The Health Promoting School
What is a Health Promoting School?
A Health Promoting School (HPS) is a place where all members of
the school community work, learn, live and play together to
promote the health and well being of learners, staff, parents
and the wider community.
Many schools have already successfully implemented HPS and a
strong network has developed for mutual support and sharing of
Why is there a need for Health Promoting Schools / HPS?
Most schools experience a wide range of health problems. Some of
these problems lie within the school itself. Others are problems
of the surrounding community, which impact on the school
environment and on health of its learners and staff.
Efforts to address these problems often fail and result in
The HPS concept provides the basis for the spreading of
health ideas and practices from the school to the community. The
Health Promoting School, networks and links up with other
schools in this process and may become a role model for other
schools.A sense of ownership of self and the school is
established and self respect in reinforced.
The health status of the learners, educators, community and
the environment is enhanced.
Five key linked components are used to achieve the Health
Promoting School (HPS) status.
The Five Key Components (S.P.E.C.S.) of HPS are:
- Having contact with and networking with all appropriate Services and Resources.
- Developing simple healthy Policies that guide and direct activities.
- Creating a safe and healthy Environment for living, learning and working.
- Building the necessary skills of all members of the school Community.
- Strengthening interaction between the school and the surrounding community.
The Five Simple Steps to a Health Promoting School
The process of becoming a Health Promoting School can be
initiated through a series of simple and manageable steps.
- Introduce the concept to the school.
- Carry out a needs assessment – analyse the causes of problems and prioritise the needs.
- Audit available human and financial resources.
- Draw up a plan of action based on priorities and resources and implement the plan.
- Monitor and evaluate process.
HPS is not an extra burden, but just a different and more
effective way of finding solutions to addressing health issues
within the school curriculum.
It does not replace existing programmes in the school or the
community, rather, facilitates working together on specific,
mutually acceptable goals.
No school can address all of its health problems at once.
Different schools have basically different health needs,
priorities and resources. One school may have no access to clean
water – another may be struggling to cope with vandalism, drugs
or gangsterism. Through identifying priority needs and available
resources, you can select an “entry point” – your starter
project to address the need.
Examples of entry points include:
- Establishing a beautiful, useful garden in the environment.
- Improving nutritional status and learner performance.
- Addressing violence & conflict resolution.
- Implementing teenage life-skills and HIV/AIDS plans.
- Developing safe and healthy school premises.
- Maintaining good standards of sanitation and clean water.
Supporting the Process
The KZN Provincial HP Committee is an open consultative forum
established to coordinate, support and strengthen HPS
initiatives across the Province.
The HP Committee is formed by representatives from Health
Districts, with support from other representatives from the
Education, Health and Agriculture Departments and NGO’s.
Each Health District has a Health Promotion Forum with
representatives from participating schools, NGO’s, FBO’s and
other government departments.
The Goal for HPS in KZN
To facilitate the development of all schools in KZN into Health
Promoting Schools, so that they may become sites for the
promotion of the optimal well being of the communities they
A Health Promoting School is a school that is constantly
strengthening its own capacity as a health setting for living,
learning and working. (World Health Organization 1996)
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Copyright © KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 2001