SHE network - Background and history


Background of health promoting schools and the SHE network

In Europe it is generally accepted that every child has a right to education, health and security. This is also formally recognised in global documents such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989).


Clearly the central role of schools is learning and teaching. Schools also have great potential to promote the health and development of children, young people, families and all of the school community including the staff. A strategy built on the health promoting school approach helps school communities to:


  • manage health and social issues;
  • enhance student learning;
  • improve school effectiveness.


Education, health, youth care and other sectors are encouraged to work together as partners to develop the full potential of young people. The health promoting school approach therefore is active support for the core business of schools. It is not about health professionals merely viewing schools as convenient settings to reach large numbers of young people.

From ENHPS to SHE network

Since 1991 the Schools for Health in Europe (SHE) network - formerly named the European Network of Health Promoting Schools (ENHPS) - has demonstrated progress in increasing the co-operation of the education and health sectors and in establishing health promotion as part of the core work of schools in several member states.