Run, walk and play tag, Let's renew Our Active Flag!

We are busy here in Glenswilly National School working towards the renewal of our Active Schools Flag. The Active School Flag (ASF) 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. We will continue during this new school year to maintain our high standards and focus on being active.

 Physical Education


P.E. School Plan

All classes in our school are taught five of the six strands of the PE curriculum each year. The six strands are: Aquatics, Athletics, Games, Dance, Gymnastics and Outdoor and Adventure.

Since undertaking the Active School Flag, the school has created a standardised PE timetable for the school year so that all classes are taught the same strand at the same time. The standardised PE timetable ensures a balanced amount of teaching time to these strands throughout the school year.

The plan highlights the PSSI lesson plans to guide teachers in their planning of PE. The PSSI lessons have been made easily accessible for all teachers to use. We have decided to teach four skills this year, walking, running, throwing and catching. All teachers use the Move Well Move Often resources.



The school plan also ensures that P.E. homework is given once a week, related to the PE strand they are working on at the time. Senior classes are given a 60 minute physical activity challenge to complete for homework three times a year. P.E. is discussed with parents at P.T. meetings and feedback is included in the annual school report.


Class PE Timetables

Physical Education is allocated 1 hour per week of overall teaching time. In November, the Active Schools Committee checked that every class has 60 minutes PE time in their timetable. They confirmed that all classes were timetabled for 60 minutes a week. All classes opted for two 30 minutes slots. Discretionary time is also used towards PE.



This year the school chose to prioritise dance as the PE strand for further development. We worked with PineHill Studios who came into the school for a six week period and worked with teachers and students to deliver dance lessons effectively. Click on the link below to watch one of our classes here learning the moves to the song, Get Your Head in the Game!! 

PE Equipment 

In January, the Active School Committee carried out the PE equipment audit. PE equipment was counted and a record of all PE equipment in the school was taken. This record will be kept near where the PE equipment is stored.

The audit allowed us to see what equipment we already have in the school and what equipment we needed to get. As a result of the audit we invested in some new equipment for the school. This included new balls, skipping ropes and tennis rackets. 

Once the equipment was counted and recorded, the committee sorted and labelled the area where it is stored.


Active Reward Chart

In our classrooms our teachers use a reward chart to reward the whole class for good behaviour, kindness, doing our best and showing respect. When we have our reward chart filled we get some extra physical activity as a reward thus replacing sweets as treats.


Land Paws 

Second and third class take part in swimming lessons. In 4th class, each year we learn all about water safety. 

Through the Land Paws programme from the Irish Water Safety Association we find out about water safety in the pool, in the home, on a boat, on the beach, on the farm and on the waterways.  We also learn what to do if we saw somebody get into difficulty in the water.


Physical Activity


Break Times

We have two breaks throughout the school day where the children are encouraged to go outside and play. Three times a week from a Tuesday to a Thursday the playground leaders leave out playground equipment for the children to play with. They really enjoy this.


Game of the Month

At the start of the month at our Committee meetings we introduce a new game. The committee members then go back to their class and teach them how to play it. Some of the favourite games they played this year included Dodge Ball and Snatch the Bacon.


Active Lines 

From Monday to Thursday the Active Committee Members in the class lead their classmates in a number of exercises to keep them active.


Break Everyday Challenge

In November and January, every class in Glenswilly, takes part in the Active Break Challenge. This year it will run from November 9th to December 4th. This meant that every class was committed to taking an Active Break Every Day over the four weeks. The benefits of this for the pupils are improved concentration in class, improve fitness and improved long term health benefits. Classes tried out different activity breaks including running breaks, dance breaks and exercise breaks. Many classes used Go Noodle for dance breaks, 10@10 Classroom Movement Breaks, in association with Final Sports Partnership, Bizzy Breaks for Bizzy Minds and Bodies from Irish Heart Foundation. Some classes went for walks around the school, running or created an exercise box where a child had to choose an exercise at random for the class to complete.


Do Your Talking As You Are Walking

To ensure that children stay active during break times, children are encouraged to ‘Do your Talking as You are Walking’. This way the children can chat and stay active at the same time. We ran an art competition to promote this. We displayed the winning posters on classroom windows all around yard. We have posted winning posters on classroom windows all around yard. The Active School Committee keep an eye out to ensure this is being enforced.

Have a look at some of the work of talented artists in Glenswilly!!!


