Somerset Children and Young People Public Health

Health Improvement Award


The Health Improvement Award has been developed to enable schools, colleges and other settings to assess their capability to provide a healthy environment for their children and young people, to identify areas of need in relation to health and wellbeing and to develop appropriate mechanisms for addressing those needs.


Health improving schools, colleges and other settings focus on:


  • Caring for oneself and others
  • Making healthy decisions and taking control over life's circumstances
  • Creating conditions that are conducive to health (through policies, services, physical/social conditions)
  • Building capacities for peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, equity, social justice, sustainable development
  • Preventing leading causes of death, disease and disability (sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy nutrition, tobacco use, HIV/AIDS/STIs, drugs and alcohol, violence and injuries)
  • Influencing health-related behaviours: knowledge, beliefs, skills, attitudes, values, support.

There are two levels of Health Improvement Award that schools and other settings can achieve:


  1. Foundation Level – Biennial Health Audit
  2. Enhanced Level – Targeted Intervention Programme

The tiered structure of the award is designed to help settings to progressively build on their policies and practice over a period of time. The award encourages settings to undertake work encompassing universal themes, and also allows schools to target particular issues, or groups of children and young people, that present specific challenges or needs.


Through this process children and young people are helped to achieve better health outcomes. The programme will assist schools to become health promotion specialists who provide children and young people with the knowledge and practical skills to achieve healthy, safe, fulfilled and responsible lives.


The World Health Organisation states that ‘health literacy’ - the attainment of a level of knowledge, personal skills and confidence that allows improvements to personal and community health - is central to health education.


Health education that leads to health literacy is achieved through methods that go beyond information diffusion, and entail interaction, participation and critical analysis. Health literacy leads to personal and social benefit, and empowers individuals and communities.