Health Promoting Schools (HPS)


The Health Promoting School Concept

  • “A HPS is a school that constantly strengthens its capacity as a setting for living, learning and working.” (WHO, 1997)
  • In simple terms, a HPS is a school that places health high on the agenda and aims to embed health into the culture and life of the school.
  • HPS is an internationally recognised and evidence informed-concept, which aims to foster the health and wellbeing of the school community, in a planned and coordinated way.
  • It takes a ‘whole school approach to health’, which involves students, staff and parents working together.
  • It views health in its broadest sense – physical, social, mental/emotional.
  • It is based on the ‘settings approach’, which recognises that health is created in the everyday settings in which we live, learn, work and play.  It looks at how the setting itself supports health and wellbeing, rather than placing sole responsibility on the individual and his/her health behaviours.
  • Schools are recognised as key settings for health by the WHO.  HPS as a concept is named in Health 20:20 European Policy Framework; on which the ‘Healthy Ireland’ Framework was based.


Process of developing as a HPS

  • HPS is school driven and the school takes ownership of the process and outcomes.
  • Health Promotion Officers from the HSE support schools through the 11-stage Health Promoting School process.
  • The process includes a consultation phase in which the school self identifies health priorities.
  • All participating schools work across 4 key areas: Environment, Curriculum, Policy and Planning, and Partnerships, regardless of their identified priority.


Outcomes reported at a European level

  • Better learning outcomes for students
  • Improved staff wellbeing
  • Coordinated approach to health and wellbeing
  • Increased self esteem
  • Lowered incidence of bullying
  • Improved relationships within school
  • Better links with outside agencies
  • Better links with parents/guardians

          (Promoting Health in Schools: From Evidence to Action IUPHE, 2010)

Health Promoting Schools RESOURCES

Cork Kerry HPS Update Newsletter Sept 2017

National Health Promoting Schools Flyer

Primary Framework document

Post Primary Framework Document (Under development)