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Health policies in schools

Childhood and adolescence are key development periods during which health inequalities can be created, amplified or, on the contrary, attenuated. Referring to its missions, as the environment that welcomes French students for more than a decade and as a privileged place of education, the education system can contribute to improving health for all.
Within a context of rapid change in the education system, the High Council for Public Health has decided to examine this issue. On the basis of an in-depth analysis of the available data, the HCSP calls for the definition, implementation and assessment of a renewed health policy in schools.

The HSCP recommends a clarification of the missions of the school system, in terms of health. It focuses on the necessity of anchoring school health policy within regional education and health policies. It calls for an approach that will make elementary, middle and high schools, within their local environment, the operational level of the definition, implementation and evaluation of health policies. Consequently, supporting and backing up schools is the priority in the resource allocation.

The HCSP thus specifically recommends:
  • supplying school teams with a national curriculum defining the different stages of students' health competencies development, from kindergarten to high school, as well as the appropriate training resources ;
  • the creation of a national network of “health promoting schools" ;
  • the development of an ambitious initial and continuing training system for stakeholders, supported by a university consortium.

This first general report will be followed by four specific ones, respectively on, the content of the national health education curriculum, school medicine, school policies within territories and the training of stakeholders in prevention and health education.

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