One of CDI’s initial programmes was a whole school approach to improving child health and well being and was called ‘The Healthy Schools Programme’. This programme ran from 2008-2011. The evaluation found that while changes were being seen in a schools’ approach to improving the health and well being of children, there were no statistical significant changes. As a result, the programme wound down in the schools. Trinity (who undertook the evaluation) carried out a follow up study with the same schools (both intervention and control) involved in the programme. Results show that there was an improvement in the intervention children’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and their peer relationships.
Based on these follow up results, CDI met with schools in Tallaght West to discuss these findings and determine how to move forward. Schools have a desire to continue improving the health and well being of children, but have limited resources. Discussions are being held with the HSE Health Promotion schools coordinator programme to discuss the possibilities of collaborative working.
The Healthy Schools Programme was implemented to improve children’s health and well being, and increase access to primary care services. The Healthy Schools Evaluation Report particularly noted the process aspects which can support and mitigate against the development of a whole school approach.
The Report found that there is a need for a strategic and whole-school approach to planning school based health programmes – one that is inclusive of the views of the entire school community i.e. staff, parents, children, and services that are part of the schools functioning.
The Report also recommended that a National Framework for Health Promoting Schools involving the Departments of Education and Health to be developed.