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    Health Promoting Schools

    What is Health Promoting Schools?

    A Health Promoting School (HPS) is “a school that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.”

    (WHO, 1997)


    Curricular Content

    Aims of the Health Promoting School

    The HPS aims to:

    • Foster the healthy development of the whole school community
    • Provide a framework for developing health promotion initiatives in a way that supports and enhances the implementation of the curriculum
    • Support the planning, implementation and evaluation of health-related activities under school self-evaluation, school development planning processes
    • Enhance the links between the school and the community



    Health Promoting School in Our Lady’s School:

    • Everyone in the school setting is valued
    • Self-esteem is fostered
    • Fairness and tolerance are evident
    • People experiencing difficulties are supported
    • Communication is open and transparent
    • Effort is recognised
    • Uniqueness and difference are respected
    • Conflict is handled constructively
    • Initiative and creativity are encouraged
    • Social, moral and civic values are promoted
    • Students’ emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing is promoted.


    There is a strong evidence base for engaging in the HPS process:

    • Better learning outcomes for students
      • Improved staff wellbeing
      • A more co-ordinated approach to social, physical and environmental needs
      • Increased student self-esteem
      • Lowered incidence of bullying
      • School environment is safer and more secure
      • Better understanding of a school’s health aims
      • Improved relationships within the school
      • More involvement of parents
      • Better use of external agencies.



    Stages of the Health Promoting School process

    Stage 1: Expression of interest.
    Schools express an interest in becoming involved in the HPS process by contacting their local Health Service Executive (HSE) Health Promotion Office.

    Stage 2: Meeting with principal and key staff.
    A local Health Promotion Officer will arrange a meeting with the principal and other key staff. The purpose of this meeting is to outline what is involved in developing as a Health Promoting School.

    Stage 3: Whole-staff presentation.
    A whole-staff presentation is given by a local Health Promotion Officer to introduce and explain the HPS initiative to the rest of the staff.
    Stage 4: School agreement and appointment of co-ordinator.
    The school decides to proceed with the HPS process and nominates a HPS co-ordinator from within the school community.

    Stage 5: Health Promoting School team established.
    The HPS co-ordinator will establish a HPS team from within the school community to support, plan and develop the initiative.
    Stage 6: Raising awareness and consultation.
    Participation of the whole-school community in the HPS process is encouraged and awareness raising activities are organised. The school undertakes a consultation process to get the views of the whole-school community and to record what is working well and what needs attention in relation to health.

    Stage 7: Setting priorities and developing an action plan.
    The HPS team will identify themes for action from the results of the consultation process. Evidence of best practice in relation to identified themes will be researched and these themes will then form the basis of a HPS action plan.
    Stage 8: Implementing action plan.
    The action plan is implemented over an agreed timeframe and is assessed and monitored on an ongoing basis by the in-school HPS team.

    Stage 9: Application for HPS recognition.
    At the end of an agreed timeframe, the HPS team completes an application form for recognition as a Health Promoting School.
    Stage 10: Recognition and celebration.
    The HSE formally recognises the school as a HPS and the school celebrates its achievements.

    Stage 11: Reviewing and planning for next phase.
    The HPS team carries out a review of the process and the cycle of work continues. There is no single end point to the Health Promoting School process but rather a cycle of review-plan-do-review that enables participating schools to reflect, sustain and build on earlier work.


    The HPS team, led by Ms. Molloy was established in OLS in 2015. It consists of staff, parent & student representatives. Based on consultation with the entire school community, the overall theme that emerged was Mental Health. Within this area, the three specific targets identified were: Switching off from Technology, Wellbeing and Non-competitive exercise. Over the last two years the team has worked hard to implement our action plan.

    Awarding of the Health Promoting Flag March 2018

    The school have been officially recognised as a Health Promoting School and received a HPS flag from Caroline Mahon (Blackrock Education Centre), representing the HSE and Healthy Ireland.


    The 8 Principles    

    The following principles will inform the planning for as well as the development and the implementation of Junior Cycle programmes in all schools.

    • Quality
    • Creativity and innovation
    • Engagement and participation
    • Continuity and development
    • Wellbeing
    • Choice and Flexibility
    • Inclusive education
    • Learning to learn


    Statements of learning 

    The 24 statements of learning, underpinned by the 8 principles, are central to planning for all students experience of, and the evaluation of the school’s Junior Cycle programme. Schools will ensure that all statements of learning feature in the programmes offered to their Junior Cycle students.

    Links between Wellbeing and the Statements of Learning:

    SOL 12: The student is a confident and competent participant in physical activity and is motivated to be physically active.

    SOL 11: The student takes action to safeguard and promote her/his wellbeing and that of others.

    SOL 4: The student creates and presents artistic works and appreciates the process and skills involved.



    The 8 Key Skills

    There are 8 key skills required for successful learning by students across the curriculum and for learning beyond school. Throughout the Junior Cycle students will enhance their proficiency in these 8 key skills. They will be brought to life through the learning experiences encountered by students and will be evident in the assessment approaches used in the classroom. The following elements within each of these key skills relates to Health Promoting Schools:

    1. Being Literate – Expressing ideas clearly and accurately
    2. Being Numerate – Gathering, interpreting and representing data
    3. Managing Myself – Setting and achieving personal goals
    4. Being Creative – Exploring options and alternatives
    5. Staying Well – Being healthy, physical and active
    6. Working with others – Co – operating
    7. Managing information and thinking – Gathering, recording, organising and evaluating information and data
    8. Communication – Listening and expressing myself


    Links with Wellbeing Indicators


    We provide opportunities for students to be:     

    Active            -Be confident and able to participate in physical activity  -Be physically active every day

    Responsible     – Take action to protect and promote their wellbeing and that of others? –  Make healthy eating choices  – Take responsibility for their learning

    Connected       – Feel connected to their school, their community and the wider world? – Appreciate that their actions and interactions impact on their own wellbeing and that  of others, in local and global contexts.

    Resilient          – Believe that they have the coping skills to deal with life’s challenges? –  Know where they can go for help – Believe that with effort they can achieve

    Respected       – Feel that they are listened to and valued – Have positive relationships with their friends, their peers and their teachers? – Show care and respect for others

    Aware        – Be aware of their thoughts, feeling and behaviours and can make senses of them –  Be aware of what their personal values are and can think through their decisions. – To understand what helps them to learn and how they can improve.



    1. https://www.healthpromotion.ie/hp-files/docs/HPM00839.pdf
    2. http://www.projecthealthyschools.org
    3. http://www.pdst.ie/sites/default/files/PrAnti-Bullying%20prevention%20and%20intervention%20strategies_support%20materials%20-%20Post%20Primary%20Final.pdf
    4. http://www.pdst.ie/sites/default/files/SPHE%20Resources%202015.pdf
    5. http://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/Sheet.aspx?siteId=3&sectionId=35&contentId=43
    6. https://www.tes.com/articles/healthy-eating-resources
    7. https://schools.au.reachout.com/classroom-resources
    8. https://www.vertex42.com/Files/pdfs/2/Exercise-Log_5days.pdf
    9. http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/exercise-log.html
    10. http://www.pdst.ie/positive-school-culture-and-climate