Health Promoting Schools

In 2015 St Mary’s DS signed up to take part in the HSE led Health Promoting Schools Initiative (HPS).  This initiative was based around identifying key areas of health which needed improving within the school community.

Through staff, parent, and student surveys the following themes were identified:

1: Physical Activity – a % of students do NO activity outside of P.E. Also, too much screen time at home- we are aiming to make students interested in physical activity outside of school rather than playing computer games etc.

2: Healthy Eating – Students overeat sugary foods and drinks. Students would not pick the healthy option if it was not the only option- we aim to change the student’s preferences and choices.

3: Mindfulness – There are students who do not feel ‘happy or safe’ at school. Also, too much screen time and a need to have more thinking time and integration with others.

The HPS team release newsletters to update our school community on progress made throughout the year.

Health Promoting Schools Flag (Feb 2019)

St. Mary’s Diocesan School became the latest school in the country to be presented with the Healthy Ireland -‘Health Promoting Schools’ Flag’.

In St. Mary’s Diocesan School some of the many health initiatives chosen in order to progress as a Healthy Ireland – Health Promoting School include: the development and implementation of our new “Healthy Eating Policy”, reviewing the structures in place for education in Mental Health Awareness and implementing the Mindout Programme for Senior students.
Work with Mental Health Awareness will continue to be the focus in St Mary’s while working towards achieving the Amber Flag; an initiative led by a group of staff and students.

The first initiative implemented through the HPS process was the 100km club and is still running strong since its launch in September 2016 with St Mary’s staff and students often seen pounding the local pavements two lunchtimes per week. Opportunities were also presented to link with the schools Green Schools Committee while they encouraged the school to COW or WOW; cycle or walk on Wednesday, an opportunity to get the steps up and reduce the carbon footprint.

St Mary’s is extremely grateful for the opportunity to take part in the HPS process and thankful for the support and guidance of Tara Kearns from the HSE. We were thrilled to have Professor Niall Moyna from DCU (and Operation Transformation) with us for inspirational advice and the raising of our flag. Nathan Cox, 6th Year, a success story of our 100km club also spoke about his journey and what this initiative has personally meant to him. St Mary’s will continue to work to improve the health and wellbeing of all involved in our school community.

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