Embedding health into education setting policies

Policy is an important component of a whole setting approach (WSA) to health and wellbeing. School and college policy lays the foundations to achieve specific outcomes, by guiding action and decision-making.

All school policies can impact the health of pupils and the whole school or college community, whether that be socially, physically, or emotionally.

A benefit of using school or college policies to promote health is that they can influence pupil, staff, and family behaviour, as well as organisational practices, creating a cascade of actions throughout the setting. Policies are also an opportunity to explicitly state the school’s culture and ethos.

Guidance, resources and toolkits

Settings largely have autonomy to design and implement policies that make sense for their individual needs, within national statutory guidance such as on safeguarding and RSHE, or legal requirements such as that to have a behaviour policy in place.

Hampshire County Council currently provides two model policies: Safeguarding and Child Protection.

The following are guidance documents, resources and toolkits to support education settings to embed health and wellbeing into existing or new policies:


Managing Vapes in Schools: Association of Directors of Public Health South East Advice and Guidance


Hampshire Suicide Postvention Protocol for Education Settings

HIPS Self Harm Pathway

Guiding principles

When considering your setting’s policies, it might be helpful to keep these guiding principles in mind alongside any statutory requirements:

  • Is there evidence for what kinds of policies work or do not work?
  • What are the school’s specific needs?
  • How will policies be implemented and by whom? Are staff supported with the knowledge, skills and capacity to implement policies?
  • Do policies reflect the school’s culture, such as belonging or community, and support the development of positive relationships between peers and staff?
  • Do policies involve unnecessary sanctions, exclusions, or restrictions to free time and play?
  • Are they created and updated with staff, pupils, and families?
  • Do pupils and families understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from the school?

If you would like support to explore these questions, or have a useful resource or example policy to share please email [email protected].