Health Education Policy

Health Education Co-ordinator:  Mr M O’Rourke

Rationale

The educational community has become increasingly aware of its role in helping students to develop a healthy lifestyle. There is a growing realisation that health education in the classroom cannot be totally effective unless it is reinforced within the wider school environment. To this end, the concept of a health promoting school has considerable significance.

The Health Promoting School is one in which the Board of Governors, all staff (teaching and non-teaching), students, parents and relevant agencies work together, in a planned way, to promote the health of everyone in the school community.

Teachers, through teaching methods, classroom organisation and teacher/student relationships, need to provide opportunities for students to explore attitudes, clarify values and develop interpersonal skills which will enable them to make informed and responsible decisions about their health and well-being.

Health education should also be reinforced within the wider school environment where all aspects of school life are complimentary to the positive health messages promoted in the classroom, and where the enjoyment life is valued and celebrated regularly.

Ethos

The ethos of a school reflects the extent, to which the school under the Principal’s leadership promotes the moral, intellectual, social, emotional and personal development of the whole school community.  The ethos and environment of the school provides students with hidden messages beyond the taught curriculum.  A health promoting school will ensure that these messages support and reinforce the messages in the health curriculum.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of this policy is to promote the health and well-being of everyone in the school community.  This school will work towards enhancing the individual’s ability to manage effectively the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of life within the context of both the physical and human environments.

Health Education, Educational (Cross-Curricular) Theme (1992)

Health education includes all those planned or incidental learning opportunities which can be used to develop behaviour which is conducive to good health.  Responsible attitudes and the skills necessary to make informed decisions in matters relating to health are the intended outcomes of health education in the curriculum.

Objective 1:  Health in Context of Personal Development

Personal Development

Students should develop to their full potential.  They should develop a positive self-image and self-confidence.  They should understand the stages involved and the factors which govern physical and emotional growth.

Physical fitness, recreation and relaxation

Students should be able to make responsible decisions about their diet. They should know and understand the contribution of food to growth, energy and health.

Uses of and problems related to drugs and other potentially harmful substances

Students should develop their knowledge and understanding of the use, misuse, risks and effects of drugs and other potentially harmful substances.  They should develop a critical awareness of the relevant personal, social and economic implications.

Objective 2:  Health in the Context of Social Development

Relationships within the Family

Students should be able to make a positive contribution to the life of the family unit based on their knowledge and understanding of the concept of the family.

Relationships with peers

Students should be able to manage relationships with peers in a variety of situations

Relationships with others

Students should understand the nature of relationships with others and, as they mature, be able to establish responsible relationships within a widening community.

Objective 2:  Health in Relation to the Environment

Personal safety in the environment

Students should be able to cope safely and efficiently with their environment.

A healthy environment

Students should understand what is meant by a healthy environment and their responsibility for maintaining and improving it.

Roles and Responsibilities

Students

Health education should involve students in thinking critically, developing the ability to make reasoned choices and developing skills that are necessary for a healthy lifestyle.  Such involvement requires the active participation of students in the learning process.  They should have the opportunities to seek out, develop and apply their knowledge, skills, understanding, and competences in order to encourage responsibility, develop self-reliance and make healthy choices.

All staff (teaching and non-teaching)

Actively support, contribute to and be involved in the promotion of good health.

Teachers delivering the Health Education Programme

This role includes creating, structuring and managing the learning experience.  When learning is concerned with feelings, emotions, attitudes and values, the didactic approach alone is inappropriate.  Teaching staff should aim to create a learning environment which:

  • Encourages each student to develop confidence and competence;
  • Facilitates a participatory approach in which each student is actively involved;
  • Accepts that everyone has a contribution to make which is valued explicitly; and
  • Involves  students in continuing evaluation of their learning so as to guide them in the recognition of their own development and responsibility for their own learning

The Health Education Co-ordinator (Roles and Responsibilities)

Mr M O’Rourke is the co-ordinator for Health Education

The Health Education co-ordinator has an important role to play in:

  • Encouraging a Health Promoting School
  • Ensuring the adequate coverage of Health Education within the curriculum
  • Communicating with staff involved in promoting health education
  • Identifying and arranging staff development and training
  • Promoting active learning styles and teaching strategies
  • Promoting any new health messages
  • Monitoring and reviewing the health education policy and programme and evaluating both on a regular basis

Parents

Schools should seek to ensure that the positive health messages being promoted within the school are supported by parents and the wider community. This school ensures this by the following methods:

  • Parents are encouraged at all times to promote good health
  • Home / School links are established and encouraged
  • Parents are encouraged to support the school in the development and implementation of all health promotion policies

Monitoring and Evaluation

This school will ensure that procedures are put in place to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of all aspects of this policy.  Information will be regularly collected from students and staff as part of the monitoring process, and this will then be evaluated against the aims and objectives of the policy at appropriate intervals.

The following issues need to be addressed:

  • What exactly is to be monitored / evaluated?
  • How precisely will this be monitored / evaluated?
  • When will monitoring / evaluation happen?
  • Who will undertake the monitoring / evaluation?
  • Implications of the outcomes e.g. review of policy
  • Action to be taken