National Healthy Schools and the Healthy School Standard
National Healthy Schools is a programme funded jointly by the National Healthy School Standard (NHSS) and the DfES, and is part of the government's drive to reduce health inequalities, promote social inclusion and raise educational standards. Local healthy schools programmes are being developed around the country, with the result that, by 2006, all schools in England with more than 20% free school meal eligibility should achieve the NHSS level 3 status. In addition, all schools in England are to be given the opportunity to access the services of a nationally accredited local healthy school programme from 2003-2006.
A healthy school is described as one that promotes physical and emotional health by providing accessible and relevant information, and equipping pupils with the skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their health. It also provides an environment conducive to learning. Healthy schools are important because education is seen to play a vital role in promoting health, and because healthier children are thought to perform better.