New School Wellbeing Walkway

17 October, 2020


A new “Wellbeing Walk” has recently been created on the grounds of Midleton CBS Secondary School which has received widespread approval and appreciation from students, parents and school staff. The promotion of wellbeing is central to the Department of Education’s mission to enable children and young people to achieve their full potential. A high priority has been placed on wellbeing promotion in recent years and a target has been set that schools and centres for education will have embedded a “School Self Evaluation Wellbeing Promotion Process” in all schools by 2023.The creation of the Midleton CBS Wellbeing Walk is a testament to our schools endorsement of this national wellbeing plan.

Preparations to install the walkway around the perimeter of the school campus were set in motion over the past two school years. The matter was discussed at a number of meetings of our Parent’s Council who were wholeheartedly supportive and agreed to part-fund the project in partnership with the Board of Management and our Past Pupils Union who were also willing to offer their support to the initiative. The Student’s Council were enthusiastically supportive of the project as were the Green School’s Committee who saw the development as an enhancement of their efforts to secure a Biodiversity Flag for the school. However, the demands on school finances in what proved to be an extraordinarily successful sporting year (2018-19) for Midleton CBS were considerable. In light of these demands on finances it was decided to push the Wellbeing Walk project out until the following academic year 2019-20.

The plan for the walkway was drawn-up with the assistance of our (DCG) Design & Communications Graphics subject department. A looped circuit of just over 800 metres could be created around the school campus incorporating existing pavement and the newly constructed walking surface. Tenders were sought from a number of local companies with expertise in this type of development and it was hoped to begin construction before the winter set in. We were advised however that construction during unfavourable weather could adversely affect ground conditions for a prolonged period. This would not be desirable while the school was still in session so it was thought to be more advantageous to commence the works in springtime. 

Covid 19 restrictions and the enforced school-closure that ensued threw our plans to commence work on the walkway construction into disarray. The work had to be postponed until June when Government restrictions were eased. As weather conditions were excellent at the time the project was completed within two weeks without any glitches.

As it transpires, the decision to construct the Wellbeing Walkway during the summer of 2020 was inspired. The return to what is a vastly changed school regime in September has been greatly enhanced by the availability of the new walking facility. Students are encouraged to get out in the fresh air as much as possible during break times and the Welbeing Walkway provides a welcome relief from the compulsory mask-wearing situation which prevails inside the school building.

The health benefits of physical activity are considerable. Walking is quite possibly the best form of exercise, being what our bodies are naturally designed to do. Walking is good for the heart and lungs. There is increasing evidence that walking can enhance mental well being too. Health professionals now recognise that exercise in general, and more specifically outdoor activity, has a definite, positive psychological impact. Walking can lift mood, help to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression and contribute towards a relaxed, more creative state of mind. In short, we feel better and live longer.

A complete circuit of the walkway can be safely completed within 10 minutes with minimal disruption to other classes. Its 2 metre width allows for social distancing to be achieved without fuss. When conditions are favourable a brisk walk around the circuit provides tremendous benefits to mind, body and spirit for teachers and students alike.

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