What’s happening in Wales?
In Wales we have a better opportunity than most to make a difference. The Healthy and sustainable Colleges and Universities network provides an opportunity to build on successful previous healthy settings development in Wales. The Welsh Healthy Schools and pre-school schemes established some years ago put health at the centre of the agenda for children in Wales and a similar approach for universities and colleges can do the same for young people and all those connected with the learning environment.
The Healthy Schools scheme developed a series of standards around a broad range of health topics against which schools in Wales were measured. The scheme not only improved the facilities and provision for health in schools but by encouraging schools to take responsibility for maintaining and providing for the health of all who learned, worked, played and lived there, it not only taught children about how to live healthier lives but it also enabled pupils and staff to take some control over aspects of the school environment which influenced their health.
Those schoolchildren are becoming young people now and many of them have gone to, or will be going on to study in further and higher education. Many of them in one or more of Wales’ 23 universities and colleges. The further and higher education sector is large in Wales – there are more than 275,000 students studying in Wales at any one time and more than 30,000 people are directly employed in further and higher education here. This provides a compelling reason for the healthy settings approach to be further developed in our universities and colleges.