Health and wellbeing are repeatedly identified among the greatest global challenges facing societies. As such, schools have a responsibility to support and develop children’s competences and their commitment to dealing with these challenges in socially responsible and imaginative ways. The field of school-based health promotion is underpinned by high level policy documents, declarations and agreements between and within governments. International organizations, such as the World Health Organization, have long called upon governments throughout Europe and globally to incorporate health-related knowledge, skills and attitudes in their education systems from an early age and to provide a foundation for the promotion of lifelong health and wellbeing (e.g. WHO, 1986; 1991; 1997; 1999; 2014). One question that could be asked in this respect is what happens when these political initiatives are translated into national and local practices? What gets “lost in translation”, and what is added? The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the body of knowledge and dialogue concerning these translation processes. The study sought to identify the gaps, tensions, challenges and possibilities associated with the drive to increase the quality and effectiveness of health promotion in schools while remaining loyal to the main principles of the critical, socio-ecological paradigm of the Health Promoting Schools initiative (Green and Tones, 2010). In the following, we first present the conceptual framework, context and methodological approach of the study. We then present and discuss the findings from a survey data, before offering conclusions and perspectives for future research and development.