St. Joseph’s Presentation Secondary School Castleisland became the latest in the country to be presented with the Healthy Ireland Health Promoting Schools’ Flag.
The flag was presented on Wednesday morning to teachers and pupils at the school by Máire O’Leary the Health Promoting Officer with the Health Service Executive.
While the presentation and flying of the flag is the visible aspect of the school’s achievement, there is the added fact that the school’s efforts in winning the accolade is being held up by the HSE as an exemplar for others to follow.
Focus on Health and Wellbeing
The Healthy Ireland Health Promoting Schools 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 two 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 and Improvement Deptartment.
In each school, a coordinator and a team lead out on the progression of health and well-being and this work is supported by the school principal, board of management and wider school community. In St. Joseph’s, Karen O’Connor led the project.
European research has shown many benefits of the Health Promoting Schools’ 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.
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