Purpose – the purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of a school health promotion (shp) advisor in the implementation of the six steps of the dutch “schoolbeat” approach, aimed at establishing health promotion policies and activities in secondary schools.design/methodology/approach – in total, 80 school board members, and 18 prevention coordinators of 18 schools in the southern limburg region in the netherlands completed a written questionnaire on the implementation of the six steps of the schoolbeat approach, and on their satisfaction with the practical assistance offered by the shp advisor in implementing the steps, as well as the advisor's organizational competencies.findings – only one school implemented the schoolbeat approach completely, and as intended. Schools were generally satisfied with the practical assistance in the process of implementing the schoolbeat steps and with the organizational competencies of the shp advisor. Schools which had partly implemented the schoolbeat steps were more satisfied with the shp advisor's practical assistance than schools who had not done so at all.practical implications – this study showed that the shp advisor could make a positive contribution to health promotion in schools. Since this role demands new skills, the competencies of health promotion professionals must be further developed.originality/value – structural school health promotion programs and policies are becoming increasingly important in many countries, and not enough is known about the role of health promotion agencies in structuring school health promotion. This paper describes the positive impact of the shp advisor.