Schools across the world have been involved in health promotion and health education for nearly a century. Do school based initiatives make any difference to the education and health outcomes of young people? This article describes the process in developing the document Promoting health in schools: from evidence to action. The document was produced primarily for the Education sector. It develops an argument about why schools should be undertaking health related initiatives. It also highlights major findings from the literature about what is possible to achieve in school health and the circumstances under which the gains will occur. Attention is focused both on the evidence from the education sector, e.g. effective schools, learning and teaching approaches, and from the health sector, e.g. a whole of school or Health Promoting School (HPS) approach, as well as identifying outcomes from topic areas such as mental and emotional health, healthy eating and nutrition, physical activity, hygiene, sexual health and relationships, substance use and misuse.