30 North Cork Primary Schools are to be rewarded for their work in improving the health of their school communities. These schools are to be officially recognised as Health Service Executive (HSE) Health Promoting Schools at a celebration ceremony on Thursday and Friday next at Mallow Sports Complex, Mallow, Co. Cork,. These celebrations are very special as this is the largest number to join the ranks of the HSE Health Promoting Schools at any one time. This is a great achievement for these schools as it acknowledges all the hard work and effort that these schools have put in over the past number of years.
Against the backdrop of specially-created visual presentations, representatives from each school - comprising parents, teachers and students - are to gain recognition as ‘Health Promoting Schools’. North Cork’s Director of Public Health Nursing, Margaret Daly and Linda Hogan, Health Promotion Department, will address the ceremonies in acknowledgment of their efforts.
Located in the Mallow, Charleville, Fermoy, and Mitchelstown areas, the North Cork schools join a wide network of Health Promoting Schools in the Cork and Kerry region who are currently working with the HSE’s Health Promotion Department and Public Health Nursing Department to engage in the Health Promoting School process.
To achieve this accolade, schools follow a process whereby the whole school community (parents, school staff & students) are consulted to identify priority health areas. Over a period of 2-3 years schools develop and put into action various ways to address the areas identified. The positive benefits of the Health Promoting Schools concept are worthy of consideration, with European research highlighting the fact that everyone involved is known to benefit significantly. Chief among the 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.
“The health and well-being of our schools is of key significance at this time more than ever,”said Linda Hogan, Health Promotion Manager with the HSE South. “The health of our children is a priority and a health promoting school promotes the health of all those linked with the school including school staff, parents and the wider school community. The Health Promoting Schools Celebration Day is a fitting recognition of these achievements.”
Some of the many initiatives that schools have chosen to take on board in order to progress as a Health Promoting School include:
· Parents and teachers working together to tackle bullying and improve school safety including safe car parking, fire safety, regular fire drills.
· Creating supportive environments, e.gschool gardens with flowers, spring bulbs and vegetables, with classes taking turns to weed the garden, attend to litter duty or compost duty.
· Environmental issues, Composting waste food and paper, developing wormeries, cans and bottles are recycled.
· Developing healthy eating policies in consultation with staff, students and parents. Organising fruit and vegetable tasting days, building food pyramids, and organising healthy eating day/week.
· Teachers and parents redesigning schoolyards to ensure they are child-friendly with markings for playground games, seating and developing wildlife ponds.
· Working with the Dental Health Promoters to promote good oral health in schools.
Growing out of a movement which began in Europe in the 1980s, the Health Promoting Schools concept was developed with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) who describe a health promoting school as one which ‘builds a working and living environment that creates and strengthens health.’
Senior Health Promotion Officer from the HSE South Health Promotion Department, Maria Harrington describes the Health Promoting Schools concept as “a framework to co-ordinate the many health related projects and initiatives within the primary school. Health Promoting Schools are able to plan and respond in a coordinated and considered way to the health issues and needs of their school community.”
Schools work at their own pace supported by the HSE South’s Health Promotion Dept. and School Public Health Department. They begin by identifying which aspects of health meet their needs as a group, decide what they wish to promote in their schools; consult with parents, students and teachers; appoint a Health Promoting School Co-ordinator and then select the activities on which they will work collectively, in partnership with their local school community
Anne Buckley, Deirdre Barry and Ber Browne School Public Health Nurses in North Cork said, “A Health Promoting School is a school with a health focus and we, the school nurses, are delighted to be involved and support the school community in this initiative”
North Cork Schools Receiving Health Promoting School Recognition 2008
1. Castlelyons N.S., Castlelyons.
2. Bishop O’Brien N.S., Bartlemy, Fermoy.
3. Presentation Primary School, Fermoy.
4. Scoil Bhride, Rathcormac.
5. St.Catherine’s Conna
6. Watergrasshill N.S,Watergrasshill
7. Castletownroache N.S, Castletownroache
8. Glenahulla N.S.,Mitchlestown
9. Scoil Mhuire N.S, Ballyhooly.
10. Kildorrery N.S.,Mallow.
11. Knocknagree N.S.,Mallow.
12. Ballyhass N.S.,Mallow.
13. Cullen N.S.,Mallow.
14. Derrnigree N.S., Mallow.
15. Dromagh N.S., Mallow.
16 .Knocknaclarig N.S., Tralee.
17. Newmarket Boys N.S,Newmarket.
18. Burnfort N.S.,Mallow.
19. Rahan N.S.,Mallow.
20. Scoil Ghobnatan, Mallow.
21. Shanballymore N.S.,Mallow.
22. St. Patricks Boys N.S,Mallow.
23. Ballyhea N.S.,Charleville.
24. Ballyclough N.S.,Mallow.
25. CBS Primary, Charleville.
26. Liscaroll N.S.,Mallow.
27. St.Joseph’s CBS, Doneraile.
28. Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire, Buttevant.
29. Gaelscoil Thomás Dáibhís, Mallow.
30. Glantane N.S.,Mallow.
Last updated on: 06 / 03 / 2008