Students at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra celebrated their Healthy Ireland ‘Health Promoting Schools’ Flag by holding a well being day at the school.
A combined effort by the Health Promoting Schools coordinators, staff, parents council, students and management enabled the enhancement and rejuvenation of staff and student social areas in particular the redevelopment of school football field, basketball courts, walkway, and courtyard area. Artistic displays and an outdoor mural were created by students, designed to promote positive wellbeing throughout the school.
The Healthy Ireland Health Promoting Schools (HPS) Flag is presented by the HSE to schools as an acknowledgement of their work in improving the health of their school communities. The HPS supports schools to focus on health and wellbeing and involves all members of the school community. Students, staff, parents and guardians are consulted to identify priority health areas. Over a period of around 2-3 school years, schools develop an action plan to address the health areas identified. Schools are guided to address their priority area under the following evidence based categories: environment (social and physical) curriculum, policies and partnerships. Schools work at their own pace supported by the HSE Health Promotion & Improvement Dept. In each school, a HPS coordinator and HPS team lead out on the progression of health and wellbeing and this work is supported by the school principal, board of management and wider school community.
European research has shown many benefits of the HPS – whole school approach to health. Chief among these benefits are increased self-esteem, safer and cleaner school environments, lowered incidences of bullying, a positive approach to health issues, increased parent involvement and better student/teacher relationships to name a few.