Health Promotion in Kura/ Schools

Staff at Community and Public Health can assist schools who have identified nutrition and healthy eating as priorities to work on – by offering their skills, time and connections with health and community services.

Health Promoting Schools: Ngā Kura Tairanga Hauora

Health Promoting Schools (HPS) is an approach that supports school communities to create and sustain environments that improve and maintain their hauora (health and wellbeing).

The Ministry of Health’s Health Promoting Schools strategy ended in 2020.

However our Health Promoters are still able to assist with food and drink policy development and implementation through the nutrition component of the Healthy Active Learning initiative.

Love Kai.Feeding school wellbeing through values-led kai practices

Love Kai is a new programme developed by Community and Public Health to implement the nationwide Healthy Active Learning initiative with Canterbury education settings.

Kai is about more than nutrition, so Love Kai takes a holistic approach based on the Te Whare Tapa Whā model of health.

Love Kai is driven by your school’s values, and provides guidance and support to enhance school food and drink environment, policies and practices.

Students from Te Pa o Rākaihautū running across a playground.Achieving Health Promoting Schools: Guidelines for Promoting Health in Schools captures international HPS principles and practices. This guide summarises success factors and actions for promoting health in schools, and six essential elements are highlighted:

  • Healthy school policies;
  • Physical environment;
  • Social environment;
  • Individual health skills and competencies;
  • Community links; and
  • Health services.

Research tells us schools should take a sustained strategic multi-faceted whole-school approach for better and more equitable health and education outcomes. This includes engaging students, staff, school leaders and whānau collaboratively in leading change.

Any school can use and adapt health promoting principles and practices to their context. There are many Aotearoa NZ specific frameworks, models and resources that have been developed to support this.

Schools can use appreciative inquiry to identify what priorities are important to their community; such as:

  • Mental wellbeing;
  • Nutrition;
  • Physical activity;
  • Whānau engagement;
  • Sun safety;
  • Cybersafety;
  • Staff wellbeing; and
  • Sustainability.

The inquiry-based approach seeks to focus on outcomes and solutions by building on what schools already do – integrating health and wellbeing objectives and actions into school planning and reporting processes.

New rights-based school uniform guidelines launched

NZ Human Rights Commission media release: 25th May 2022

The Human Rights Commission has released a set of uniform guidelines in an effort to help schools align their policies with human rights principles.

The non-binding guide is framed around a Te Tiriti o Waitangi and human rights lens and follows a series of consultations with students and teachers from 11 different kura around the country.

The Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon says schools in Aotearoa New Zealand have an obligation to uphold Te Tiriti in their policies and procedures while also giving effect to the rights of students.

“There is currently no legislation around school uniforms at the moment so we thought it necessary to have a guide to help schools give effect to students’ human rights in this space.”

“Students should feel comfortable and culturally safe so that they can focus on their learning, this is why we decided to produce these guidelines as no one’s right to education should be hindered.”

The Commissioner says if these steps are taken around uniforms, it can help improve students’ mental health and well-being as well as eliminating racism, bullying and other forms of discrimination.

“The Human Rights Act prohibit discrimination on a number of grounds like sex, religion, ethnicity, race or disability and schools need to make sure that their uniform policy doesn’t infringe on these grounds.”

He says a truly inclusive uniform policy can be a great way to distinguish students while instilling a sense of community and pride in both their individual and school identity.

New resources for schools on consent, gender diversity and inclusion

Beehive media release: 13th April 2022

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti has today launched a number of new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of relationships and sexuality education (RSE) in schools and kura.

“I want all our schools to be safe places for all our students whatever their gender, race, nationality, beliefs, or sexual orientation.

“Students who are happy and confident learn better. These new wellbeing resources will help our children and young people build quality relationships throughout their lives, with each other, and with others in their schools and communities. They are all designed to foster a sense of confidence and trust, and an appreciation of difference and diversity in our schools and our communities,” Jan Tinetti says.

“These resources include information about consent, digital safety, and healthy relationships. They are clear, easy to use, bicultural and inclusive. There are resources to provide teachers with practical skills and evidence-based information to talk about pornography. The suite also includes resources specifically designed for Māori-medium settings and for English-medium settings,” Jan Tinetti says.

Documents and Links

Health Promoting Schools

Mental Wellbeing and Pastoral Care

Diseases and Immunisation

Becoming a Healthy School

Contact your local CPH office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 307 6902

Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Ph: +64 3 768 1160

Additional Health Support for Schools

Public Health Nursing Service (Canterbury DHB).

Child and Youth Mental Health Services (Canterbury DHB).

Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow.

Projects and initiatives supported by our team

Healthy Ōpāwaho is a collaborative project with the vision of empowering young people to lead community action to help create a healthy Ōpāwaho/ Heathcote river.

Edible Canterbury supports gardening and orchards in schools.

Ngā Kaupapa Here: School Alcohol Policies

A comprehensive school alcohol policy means everyone is clear about the use of alcohol on your premises or at school events, and how to respond to alcohol-related incidents.

This new guide offers all kura/ schools clear information for developing an alcohol policy. It includes reasons to develop a policy, the steps to take, consultation questions, topics to cover, legislation, and where to get support.

Ngā Kaupapa Here: School Alcohol Policies.

Page last updated: 22/06/2022

Copyright © 2022, Community & Public Health,