[Translate to English:] Garderobenhaken

What we’ve achieved: Anschub.de: Alliance for Sustainably Healthy Schools and Education in Germany

Together with numerous partners from the health and educational sectors, the Bertelsmann Stiftung developed the goal of creating “high-quality, healthy schools” and the project designed to achieve it. The objective of the Anschub.de initiative was integrating prevention and health promotion into the educational mission, thereby improving the quality of schools. More than 4,400 schools in seven German states continue to use this approach. The model has been successfully transferred to other countries and played a key role in further developing the prevention activities carried out by WHO.

Bertelsmann Stiftung convenes Expert Commission on Health-Promoting Schools

Since it began its project work, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has supported reforms in the area of education and health. Measures for preventing widespread diseases have played an important role in its reform efforts.

By the mid-1990s, experts noticed significant changes in the health situation of children and adolescents, including a shift from acute to chronic conditions and from physical to mental illnesses. In addition, there was increased pressure to perform, addictive behaviors, burnout and bullying. In light of these developments, prevention has gained in importance in recent decades.


In 2000, the Bertelsmann Stiftung convened the Expert Commission on Health-Promoting Schools under the direction of Prof. Peter Paulus from the University of Lüneburg in order to develop new solutions to this major social challenge.

In a first step, the commission examined in detail the measures that had been taken in the previous 20 years in the area of health promotion and prevention in schools. It subsequently came to the conclusion that the implemented programs had largely not been able to fulfill the expectations they had originally raised.

According to the commission, one of the reasons for this was that many of the measures were often isolated programs that had been introduced in schools by outside actors. The programs, for example, had not been coordinated by their external initiators and – in contrast to the occupational health and safety programs implemented by businesses – rarely had any connection to the schools’ core activities.

Health promotion and prevention become part of the school development process

Quality criteria for health-promoting schools

In a third step, the expert commission developed quality criteria for health-promoting schools. In doing so, it included findings from the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s ongoing projects 
<link de unsere-projekte abgeschlossene-projekte abgeschlossenes-projekt ppid selbstevaluation-von-schulen-seis internal-link>Selbstevaluation von Schulen (Self-Evaluation in Schools, SEIS) and <link de unsere-projekte abgeschlossene-projekte abgeschlossenes-projekt ppid selbststaendige-schulenrw internal-link>Selbstständige Schule (Semi-Autonomous Schools). The entire process was carried out in close cooperation with some 40 national partners from the educational system and the social welfare and health sectors. These were the same partners who had worked together during the pilot phase to create and test the necessary support services and structures for schools at three locations in Berlin, Bavaria and Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania.

Start of the Anschub.de program with the mission of creating “high-quality, healthy schools”

This was the foundation used in 2002 to begin developing what was then Germany’s largest nationwide school-based health-promotion project with the mission of creating “high-quality, healthy schools.” The name of the program was Anschub.de – Allianz für nachhaltige Schulgesundheit und Bildung in Deutschland (Anschub.de – Alliance for Sustainably Healthy Schools and Education in Germany).

The goal of Anschub.de was to put prevention and health promotion “at the service of the educational mission, thus improving the quality of schools.” This was only possible because almost all nationally significant institutions and organizations from the educational system and the fields of school-based health promotion and prevention were prepared to support the jointly developed approach as partners in an alliance. The topics addressed in this phase ranged from teachers’ health, parental involvement and the design of school buildings and their open spaces to the traditional health-related goals of nutrition, mental health, stress prevention, and the promotion of movement and exercise in schools.

Seven states adopt the program for high-quality, healthy schools

A total of 42 schools in three states took part in the first project phase (2003 to 2005), during which they implemented the program to create high-quality, healthy schools:

During the second project phase (2005 to 2008), another four states with state-wide programs either introduced the initiative for high-quality, healthy schools as is or adapted it to their educational landscape:

The Bertelsmann Stiftung and the partners in the participating states supported the programs for high-quality, healthy schools through a broad-based media campaign. In addition to extensive awareness-raising activities, the campaign included numerous publications and videos.