Active Breaks

It’s not easy for adults or children to sit for long periods of time without getting restless and losing focus. Here in Glenswilly N.S., we incorporate lots of movement breaks in throughout the day to ensure we get a break from our seats and are kept focused. These breaks could be an action song, 10@10, an activity from ‘GoNoodle’ or Drop Everything and Dance.


Wake Up, Shake Up!

Every Wednesday morning, the whole school meets outside for Wake Up, Shake Up! Classes from 6th to 3rd, took a month each. They had to compile a routine and lead it. 


Kay a Day

It has been a long tradition in Glenswilly N.S. to Run a K a Day. The 1k was measured and it equals roughly 3 laps of the school. As running is so good for us both physically and mentally we do this everyday at 2p.m. when we can get a bit tired and restless from trying to sit and concentrate in class.  We come back in refreshed and ready to set to work again.


Feel Good Friday

On the last teaching Friday of each month the school takes part in Feel Good Friday. Physical Activity makes you feel good, fact! This initiative encourages the school to take part in a fun, inclusive and energised classroom based activity in a different way each month. To start, November 27th will be a dance competition. Each class must record their dance and the winning class get to pick the activity for the following month.


Physical Activity throughout the Year

September: Run Around Europe

October: Witches Walk, Catch the Broom, Beat the Witch Relays 

Maths Week -Trails

November: Active Break Everyday Challenge

December: Christmas Santa Bop

January: Active Challenge- Which Class can fit in the most?

February 14th - Mind your Heart Day

March: Seachtain na Gaeilge Ceili

April: Active Home Week

May: Inter Class Challenge; Which class can do the most keepie uppies, jumps or skips in a month?

June: Take on the teachers challenge Basketball match.




Active School Committee 

One of the most important partnerships in the Active School Flag programme is with the pupils of the school. It is really the pupils that run the initiative while being supported by their teachers. It is important that all pupils have an opinion on the initiatives and activities we carry out so at the beginning of each year an Active School committee is selected. It is the role of the committee to represent their class at meetings and bring forward new ideas. The committee members have many different types of leadership roles. These include, playground leaders, PE equipment monitor leaders, active line leaders, yard monitors at breaks to ensure everyone is being active and people are walking while they talk. The committee members are also very good at reminding their teachers to take movement breaks throughout the day and do K a Day.  We aim to have a committee meeting once a month and a committee member takes the minutes of these meetings.  Take a look below at the photo of our 2020/21 Active School Committee.


Active School Suggestions Box

To make sure that all pupils had their voices heard we have our Active School Week suggestions folder on the Active Flag notice board in the hallway.  Children can write down their ideas on a piece of paper and anonymously post it in the suggestions box.  Many of the ideas that the children suggest are planned for our Active School Week. 


Active School Notice Board

We have dedicated a notice board in our school hall to the Active School Flag.  You can get information here about who is on our committee and ways to keep active.  You can also take a look at some photos of what we were up to. We also acknowledge here all the sporting achievements of our wonderful pupils. Below are two such examples, Lucy, who won the fastest feet competition and Orla who won a number of medals in Ulster’s swimming competition.



Parents are a very important part of the Active School process.  Parents are kept updated on the Active School process through discussing it with their children, letters home from the Active School committee, the Active School notice board and the Active School page here on the website. The parents here in Glenswilly N.S. play an important role in ensuring their children have the clothes and equipment needed for P.E. and any other physical activities taking place in the school. They also support us in promoting the message that children need to be physically active for sixty minutes per day by bringing their children to after school physical activities, going for walks and cycles with their children and helping them fill out their physical activity diary for school. Our parents also have the opportunity to offer suggestions for Active School initiatives through our parents’ questionnaire, suggestions box, writing a note to a teacher or popping in to have a word with a teacher.


Local Sports Partnership

When we started the Active School Flag process we contacted the Local Sports Partnership and the HSE Health Promotion Officer to inform them of our involvement.  They send us regular e-mails to tell us about different physical initiatives, training and courses. Following on from this, Mrs. McBrearty & Mrs. Coen attended a course on Well-being through physical activity. We hope to get facilitation for the Sugradh le Cheile programme once it is possible with restrictions. Here are some pictures of games/skills which Mrs Coen practiced at the course, which she in turn passed onto all classes/teachers as part of Mind Your Heart Day in February.


