HAPPEN Research

Schools have historically been an important area for health promotion, due to the opportunities to engage with children from all walks of life and the impact that school life can have during childhood and early adolescence. However, HAPPEN began because researchers at Swansea University wanted to understand the school's perspectives on research and the effect school-based interventions can have on school life in order to improve the process for the future.


Researchers in Swansea interviewed 19 primary school headteachers to understand their current views on the health of their pupils and how they felt research impacted on school life. Key findings from these interviews found that:

  • School staff identified clear impacts of health and wellbeing on educational outcomes

  • Staff would be more likely to engage with and sustain interventions that addressed these components with more of a holistic approach

  • Understanding the health beliefs of school staff is crucial when designing interventions 

  • If staff do not perceive their pupils to be affected by a particular health issue, they are unlikely to implement an intervention primarily looking to address this issue.

For further information regarding headteachers' views regarding current health beliefs of pupils please click on the paper to read in full.


Following these recommendations, guidelines were developed detailing the barriers and facilitators to school-based health interventions. These guidelines enable public health practitioners and researchers to understand key aspects that affect the implementation of health interventions within the school setting and how best to address these.


Further to this, headteachers called for greater collaboration with researchers, practitioners and local councils to provide a more unified approach to tackling child health, whilst also allowing greater autonomy at the school level in order to make the right choices for their pupils.

More details and recommendations for improving the implementation of school-based health interventions can be found by clicking on the adjacent paper.


Developing HAPPEN (Health and Attainment of Pupils involved in a Primary Education Network): working in partnership to improve child health and education


To find out more about HAPPEN and why it was developed please click on the following paper.

HAPPEN was used as a case study by the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research for '100 ways of using Data to Make Lives Better'.


The case study can be viewed by clicking the picture, or alternatively on this link:


HAPPEN case study



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