Programs for high-quality, healthy preschools begin in Berlin and NRW

In 2006, following the program for health promotion in schools, the Bertelsmann Stiftung launched the project Kitas bewegen – Programm für die gute gesunde Kita (Child-Care Centers in Motion - Program for High-Quality, Healthy Preschools)in Münster und Berlin. The project was launched in cooperation with various partners, including Berlin’s Department of Education, Science and Research, the partners supporting the preschool project in Berlin, the city of Münster and health insurer Unfallkasse NRW. Here, too, the goal was to achieve sustainable improvement in the educational and health opportunities available to children in preschools.

Bertelsmann Stiftung hands over project responsibility to Anschub.de association

In keeping with its organizational philosophy, the Bertelsmann Stiftung withdrew from active participation in the project’s state-level programs in 2010, although it continued to provide support until 2015 as a member of the nonprofit Anschub.de association. The association temporarily took on the role of national platform for education and health. It also organizes an exchange of experience between the participating states and their partners. To ensure a successful transfer and the continuation of the initiative, the rights to all tools and publications were made available to the state-level programs.


In 2012, Germany’s Conference of Educational Ministers passes new guidelines for health promotion and prevention in schools

After the program for high-quality, healthy schools had been successfully running for many years, it played a key role in the revised guidelines for health promotion and prevention in schools adopted by Germany’s Conference of Educational Ministers (Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK). At its meeting of November 15, 2012, the KMK approved its "Recommendations for Health Promotion and Prevention in Schools". The recommendations were a confirmation of the project’s approach and a key milestone on the path to the ongoing creation of high-quality, healthy schools in Germany’s states.

High-quality, healthy schools in participating states

By 2016, an estimated 4,400 schools in Germany had adopted the project’s approach. The following lists the number of schools in each participating state:

Bavaria: ca. 600 schools

Berlin: ca. 300 schools

Brandenburg: ca. 150 schools

Lower Saxony: ca. 500 schools

Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania: ca. 200 schools

North Rhine–Westphalia: ca. 2,700 schools

Thuringia: not available

Inclusion in programs and activities of cooperative partners at the national and state levels

Due to the realignment of school-based prevention and health promotion activities, the project’s cooperative partners were able to transfer the concept of the high-quality, healthy school to additional programs – for example, to the nationwide
MindMatters mental health program, which is launched in approximately 1,000 additional schools each year. Another example of the ongoing impact of Anschub.de is the conference on health promotion and prevention jointly organized by the KMK  and the national association of occupational health insurers which has taken place every other year since 2014.

International transfer to other countries and organizations

While the ongoing project work was being carried out, the Anschub.de partners were already cooperating with institutions and organizations in Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United States and Austria. This international cooperation culminated in 2009 in the realignment of the Schools for Health in Europe network Netzwerk „Schools for Health in Europe“, which has 47 European Foundation Center initiated a working group on the health of children and young people. The result was the Learning for Wellbeing program, which is run by several European foundations. The concept of the high-quality, healthy school also played a central role in shaping the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education, which was introduced in 2018 and which will involve building a global network over the next four years.

Program history


  • 2000: Bertelsmann Stiftung convenes Expert Commission on Health-Promoting Schools 
  • 2002: Launch of Anschub.de program whose mission is to create “high-quality, healthy schools” 
  • 2003 bis 2005: Program is introduced in schools in Bavaria, Berlin and Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania
  • 2005 bis 2008: Brandenburg, North Rhine–Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Thuringia also adopt the program
  • 2010: The Bertelsmann Stiftung is no longer actively involved in the program, which is run by the nonprofit Anschub.de association until 2015
  • 2012: Germany’s Conference of Educational Ministers (Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK) passes its “Recommendations for Health Promotion and Prevention in Schools”
  • 2016: More than 4,400 schools in seven states are using the project’s approach to create high-quality, healthy schools 


  • 2002: Cooperation with international partners begins during the ongoing project work
  • 2009: Founding of the Schools for Health in Europe network, which has 47 countries as members and is supported by WHO