“A health promoting school can be characterised as a school that is constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning, and working”. (WHO, 1997)
Introducing the Health Promoting Schools Framework
Dublin West Education Centre, in collaboration with the Health Service Executive Health Promotion Unit, are offering ‘Health Promoting Schools’ to post-primary schools in west Dublin.
Health Promoting Schools provides a framework for a school to assess health needs and begin a process of working towards better health for all who learn and work within the school setting.
In Ireland, the Health Promoting Schools Framework is underpinned by the Health Service Executive’s Strategic Framework for Health Promotion (2011) and is part of the Schools for Health in Europe Network. The concept was developed by the World Health Organisation based on the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986).
What is a Health Promoting School?
Health Promoting Schools (HPS) is not a once-off project, but a whole-school approach to all aspects of health and well-being. Following its 11 steps allows your school community to plan and record the health and wellbeing projects already running in your school, and aims to identify and fill any gaps, providing a coherent framework and evidence base for the work.
With the HPS concept, health refers to physical, social, emotional, mental, spiritual, and cognitive health and is seen as an essential resource for living life. The school recognises that these dimensions of health are interconnected and that they influence, and are influenced by the school environment. The model addresses the social determinants of health and health inequalities.
There are four parts to the HPS model: Environment (both physical and social); Curriculum and Learning; Policy and Planning; Partnerships (Family and Community Links). Each part of the HPS model supports the other and the whole school is stronger and more robust as a result of this comprehensive approach.
What is a school’s commitment?
School leadership will assign a member of staff as a Lead Coordinator to work with the Schools Health Promotion Officer. Each school is asked to commit to the HPS process for an initial period of 2 – 3 years. There is no single end-point to the HPS programme but it is rather a spiral of Review – Plan – Do – Review, which helps ensure that participating schools reflect, sustain, and build on earlier work.
Evidence has shown that with the HPS framework:
- Both education and health outcomes are improved
- Multi-faceted approaches are more effective than single interventions
- Involving students, parents and staff in planning and decision-making leads to better success.
- Reduction of health risk behaviours amongst students.
- Improved staff well-being
- A more co-ordinated approach to social, physical, and environmental needs
- Safer and more secure school environment
- Increased involvement of parents and guardians
- Better use of external agencies
- Schools gain public recognition of success
For further information contact: Aoife Cooke, Schools Health Promotion Officer
Phone: 01 4528008, Mobile: 087 9403758