Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS)

Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS)

Welsh involvement in the European Network of Health Promoting Schools led to the development of a Wales Network of Healthy Schools. This was later refined to a network of local schemes, the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS).

The WNHSS was launched in 1999 to encourage the development of local healthy school schemes within a national framework. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises the WNHSS as playing a key role in promoting the health of children and young people, and the scheme has been rolled out across Wales since 2000.

Each local scheme is responsible for supporting the development of health promoting schools within their area. The WNHSS describes a health promoting school as one which 'actively promotes, protects and embeds the physical, mental and social health and well being of its community through positive action'. This can be achieved through policy, strategic planning, staff development, curriculum, ethos, physical environment and community relations.

Within the scheme, there are seven different health topics that schools need to address. These include:

  • Food and Fitness
  • Mental and Emotional Health and Well Being
  • Personal Development and Relationships
  • Substance Use and Misuse
  • Environment
  • Safety
  • Hygiene

Each topic has indicators under the headings:

  • Leadership and Communication
  • Curriculum
  • Ethos and Environment
  • Family and Community Involvement.

Local Coordinators also ensure local networking, and maintain a system of monitoring and accreditation of the schools in their scheme. Local Schemes are accredited by the Welsh Government. All schools in Wales are engaged with the scheme and following on from successful engagement an independent assessment for the National Quality Award takes place once a school has reached Phase 6 of the local healthy school scheme, after 8-9 years of active involvement. This independently assessed National Quality Award was introduced in 2009.

The WNHSS produced a number of 'In Perspective' reports which included case studies of food and fitness actions in schools and personal development and relationships in schools.

The Welsh Government has now extended the scheme to include a Healthy and Sustainable Pre-school Scheme which has been introduced in each local authority area in Wales.

The WNHSS are in the process of developing their own web address which will be available shortly at

www.publichealthwales.org/healthyschools

To view more videos on this topic, visit the Sound and Vision page

Pembrokeshire became the first scheme to receive accreditation in spring 2001.
Welsh Government

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