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Working Paper 138: Review of the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes, 2007-2008

Heather Rothwell, Stephen Burgess, Nick Townsend, Claire Pimm, Mike Shepherd and Simon Murphy

Since the Ottawa Charter affirmed that health was a “resource for everyday life” its concept of “supportive environments” for health promotion has been developed through the “settings” approach.  The school is one setting where the relationship between individuals and their environment influences the maintenance and improvement of health more profoundly than health services.   The ‘Healthy School’ is one which takes responsibility for maintaining and promoting the health of all who “learn, work, play and love” within it not only by formally teaching pupils about how to lead healthy lives but by enabling pupils and staff to take control over aspects of the school environment which influence their health. 

THE WELSH NETWORK OF HEALTHY SCHOOL SCHEMES (WNHSS)

The WNHSS consists of twenty-two local healthy school schemes, one in each unitary authority of Wales.  The Welsh Assembly Government provides a framework for local schemes and funding for schemes which are partnerships between local Education and Health departments.  Each scheme employs a healthy schools co-ordinator who recruits and supports schools and organises appropriate local training.  Schools appoint their own in-school co-ordinators who work with the healthy schools co-ordinator to plan and carry out activities identified by the school.  Schools are expected to introduce health improvement topics into three domains: the curriculum; the school’s ethos and material environment; and relations with individuals and groups outside the school.

As schools progress through the scheme, health-improvement measures are expected to make a lasting difference to the way in which school life is organised.  A logic model drafted by the Welsh Assembly Government outlines these and other outcomes expected in the short, medium and long term.

A Welsh Assembly Government official acts as a national co-ordinator with responsibility for monitoring and accrediting local schemes and training local healthy schools co-ordinators.  All schemes assess their member schools and recognise those which are successful in completing each phase.

The WNHSS is a member of the Schools for Health in Europe (SHE) network, formerly the European Network of Health Promoting Schools, and the national co-ordinator for Wales is also the UK Co-ordinator for SHE.

Heather Rothwell, Stephen Burgess, Nick Townsend, Claire Pimm, Mike Shepherd and Simon Murphy

The Cardiff Institute of Society and Health

April 2011

Working Paper 138: Review of the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes, 2007-2008, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, April(2011), ISBN 978-1-904815-63-1