Health and wellbeing policy: laying the foundations of healthy futures

Mikala Atkinson, Nutritionist

Children and teacher looking at cauliflower in school vegie garden

A health and wellbeing policy sets out your school's commitment around promoting the health and wellbeing of  staff and students. The policy aims to encompass relevant preventive health and wellbeing initiatives and is based on the Health Promoting Schools framework.  A health and wellbeing policy sets out your school's commitment around promoting the health and wellbeing of  staff and students. The policy aims to encompass relevant preventive health and wellbeing initiatives and is based on the Health Promoting Schools framework.  

Why is a health and wellbeing policy important?

Having a written document that supports school programs and initiatives can make a difference by helping children to learn healthy habits and establish positive lifelong behaviours. Having strategies in place to look after staff’s health and wellbeing also creates a positive work environment and improves staff retention. Happier and healthier staff means fewer sick days and more productivity.

How does it work?

A health and wellbeing policy is designed to provide a road map for schools to build health promotion practices into the school environment. Across the three domains of curriculum, teaching and learning; ethos and environment; and community partnerships, the policy provides suggestions and examples on how to incorporate and prioritise health and wellbeing for all who attend the school.

What does it cover?

Cancer Council WA have developed a template policy that increases awareness in the school community of the benefits of eating healthy food, drinking water, being physically and mentally active, protecting against UV (ultraviolet) radiation, not using tobacco products or e-cigarettes, and avoiding alcohol use. It also outlines the ways in which schools can meet the needs of programs such as Crunch&Sip®, SunSmart and Act Belong Commit. This allows a school to highlight and document the ways they are promoting important initiatives to support and highlight when talking to staff, students and families.

What are the aims of the policy?

  • Create better learning outcomes for students.
  • Provide a safe, stimulating, and fun place to learn, work and play.
  • Nurture a sense of pride and commitment where everyone collaborates to create a healthy school community.
  • Increase awareness of the benefits of healthy behaviours.
    • Embed healthy behaviours into our school community using a whole school approach.

    What are the next steps?

    If you are looking to develop a health and wellbeing policy, or you already have a policy in place that needs a refresh, visit www.crunchandsip.com.au/resources and click on certification documents or you can download the template here. Create a team to oversee the implementation of the policy. This may include a teacher, student, and parent as well as a health service representative or any other school community members who are keen to get involved. Personalising the policy is important– adjust the policy to suit your school community and priorities.

    Don’t forget to stay in touch and share your stories with us, we are always looking for ways to support and promote healthy schools!

    Example Health and Wellbeing Policy