The Health Promoting Schools (HPS) framework encourages a whole school approach to health promotion by developing a coordinated and integrated approach to the health and wellbeing of all school community members. A health promoting school is one that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.
The HPS model is a multinational model used by schools throughout Europe and Asia to help build the health and wellbeing of their students.
Why is the promotion of health in schools important?
World-wide, education and health are inextricably linked. In simplest terms: healthy young people are more likely to learn more effectively;
· health promotion can assist schools to meet their targets in educational attainment and meet their social aims; young people that attend school have a better chance of good health;
· young people that feel good about their school who are connected to significant adults are less likely to damage their health with high risk behaviours and are likely to have better learning outcomes.
The relationship of the topic approach to a holistic approach
· Traditional health education in schools tended to be based on a topic approach, which meant working separately on issues such as smoking, alcohol, physical activity, healthy eating, sexuality and relationships, safety, mental health, etcetera. This is still reflected today in some of the initiatives supported and funded in schools by external agencies; for example, obesity or substance misuse. This can be problematic or ineffective as such approaches are sometimes based on assumptions relating to human behaviour, which are difficult to justify and not supported by evidence. First of all it is known that all the ‘topics’ interact and are not separate at the behavioural level. For example, teenage sexual activity may be linked to alcohol/ drug use, or smoking can be linked to fire and safety risks. Second, there is a risk that health will be seen solely at the level of the individual and their relationship to the topic being explored, when in fact the social environment is very often vital in determining behaviour. Third, there is a tendency within the topic approach to assume that human behaviour is completely based on knowledge and reasoning, and treats the important dimension of the emotions as something separate, within a topic of mental health, when the mental health dimension probably underpins all the issues. http://www.achsc.org/download/2006/i-cms_file.pdf
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Bond L, Patton GC, Glover S, Carlin JB, Butler H, Thomas L et al. The Gatehouse Project: can a multilevelschool intervention affect emotional well being and health risk behaviours? J Epi Commun Health. 2004;58: 997–1003
Lister-Sharp, D., Chapman, S., Stewart-Brown. S. & Sowden, A. (1999). Health Promoting Schools and Health Promotion in Schools: Two Systematic Reviews. Health Technology Assessment, 3, 1-207.
Moon, A., Mullee, M., Rogers, L., Thompson, R., Speller, V. & Roderick, P. (1999). Helping schools become health promoting: An evaluation of the Wessex Healthy Schools Award. Health Promotion International, 14, 111-122.
Patton, G. Bond, L., Carlin, J., Thomas, L. Butler, H., Glover, S., Catalano, R. & Bowes, G. (2006). Promoting social inclusion in schools: A group-randomized trial on student health risk behaviour and well-being. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 9 pp1582-1587
Stewart-Brown, S. (2006). What is the evidence on school health promotion in improving school health or preventing disease and specifically what is the effectiveness of the health promoting schools approach?. Copenhagen: World Health Organization
West, P., Sweeting, H. & Leyland, L. (2004). School effects on pupils’ health behaviours: evidence in support of the health promoting school. Research Papers in Education, 19, 31, 261-291.
In 2009 EACH Health Promotion signed partnership agreements with:
- Bayswater Nth Primary School
- Tinternvale Primary School
- Melba College
- Blackburn English Language (Maroondah Campus)
The partnership agreements established that EACH Health Promotion and the schools would work together to promote healthy eating, physical activity and mental health using the Health Promoting Schools model. School audits were completed to identify particular areas of concern to the school community. The following projects were planned, implemented and evaluated as a result of the audits.
Bayswater Nth Primary School- The school audit identified three areas of concern.
1. Canteen and Healthy Eating
2. Physical Activity
3. Staff Health
All of the plans sit within the 3 HPS domains identified in the National Framework for Health Promoting Schools. Programs introduced included:
· Staff Pilates
· Revamping School canteen to bring it into the Health Eating Guidelines.
· Acquiring funding for a running track to improve physical activity
· Starting a Fresh Produce Co-op to facilitate easy access for families to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
· Refurbishing the student toilets.
· Quick Healthy Meals Cooking Classes.
· Becoming a ‘Kids- Go For Your Life School’.
· In 2012 EACH Health Promotion and BNPS received a NAB Schools First Impact Award of $30,000.00 to work on combined projects.
Tinternvale Primary School (TPS) –
· In 2011, EACH and Tinternvale P.S ran an all school Walk to School day.
· A staff pedometer challenge was held with the school staff to encourage physical activity
· As part of Multicultural Day, EACH and TPS organized an African Drumming day. A map displaying the countries that all of the students and teachers have come from was also displayed in the school foyer.
· In 2012 EACH Health Promotion, Warner’s Nurseries and TPS were successful in securing a grant of $15,000.00 to fund a new school garden.
· EACH Volunteer’s also commenced attending the school to do gardening and odd jobs around the school.
· Melba College and EACH Health Promotion worked together with the school canteen to increase the amount of ‘green’ foods being sold at the school.
· In conjunction with the canteen work, the school developed a new student led vegetable garden at the Maroondah campus.
· In 2011 EACH and Melba College received a NAB Schools First Seed funding award of $15,000.00 to develop the vegetable garden
· Currently EACH Health Promotion and Melba are working in partnership with a nursery to develop an Edible Forest Garden.
Blackburn English Language School, Maroondah Campus (BELS)
· In 2013 the school received a Maroondah Council grant so the students could develop a Memory garden.
· Feedback from the teachers indicated that they would like more professional learning around the Chin community which are the majority people group at the school. A CALD mental health professional from Eastern Health Child and Youth Mental Health team was engaged to run a series of workshops for on issues identified through a needs analysis by the staff.
· Currently the school and EACH are working on a Chin Communication Strategy. The purpose of this is to provide the Chin community with appropriate timely information in regards to Australian schooling, information specific to BELS, and the rights and responsibilities of parents in regards to schooling and bringing up children in Australia.