Cycle Right Cycle Training

We were really lucky to receive cycling workshops from Cycle Right Training for a number of weeks in January/February.  We learned a lot about staying safe when cycling on the road, the safety equipment that needs to be used when cycling and the correct cycling techniques to use.  The training also gave us even more opportunity to be active throughout the day and we had great fun.  Our instructor was really impressed to see how many of us had our own bikes.


Local Community

We are so lucky here in Glenswilly N.S. that there are many physical activity clubs in Letterkenny and the surrounding areas.  During the Active School process we carried out a survey to see what clubs the pupils were involved in.  We found out that many children were involved in football, ladies’ football, Irish dancing, hip hop dancing, gymnastics, soccer, rugby, swimming and athletics.  We got the chance to tell each other about the different clubs and any flyers we get with information about these clubs we send home with the children to show their parents and we stick them up on the notice board. We also have local Rugby and GAA coaches who come in to us for one term a year to do training with us.


Physical Activity and Sports Achievements

Acknowledgement and encouragement is just as important in the areas of physical education, activity and sport as it is in all other curricular areas.  For any physical activity achievement, be it in school or outside school we encourage our pupils to bring in their trophy, medal and certificate etc. that they achieved and tell their classmates about it.  They also go next door to tell the other class about it and then their photo is taken to be included on our Active Well Done Wall.

Our school are the proud winners of the 2019 Donegal Sports Star large Primary School Award. 

We had great excitement in Glenswilly in January when one of our children, Daragh, wrote to Jurgen Klopp re Liverpool winning too many games. Jurgen klopp kindly wrote back to Daragh highlighting the importance of respect between teams, what he described as “what football is all about.” Have a look at the letters below.

Active School Week

Since beginning the Active School Flag process we had committed to holding an even better Active School Week this year. We had got in touch with many clubs in the surrounding areas to come in to give taster sessions. We had a wide and varied range of sports signed up to suit all tastes, from golf to gymnastics, dance to Pilates, yoga to cricket.As well as our yearly teachers v students basketball match, this year we were to introduce penalty shoots on the master, all the children’s ideas of course. Unfortunately however due to Covid 19 this was not possible.

Instead we ran an Active Home Week and we were thrilled by the uptake and commitment by children and their families. Pine Hill studios whom we had worked closely with during the year, forwarded us on some videos of dances to share with the children. The children also took part in GAA challenges linked closely with our local club Glenswilly GAA. There were a range of activities conducted by the children. See some of the photos below! All our children were presented with certificates after they completed the week.




 Active Flag 2018/19


 Michael Murphy who was the special guest at Glenswilly N.S. for the raising of our first Active Blue Flag pictured with children and teaching staff including Miss Mc Brearty and Miss Mc Devitt and principal Joseph Gallinagh


This year Glenswilly N.S. will continue to take part in the Active Schools initiative .

It is a non competitive initiative which seeks to recognise schools that strive to achieve a physically active and physically educated school community.


As an Active School we aim to:

  • Provide all pupils with appropriate PE provision,teach a broad and balanced P.E. curriculum and ensure that the P.E. policy is both comprehensive and up to date.
  • Celebrate physical activity skills and achievements by students on our ASF board.
  • Promote physical activity during break times
  • Involve students in the process (ASF committee) and liaise with parents and the local community
  • Seek assistance from the community and outside agencies such as local sports partnerships and National bodies


As part of the Active flag initiative we want everyone to be as active as possible.


 Active School flag Committee 2018/19 

1. Ben 2. Aidan 3. Realta 4. Ruby-Anne 5. Jayden

6. Conan 7. Jake 8. Pauric 9. Anna 10. Caolan 11. Patricia 12.Cadhan 13. Orlaith


The children participate in Workout Wednesday every week.  First thing in the morning the whole school complete exercises outside for 10 minutes with all school staff. On a Wednesday playground equipment is placed at stations during break times and our committee take charge and help other students with a variety of active games. All classes also complete a kilometre run around the school once or twice a week and junior classes use the Operation Transformation 10@10 and GoNoodle in their classes on a regular basis. 

The Wake up exercise video can be viewed - here


At break times the active school flag committee supervise work stations.


Every Wednesday playground leaders play a game with any children who would like to join in.




Here are some of the activities:

Dance Classes



Penalty shoot out with Teachers



Basketball Training



Rugby Training



Hurling Training 





Mexican Wave