campaign.

“St Clare’s, Ballyjamesduff is a fantastic demonstration of how a school can build fun, accessible physical activity into the school day. Some of these are very simple ideas to implement and I hope that other schools around the country will be encouraged to look at ways of getting involved”, Minister Corcoran Kennedy said.

Principal Karl McCartin and Active School Coordinator Verena Cunningham were presented with the award at an award ceremony in Brussels yesterday evening, during the European Week of Sport flagship event.

St. Clare’s was one of two Irish schools, along with St. Clare’s of Harold’s Cross to be shortlisted for the #BeActive Schools award. Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals from Dublin was also shortlisted for the #BeActive Workplace Awards.

Both shortlisted schools participate in the Active School Flag, an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills supported by Healthy Ireland. It is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. The process aims to get more schools, more active, more often. Encouraging more schools to participate in the Active School Flag is a key objective of Get Ireland Active, the National Physical Activity Plan launched in early 2016.