Strategy in action - healthy schools
A Health Development Agency case study

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Page 3: Aims and objectives

The NHSP is funded by the government's Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health. As the titles of these Departments suggest, they exist in order to steer activities in particular areas of the economy. These Departments are staffed by civil servants (government employees).

Clear aims and objectives are particularly important in the public sector because many programmes involve more than one Department, and involve millions of pounds of taxpayers' money. Having clear aims and objectives helps to ensure that everyone involved in delivering the programme:

  • understands the programme's end purposes
  • pulls in the same direction, and 'sings from the same hymn sheet'
  • spends the available funding in the most effective way to achieve aims and objectives.

An aim is the general purpose that an organisation seeks to achieve through programmes and activities. Aims can then be broken down into objectives. Usually, objectives are more precise definitions of the ends an organisation seeks to achieve.

Because the DfES and the Department of Health sponsor the NHSP, they are responsible for shaping its aims and objectives. The Programme's key aims are to:

  1. Raise levels of achievement across the school population. Educated people tend to become more healthy, particularly when they understand the issues involved and how to live healthier lives.
  2. Reduce health inequality. The UK is still characterised by inequalities in the access that people have to healthier lifestyles. For example, the incidence of smoking, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating patterns are much higher among lower income groups and in poorer areas. Reducing inequality is a major issue for the current government. The government's goal is to halve child poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020.
  3. Promote social inclusion. Social inclusion is a policy that seeks to ensure that all members of our society enjoy benefits such as being able to live a healthier life. The current government has introduced policies to combat 'exclusion'. Exclusion exists when some groups lack access to the benefits enjoyed by other citizens because they are too poor, lacking in education, unhealthy and so on.

Healthy schools can only really work if there is participation by pupils and students. Every healthy school should have a Task Group which pupils can join, or at least influence.

Health Development Agency | Strategy in action - healthy schools