The Childhood Development Initiative's Healthy Schools Programme seeks to improve children's health and well-being, and to increase their access to primary care services. The Healthy Schools Programme is a manualised initiative based on the World Health Organization's model for a health-promoting school. In the short and medium term, the focus of the Healthy Schools Programme is on addressing processes (policy, procedures and practice) that will facilitate change, leading a more health-promoting school environment.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of, and outcomes from, the Healthy Schools Programme. The objective was to present the impact findings of the evaluation at the end of Year 2 of implementation and to compare these findings with those observed at baseline. In addition, the evaluation examined the programme's implementation process over its duration to examine if and how it was rolled out in line with its aims and objectives.
The process evaluation found that the Healthy Schools Programme was very ambitious. The timeframe for change to occur to the degree that was aspired to at the outset of the 3-year evaluation phase was short. The findings highlight some of the key challenges that occurred during the earlier stages of implementation and some of the key processes that were found to work well, i.e. processes that involved the schools and the Healthy Schools Programme interacting in ways that fostered health-promoting practices and health-promoting school environments. Together, these findings inform a pathway forward in the development of health-promoting schools and the role and function of a Healthy Schools Programme.