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Promoting school connectedness through whole school approaches

Fiona Rowe (Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Australia)
Donald Stewart (Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Australia)
Carla Patterson (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 23 October 2007




The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework to demonstrate the contribution of whole school approaches embodied by the health‐promoting school approach, to the promotion of school connectedness, defined as the cohesiveness between diverse groups in the school community, including students, families, school staff and the wider community.


A cross‐disciplinary review of literature was conducted to identify strategies consistent with the health‐promoting school approach and the values and principles that promote school connectedness. The review included peer‐reviewed articles and published books and reports identified from the databases spanning the education, health, social science and science disciplines and used search terms encompassing health and mental health promotion, schools, social connectedness, belonging and attachment. The paper is also a framework of the contribution of the health‐promoting school approach to promoting school connectedness and was developed drawing on health promotion strategies at the broader community level known to foster connectedness.


The paper found that the framework developed illustrates how the health‐promoting school approach has the potential to build school connectedness through two major mechanisms: inclusive processes that involve the diversity of members that make up a community; the active participation of community members and equal “power” relationships, or equal partnerships among community members; and supportive structures such as school policies, the way the school is organised and its physical environment, that reflect the values of participation, democracy and inclusiveness and/or that promote processes based on these values.

Practical implications

In this paper the detailed mechanisms outlined in the framework provide practical strategies for health promotion practitioners and educators to use in the everyday school setting to promote school connectedness.


This paper draws together substantial bodies of evidence and makes a persuasive case for the contribution of the health‐promoting school approach to building school connectedness.



Rowe, F., Stewart, D. and Patterson, C. (2007), "Promoting school connectedness through whole school approaches", Health Education, Vol. 107 No. 6, pp. 524-542.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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