Developing Healthy School Communities through the School Review Process.

Year: 1992

Author: Ackermann, Antoinette, Prostimo, Penny

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

According to the Sundsvall1 document, the "creation of educational environments supportive of health" means "transforming the culture of education so that it is healthy in both its means and its ends". The concept of schools as settings where health is created is a shift from the strategic entry points of health issues or of population groups.. Through schools as settings we begin to look at the total population of the school and the impact that notions such as organisational health, quality of school relationships and attention to empowerment and equity can have on school communities. This approach is based on the principles and strategies of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (WHO 1986). The settings approach has been developed further under headings such as the Health Promoting School, Healthy Schools, and Healthy School Communities 2 At the same time a whole school approach to school performance has emerged. Rapid social and educational change has emphasised the need for strong support from all levels of the community. Students, parents, employers, and other interest groups all desire input into school educational, social and organisational developments. In response to this school communities are involved in a variety of review and development exercises which reflect the principles of the Australian Education Council's Hobart Declaration (Agreed National Goals of Schooling in Australia 1989) and findings on School Effectiveness (Austin and Reynolds 1990). This paper describes work in progress which seeks to identify indicators of a healthy school community within the process of school review. The three elements of the research process are the picture which emerges of each school as a healthy community, the appropriateness of the researchers concept of a healthy school community and the degree to which the SPRAD indicators show a healthy school community.